Christians and Muslims in Jakarta, Indonesia, are working together to provide assistance to communities most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Helping people from the house of prayer is a good start to establish a dialogue of life and work, which is a collaboration among religions, in responding to common problems and needs,” said Jesuit priest Christian Triyudo Prastowo, assistant parish priest of the Assumption Cathedral Church in the Indonesian capital.
The Cathedral parish has earlier joined hands with the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta to provide assistance to residents around the area who are most affected by the pandemic.
Father Prastowo said the collaboration of the two houses of worship “becomes the zeal of the human essence,” adding that “this spirit needs to be continued in simple support and teamwork.”
On August 13, Friday, relief goods were distributed at the Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta by both Christian and Muslim leaders.
The Istiqlal Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and the sixth-largest in the world in terms of capacity.
“What we saw today, facing the Cathedral next to the Istiqlal Mosque, is a very vivid symbol of Indonesia,” said Nasaruddin Umar, High Imam of the Mosque. “No matter how difficult the path we are currently facing, this is the inner wealth that the nation's children have in sharing.”
He also expressed his appreciation to the Islamic Student Association and the Catholic Student Association of the Republic of Indonesia for the initiative in collaborating with interfaith leaders.
"We must not be alone in managing the people and the nation. There must be a collaboration with each other because it is where the unity and blessing come from," said the Muslim religious leader.
Meanwhile, Father Agustinus Heri Wibowo, executive secretary of the Commission on Inter-religious and Trust Relations of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference, welcomed the initiative, saying that the house of worship “is the house of God.”
“It is also the house of humanity because the intimate relationship with God is manifested in the efforts of humanity,” said the priest.
“If all religious people work together, they will meet at one point, namely humanity itself. To quote the words of Pope Francis: 'The church becomes a hospital on the battlefield,’ to heal the sick and wounded,” he added.
"This moment shows the universality and brotherhood of interfaith that is realized harmoniously in Indonesia," said the priest.
Indonesia has a population of about 270 million people and is home to the world’s largest Muslim community. There are 24 million Christians in the country, seven million of whom are Catholics. - Emiliana Saptaningsih / RVA News