Indonesia: Muslims aren't supposed to drink alcohol, but it seems that Indonesian communications minister Tifatul Sembiring had a wee tipple before he addressed a prayer meeting last Friday in an area where over 1000 people had been killed by an earthquake last September.
Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring linked disasters to declining public morals when he addressed a prayer meeting in the city of Padang to mark a Muslim holiday on Friday.
Television broadcasts that destroy morals are plentiful in this country and therefore disasters will continue to occur,national news agency Antara quoted Sembiring as saying in the Bahasa Indonesia language.
He also referred to Indonesian-made hard-core sex DVDs available in street markets as an example of growing public decadence and called for tougher laws against pornography.
It looks as if his intemperate words might be a career-limiting move, as it has offended relatives of the victims, who know perfectly well that Indonesia lies on a series of fault lines.
Kikie Marzuki, a Muslim Aceh resident who lost 10 relatives in the tsunami, said victims were not to blame.
I prefer to believe that natural disasters occur because of the destructive force of nature that cannot be avoided by humans,he said.
The minister does have the support of religious authorities, though, as they are not concerned with actual facts or anything resembling the truth.
Indon minister blames disasters on immorality—My Sinchew, 29th November 2009; Indonesia minister says immorality causes disasters—BBC News, 28th November 2009.