Indonesian clerics issue fatwa boycotting Israel-linked firms

Indonesia’s top Islamic clerical body issued a fatwa on Friday calling for a boycott of goods and services from companies that support Israel in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians.

The religious edict by the Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI, said Muslims in the country must support the Palestinians’ struggle against “Israeli aggression”, while also declaring that support for Israel or its supporters is “haram”, or against Islamic law.

“MUI call on every Muslim to avoid as much as possible transactions and use of Israel products and those that affiliated with Israel, as well as those who support colonialism and Zionism,” Asrorun Niam Sholeh, an executive of the council, told reporters Friday.

“We cannot support the party that is at war with Palestine, including using products whose proceeds actually support acts of murder of the Palestinians.”

MUI’s latest fatwa comes with a campaign spreading in the Middle East calling for boycotts of Western brands that have shown support for Israel in its war with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza after Hamas fighters poured across the militarised border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages.

Vowing to destroy the militants, Israel retaliated with bombardment and a ground campaign that the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says has killed more than 10,800 people, mostly civilians and many of them children.

Fatwas have no legal force and are aimed at encouraging the devout in world’s most populous Muslim-majority country against taking a certain course of action.

Indonesia, a staunch supporter of Palestinian independence, has called for a resolution to the conflict based on internationally agreed parameters set by the United Nations, which include a two-state solution.