The Jakarta Post
Home Minister Tito Karnavian has asked Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization to continue help end the COVID-19 epidemic, citing its important role in the country.
"Muhammadiyah's role is very important, especially amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," Tito said during the virtual commemoration of Muhammadiyah’s 108th anniversary on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.
"The government could not work alone in handling the pandemic; we need the participation of every element of society, and Muhammadiyah is a very important organization [in Indonesia]," he further stated.
Tito explained that Muhammadiyah's three main focuses, namely education, health and social services, were closely related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
"Education, for example, is essential in informing the public to follow COVID-19 health protocols," he said.
Tito also expressed hope that Muhammadiyah would keep growing while urging the organization to continue its services to the people and the country.
"I hope Muhammadiyah can grow stronger and more resilient, as well as be able to continue serving Indonesia; becoming one of the important pillars of the nation’s sovereignty,” he added.
Responding to Tito's plea, Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir urged the organization’s followers as well as the public in general to remain in compliance with health protocols.
"We need to remain alert and disciplined. Do not be reckless," Haedar said.
He also urged the public to “avoid making trouble” that could worsen the COVID-19 situation and threaten lives.
"Many people have lost their lives in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, including health workers and doctors. We need to continue to do our best in facing this calamity. We also need to keep praying for the pandemic to end," Haedar said.
Muhammadiyah's anniversary celebration had the theme “Strengthening Religious Movements in Facing the Pandemic and State Problems”.
Haedar said the theme had been chosen to emphasize Muhammadiyah’s movement, stances and policies toward growing and developing diversity while at the same time offering solutions to state problems including the current pandemic.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Muhammadiyah has been doing its utmost [to offer solutions],” said Haedar.
In regard to helping the country fight the pandemic, Muslim organizations, including Muhammadiyah, have provided input on various matters.
Previously, Muhammadiyah COVID-19 command center deputy secretary Deni Wahyudi Kurniawan said local public figures should set an example by adhering to health protocols strictly, such as consistently wearing face masks in public.
Meanwhile, Muhammadiyah, along with the country's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), also urged the government to consider delaying the upcoming regional elections in December amid heightened concerns over the COVID-19 crisis. (nal)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.