Residents in Beji, Depok, West Java, have rejected the building of a mosque by the Islamic Dakwah Indonesia Institution (LDII), saying a new mosque is unnecessary in a neighborhood full of prayer houses.
Community unit leader Ahmad Burhanudin lamented on Friday that LDII members did not mingle with others in the area and wanted to build a new mosque exclusively for themselves.
“There’s a mosque just a few meters away from where they intend to build theirs. Why not mingle with us if they feel they have the same beliefs?” he said, adding that an exclusive place of worship would create tension among residents.
He also said a new mosque was unnecessary because there were only four LDII households in the locale.
Another community unit head, who requested anonymity, said LDII members would pray in their own mosques. “If we pray in theirs, they will mop up afterwards. This can create friction between us.”
Beji people have compiled signatures and their identity cards to show their support for the rejection, and delivered them to the Beji subdistrict office, expecting the latter to deny the permit for the construction of the LDII house of worship.
LDII’s Depok branch leader, Ratman Latif, said the group only wished to build a small prayer house and assembly point on a 705-square-meter plot of land.
He also said the future building would be occupied by 16 Beji families of no more than 50 people.
“If residents [in Beji] really want us to mingle with them, wouldn’t they be disturbed by our recitation schedule up to five days a week?” Ratman said.
Ratman, who is also deputy chairman of Depok’s Indonesian Teachers Union (PGRI), said the construction had gained approval from 60 local residents.
Ahmad Suaedy, coordinator of the University of Indonesia’s (UI) Abdurrahman Wahid Centre for interfaith dialogue, said unless the building was against existing laws, people should permit it.
“However, [...] it would be nicer for LDII members to mingle if there are already many prayer houses in the area,” he told The Jakarta Post.
Similar to Beji, a protest led to the cancellation of the construction of an LDII mosque in Curug, Gunungsindur, Bogor, West Java, in July 2010 because the village already had two mosques.
LDII was registered as an official mass organization based on a Law and Human Rights Ministerial decree on Feb. 20, 2008, but its establishment dates back to Jan. 3, 1972, in Surabaya, East Java, under the flag of the Islamic Employees Foundation (YAKARI), which was affiliated to Golkar Party politicians during the New Order era.
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