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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: More than 1,000 Indonesian Tablighi Jamaat members stranded overseas

  • Apriza Pinandita and Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 30, 2020   /   12:16 pm
COVID-19: More than 1,000 Indonesian Tablighi Jamaat members stranded overseas A health official conducts rapid testing on a member of the Jamaah Tabligh congregation in Kedu, Temanggung, Central Java, on April 20. The regency's COVID-19 task force conducted rapid testing on 84 Jamaah Tabligh members recently participating in a "tabligh Akbar" (Islamic mass gathering) event in Gowa, South Sulawesi, in March. (Antara/Anis Efizudin)

The Foreign Ministry has revealed that 1,129 Indonesian members of Tablighi Jamaat, a worldwide Islamic missionary movement, are stranded in 13 countries due to the lockdown policy imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Only 19 Tablighi Jamaat members have returned to Indonesia from Morocco, Jordan and Thailand as of Sunday.

Most of the missionary group members are stranded in India, with the Indonesian Embassy in New Delhi saying there were 727 members from Indonesia trapped due to the country’s lockdown policy — 86 percent of the total 844 Indonesian nationals stranded in India.

Read also: Hundreds of Indonesian 'tabligh' attendees, 14 with COVID-19, stuck in locked down India

The embassy also said that 105 Tablighi Jamaah members from Indonesia had tested positive for COVID-19 in India and Pakistan.

“Our citizens [in India] are doing fine. Of course [they are] coping with the lockdown,” said Indonesian Ambassador to India Sidharto Suryodipuro in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday.

“As for the Tablighi Jamaat, most of them are under quarantine now. Of the total, 75 tested positive for COVID-19, while 43 others have recovered [from the disease].”

Sidharto went on to say that the embassy had been working with Indian authorities to monitor those under quarantine.

“We want to ensure that those observing Ramadan are being well-provided [with adequate supplies for necessities] under such circumstances.”

Tablighi Jamaat congregations, known in Indonesia as Jamaah Tabligh, have made headlines lately as they became COVID-19 clusters in several countries where they held events in Malaysia, India and Indonesia’s South Sulawesi.

Read also: 'Severe red zone': East Java scrambles to contain COVID-19 spread at Islamic boarding school

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said on Wednesday that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had raised the issue of Indonesian Tablighi Jamaat members to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a phone call on Tuesday.  

“The two leaders have agreed to delegate the countries’ foreign ministers to follow up on the matter,” she said.

“We [ministers] have been in constant communication. Our missions [in India] have been monitoring closely the well-being of the Indonesian Tablighi Jamaat there. […] The missions have provided legal and consular assistance for those having legal issues [while under quarantine],” Retno went on to say.

The government has delivered 1,196 staple food packages to Indonesian Tablighi Jamaat members stranded in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.