The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has questioned the Jakarta administration's plan to hold a mass tarawih (evening Ramadan prayers) at the National Monument (Monas) compound and has suggested relocating it to mosques instead.
The administration has announced its intention to hold the mass prayer at Monas on May 26.
Governor Anies Baswedan previously revised a law that prohibited religious activities from being held at the iconic location.
According to Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno, the reason behind the decision to hold the mass night prayer at Monas was because “Monas is a symbol of Jakarta and a symbol of unity”.
This reasoning was questioned by one of MUI's leaders Cholil Nafis.
“I doubt that the reason for holding the tarawih at Monas is for unity. Where’s the logic in that?, which community needs to be united when only muslims will attend the event?” he said Saturday, as quoted by kompas.com.
He added that it would be better to observe the prayer at the right place, in mosques.
“Don’t use religious services as a tool to show off,” Cholil said.
MUI's deputy secretary general Amirsyah Tambunan agreed with Cholil, saying it would be more solemn to perform the prayer in mosques.
"There is nothing wrong [with holding the mass prayer at Monas] of course, but it's better [to perform prayers] at mosques," he said, adding that prayers were supposed to be performed at mosques, which were specifically designed for prayers.
Besides, according to Amirsyah, conducting the prayer at mosques would provide an opportunity for Jakarta's officials to extend silaturahmi (islamic brotherhood) to members of the mosques as well as better understand the condition of mosques in the city. (Fac)