Taken from :
*Martin van Bruinessen : *ISLAMIC STATE OR STATE ISLAM?

The most emotional issue over which the Council and the ummah
have been at odds in recent years was the government-sponsored
soccer tote, Porkas ('forecast') and its successor of other names.
In practice this tote, which was started in 1986, functioned as a lottery
and provided Indonesia's only legal form of gambling.
Muslim protest was immediate, with preachers all over the country
demanding a ban of Porkas. Both the Muhammadiyah and the NU
declared it a form of gambling and therefore haram ('forbidden').
Several provincial Ulama Councils followed suit, and asked
the government to stop the tote.
The central MUI long kept silent, considering it a matter
on which the ulama's legal opinion was divided.
But it finally sent a carefully phrased letter to the Coordinating
Minister of Social Welfare (the former Minister of Religion, General
not condemning the tote on religious grounds but asking the government
to 'review' its policy considering its negative social impact.
The head of the MUI's fatwa committee, Prof. Ibrahim Hosen,
had meanwhile produced *arguments* to the effect *that *
*the form of gambling forbidden by Islam, maysir *
*(a gambling-match between two persons in which one's gain is the other's
differed in kind from lottery, so that Porkas was permissible.
*This produced an outcry from committed Muslims. Independent ulama refuted
Hosen's arguments and issued fatwa condemning the tote.
The government made it clear it intended to continue the Porkas because
it needed its considerable contribution to the budget for sports and youth
Several leading members of the MUI were known to have very strong feelings
about the Porkas privately, but they refrained from raising their voices in
of continuing pressure from all Muslim circles to take a clear stand.
More than anything else, the Porkas affair has caused the MUI the loss
of the confidence of large segments of the Muslim community.

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