Indonesia threatens to cut public services for ‘God’

Indonesia’s top Islamic authority has called on a man named “Tuhan” — or God in English — to change his name or have his access to public services denied, local media reported Tuesday.

Mr Tuhan, a 42-year-old carpenter, has become a focus of public attention in the country over the past week after a copy of his identity card showing his single name spread over the internet.

According to the reports, the East Java office of the Indonesian Ulemas’ Council called on Mr Tuhan, a resident of a small village in East Java Province, to change his name or at least add another name before or after it to avoid misinterpretation.

The council’s chairman, Abdusshomad Bukhori, said that the man, as a follower of God, “violates (religious) ethics” by using the name and should either change it or add something before or after it.

He gave the example of the name of “Ghofur,” which means “God, the merciful”, but is typically is preceded by the name “Abdul,” making it mean “follower of God, the merciful”.

Mr Abdusshomad has even requested the Civil Registry Office to annul Mr Tuhan’s identity card to prevent him from temporarily gaining access to any public services until he changes his name.

Mr Tuhan himself said he does not know why his parents gave him the name, but he had not felt uncomfortable using it.

The council was established in 1975 by the Suharto regime to issue fatwa or edicts that determine whether an act or a thing is “sinful” and to advise Muslims on contemporary issues.