Jakarta Cathedral opnes gates to help Eid prayers

July 21, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Jakarta CathedralIndonesia, July 15, 2015: The Jakarta Cathedral will open its gates on Eid ul-Fitr to provide parking for Muslims wishing to pray at the Istiqlal Grand Mosque, which is located across from the church.

Sharing parking lots is not just a gesture of religious tolerance but an example of the cooperation that has connected the congregation members of the church and the mosque in Central Jakarta for decades.

“This kind of cooperation with Istiqlal has been going on for more than 30 years. The cooperation also continues outside of Idul Fitri prayer times. We will also be glad to help them in their other religious activities,” the cathedral’s security coordinator Thomas Bambang told The Jakarta Post on July 14.

The Istiqlal Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. It was deliberately built across from the Jakarta Cathedral as a symbol of religious harmony and tolerance in Indonesia. The mosque was designed by Frederich Silaban, a Christian architect, in 1955.

Thomas said that as many as 250 motorcycle parking spaces and 160 car parking spaces as well as a number of the church’s employees and youth members would be ready to facilitate Idul Fitri prayers from 3 a.m.

“We hope the Muslims can hold solemn Idul Fitri prayers,” Thomas said.

He said that the Istiqlal Grand Mosque’s management was also always ready to return the favor by opening its gates for churchgoers’ vehicles during Christmas, Easter or any other big events at the church.

Istiqlal’s public relations officer Abu Hurairah Abdul Salam said he expected to see as many as 150,000 people pray for the upcoming Idul Fitri at the mosque. He said he appreciated the additional parking spaces provided by the cathedral.

He said that during Easter this year, dozens of Istiqlal’s employees and several members of Muslim organizations were deployed to secure the church area.

“The cathedral’s security post at Easter and Christmas was even established inside the Istiqlal parking space,” he said.

Abu said that there was more to the relationship between the two houses of worship than shared parking spaces. He said foreign Catholic leaders who attended events at the Cathedral were also likely to visit the Istiqlal Grand Mosque, adding that he was more than happy to give tours.

“Although we have different beliefs to Catholic followers at the cathedral, we have a strong relationship with them,” he said, adding that it was very important for the two places of worship to be an example of religious tolerance in these days of increasing intolerance.

– the jakarta post

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