Indonesian Muslim Groups Consider Fatwa on World’s Most Expensive Coffee

By webadmin on 12:38 pm Jul 19, 2010
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Jakarta Globe

Two of Indonesia’s main Muslim organizations are to meet to decide whether or not to issue a fatwa against “kopi luwak,” a famed and highly prized coffee bean that has passed through the digestive tract of a civet cat before it is retrieved and roasted.

Ma’aruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI), said it would meet with Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, on Tuesday night to discuss issuing a ban against the flourishing industry.

“A fatwa will hopefully put an end to the growing concerns about kopi luwak,” Ma’aruf said.

Kopi Luwak is eaten by a civet cat and expelled in its feces before being roasted. Highly prized for its flavor, kopi luwak is known as the world’s most expensive coffee, commanding more than $600 per kilogram from online shops.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gave a gift of civet coffee to then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during a state visit in March 2010. The gift raised some eyebrows in the media, inspiring references to “crapuccino” and “dung diplomacy.”

NU member Arwani Faishal, meanwhile, said it was his opinion that the coffee was najis. Under Islamic law, najis are things or persons regarded as ritually unclean.

“But that is only my personal opinion,” Faishal said.

Contact with najis brings a Muslim into a state of ritual impurity (najasat), which requires undergoing purification before performing religious duties, such as regular prayers.

Indonesian Muslim groups have been criticized for issuing a raft of fatwa covering the spectrum of human behavior though they have no legal standing and are often ignored by most.