JAKARTA, June 15, 2009 (News Agencies) .
Indonesian health ministry and the Ulema council are at loggerheads over the use of meningitis vaccination required for all Hajj pilgrims. The MUI asserts that pork derived ingredients are used in the process of creating the vaccination despite assertions to the contrary from the country health ministry and vaccine's manufacturer.
“Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari’s statement that MUI has no right to decide whether the meningitis vaccine is halal or haram could mislead and create unrest among Muslims,” MUI’s chairman, Amidhan, stated on Sunday.
The minister made the statement at a meeting of the Aisyiyah women’s wing of the Muhammadiyah Muslim organization in Yogyakarta on Saturday.
“The Saudi government requires all hajj pilgrims to get a meningitis vaccine in order to protect them from cerebral membrane inflammation,” the minister said.
She was responding to a hajj pilgrim organizer group’s rejection of the vaccine requirement because of fears about a pig enzyme it is alleged to contain.
In the meanwhile, the MUI has sent a letter to the Saudi government regarding its concerns and is awaiting a reply. “If the Saudi government maintains its policy of requiring pilgrims to receive a meningitis vaccine, then we will approve of it based on an emergency basis,” an MUI spokesperson said.
However, he continued, “Of course this would continue to create unrest.”