Indonesian bakery refuses to write 'Merry Christmas' on cake; triggers religious tensions

Merry Christmas
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An Indonesian bakery has refused to write "Merry Christmas to my family" on a cake as it was not in line with the "principles of (their) religion", the Jakarta Post reported on Sunday. This news went viral on social media that eventually prompted the Makassar-based bakery to apologise on Instagram.

Chocolicious Indonesia, located in the South Sulawesi capital, said in a statement that they were extremely apologetic about the incident. It added that their decision of not including Christmas greeting was not intended to hurt or disrespect the customer's religion.

"With all due respect and humbleness. First of all, we would like to offer our deepest regret. We from Chocolicious Indonesia are not yet able to write Merry Christmas or other similar expressions," the bakery posted.

"This does not mean we do not respect your religion. But with all due respect this is what we have to practice based on our religious principles. Again, we sincerely apologize from the bottom of our heart and the feeling of respect and honor as Indonesians. We will still provide greeting cards and chocolate boards as additional services for your order. You are welcome to add your own writing. Again, we wish for your understanding." the post added.

However, the bakery added that the store will provide greeting cards and chocolates on customers' request. Thus, the customers are free to write their own greetings on those products.

In less than a day, the Instagram post has garnered over 9,000 likes and received mixed reactions from users. While many people have supported the bakery's decision and said that they were simply abiding by the rules of their religion, several users have also questioned Chocolicious Indonesia's decision during the festive season.

The Jakarta Post reported that this latest cake controversy comes amidst growing tensions between the hard-line Islamic groups in Indonesia and Christians. But, the Indonesian Ulema Council, which is the highest religious authority in the country, does not prohibit Muslims from greeting Christians during Christmas.

According to Jakarta Post, the head of the presidential working unit of Indonesia's state ideology Yudi Latif said that shop owners had "the right to refuse or accept". But, he added that tolerance is still needed to be instilled in Indonesia.

This article was first published on December 25, 2017