Indonesian Buddhists want Buddha Bar closed

Monster and Critics, Jan 22, 2009

Jakarta, Indonesia -- Indonesian Buddhists on Thursday urged authorities in Jakarta to close a newly opened Buddha Bar restaurant, saying the name was sacrilegious.

Buddhists in the North Sumatran city of Medan met on Thursday to discuss the presence of the Buddha Bar, the hip Paris-based franchise of restaurants, the state Antara news agency reported.

'We urge the Jakarta administration to take strong action against the use of the name Buddha to avoid angering Buddhists,' Brilian Moktar, head of the Buddhist association in Medan, was quoted as saying by Antara.

Parlindungan Purba, a member of the Regional Representatives Council, said he would convey the Buddhist community's objection to the Jakarta administration.

'I'm concerned about this. Names related to religion must not be used for purposes other than religious,' he said, according to Antara.

Jakarta became the first South-east Asian city to have the Buddha Bar in December, joining major international cities like London, New York and Dubai.