The Indonesian government has reassured Muslims that it is OK to say Merry Christmas, after the head cleric of the country's main Islamic group tried to ban the term.
Cleric KH Ma'Ruf, head of the Ulema Council, said wishing people Merry Christmas was forbidden by Islam.
Religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali has contradicted the cleric's view, saying it is not unusual to convey Christmas greetings to Christians.
He says saying Merry Christmas does not amount to participating in a forbidden religious ritual and has appealed for tolerance and diversity.
Thousands of extra police have been rostered on to guard Christian churches against the threat of terrorist attacks.(abcnet)