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My Sweet Lord

Indonesian Buddhists Call on Government to Close Buddha Bar in Jakarta.

(1/31/2009) While usually models of tolerance, recent press reports that Indonesia's Buddhist religious community can, when pushed sufficiently far, proclaim "enough is enough."

Such appears to be case when a group of devout Buddhist from North Sumatra called on the government to close the recently opened Buddha Bar and Restaurant in the capital Jakarta, insisting the use of the Lord Buddha's name in a commercial venture was sacrilegious.

The Jakarta bar, according to the state news agency Antara is said to part of a chic Paris-based franchise.

Brilian Moktar, representing the Buddhist Association of Medan, told the press, "we urge the Jakarta administration to take strong action against the use of the name Buddha to avoid angering Buddhists."

Reflecting a national disinclination to give offense to others, especially on matters of a religious nature, Parlindungan Purba, a member of the Regional Representatives Council, said he would deliver the Buddhist community's objection to the Jakarta administration.

Purba said: "I'm concerned about this. Names related to religion must not be used for purposes other than religious."

Wider Implications?

The Buddha Bar, reported to have outlets in Jakarta, London, New York and Dubai, may not be the only establishment under threat of a mandatory name change if authorities choose to act consistently on a nation-wide basis. Bali has at least two bars and restaurants that have incorporated "Buddha" into their name and, lest we forget, there the Borobudur Hotel - a major 5 star hotel in Jakarta named after the Borobudur Buddhist temple in Central Java and uses a drawing of the temple in their branding logo.