Indonesia: Religious group protests against new Buddha Bar in Jakarta



Religious group protests against new Buddha Bar

The hip French lounge chain Buddha Bar is under pressure to close its only Asian branch, a club in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, amid corruption accusations and protests by Buddhists who say the use of their religious symbols are blasphemous.

Associated Press reported from Jakarta that since the December 2008 launch of the Buddha Bar club in Jakarta, which quickly has turned into a hotspot for the young and wealthy, Buddhist students have demanded it be shut down, with dozens burning incense and praying outside.

Furthermore, an independent corruption watchdog stated that the venue was purchased and renovated with nearly 2.9 million US dollars in public funds before being turned into a private commercial enterprise under questionable circumstances.

Opposition to Jakarta’s Buddha Bar escalated when Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni asked the French operator, Paris-based George V Hotels and Resorts, to consider closing down or changing the name.

“If not, I’m afraid there will be an Islam Bar, Christian Bar, and other bars,” he was quoted by the Antara state news agency as saying Wednesday. “This is important for harmony among religions.”

Jakarta’s Legislative Council repeated requests to shutter the club, saying it would be the best way to ensure Buddhists are not offended.


The Jakarta Post / Associated Press, AFP – 28 April 2009:

”Buddha Bar’ pressured to close in Indonesia’

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