Paper Edition | Page: 1
Helping hand: A police officer rescues a small girl from getting lost during the distribution of Idul Adha meat at Sunda Kelapa Mosque in Jakarta on Friday. Hundreds of people flocked to the popular mosque after Friday prayers in order to get free meat. (JP/R.Berto Wedhatama)
Millions of Muslims across the country observed the Islamic Day of Sacrifice, or Idul Adha, on Friday, performing prayers and sacrifices in their hometowns that proceeded more or less peacefully.
In the most notable incident, a man in a camouflage vest and a homemade gun was arrested at Istiqlal Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in Jakarta, on Thursday.
The arrest took place just before President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his family, Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and a crowd of thousands of others performed prayers on the eve of Idul Adha on Thursday night.
Police said that the man with the gun, identified as Sudirman, a resident of Tegal, Central Java, spent the night at the mosque and was woken by officers of the Presidential Security Force (Paspampres) doing a routine sweep of the building before Yudhoyono’s arrival.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said that Sudirman, 40, brought the weapon, assembled from a toy catapult, from Tegal to scare away any potential assailants that he might meet in Jakarta.
“The weapons works like a catapult and uses arrowheads as bullets, but it can’t shoot anything,” Rikwanto said.
Paspampres officers turned Sudirman over to the police, who declared that the man was not a terrorist and had only come to Jakarta to pray at the grand mosque.
The police confiscated the homemade weapon, arrowheads, several bolts and a box of mangoes from the man. Among other dignitaries at the mosque were former vice president Jusuf Kalla, House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie, Regional Representatives Council (DPD) Speaker Irman Gusman, several Cabinet members and the ambassadors of several countries.
In other parts of the nation, Idul Adha was observed peacefully, although some had to observe the holiday in a low-key manner.
In Sampang, East Java, members of the Shia minority Muslim community celebrated Idul Adha in the refugee shelters where they have resided since their majority Sunni Muslim neighbors went on a rampage and burned their homes down.
“Last year we could celebrate Idul Adha perfectly well with our neighbors, even though we had different understandings [of Islam]. Now we are isolated,” Iklil a Milal, a Shia leader, said as quoted by kompas.com.
“We can only tell members of the community to be patient even though [we are] staying in the shelters,” said Ikil, whose brother Tajul Muluk has been imprisoned for blaspheming Islam.
In Surakarta, Central Java, hundreds celebrated Idul Adha by trying to grab traditional offerings outside the grounds of the Keraton Surakarta Grand Mosque.
The offerings — 3-meter high cones of yellow rice full of delicacies, vegetables and snacks — immediately drew the attention of those waiting outside the mosque.
The crowd rushed to grab food from the offerings, with some climbing onto buildings and cars to extend their reach. According to local tradition, taking food from the offering of Surakarta’s sultan can bring good luck.
In Bali, where Muslims are a minority, around 500,000 observed Idul Adha in peace, despite a controversial statement made by a self-proclaimed “King of Majapahit” banning of the slaughter of cows.
Hundreds of traditional Balinese security guards (pecalang) were seen securing and organizing traffic near the public parks used as venues of the Idul Adha prayers. (aml/nad)