Religion

A Mosque in Jakarta Held a Christian Funeral Service in Its Courtyard

The scene went viral, giving people hope that different faiths can support each other despite recent incidents of intolerance.
02 September 2019, 10:47am
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Photo by Jeferson Goeltom via Facebook

Giving people hope on social media at the moment is a mosque in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta, that allowed a Christian funeral service to be held in its courtyard.

On Aug. 26, Jeferson Goeltom shared photographs of the service on Facebook, praising the mosque and its community for their tolerance and blessings. A Christian cross was put up at the service, which several Muslims also attended.

The funeral was for Goeltom’s wife’s relative, who recently passed away. The family was not able to hold the funeral in their own home, where a narrow alleyway outside the house was their only option.

The mosque postponed its weekly Quran study for the funeral, Kompas reported.

“Thank you my brothers, the caretakers of the mosque, and the residents of the neighborhood for the assistance and the super high level of tolerance,” Goeltom wrote.

His post went viral, with close to 40,000 reactions, over 11,000 comments, and 10,000 shares as of this posting. Indonesian netizens also praised the mosque and both religious communities.

“Peace is beautiful. That’s the real Indonesia,” wrote one user in Bahasa. “This is my Indonesia, praise the Lord,” wrote another.

Religion is a fundamental part of life for most people in Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country. A survey, conducted by the Varkey Foundation spoke to 20,000 Indonesians born between 1995 and 2001 and found that 93 percent of respondents believe religion is the most important way to choose happiness.

The viral post came as a glimmer of hope amid what the Jakarta Post has described as a “deep crisis of intolerance” in Indonesia. Discrimination and incidents of religious bias have swept the country recently.

Jakarta, in particular, has been named the least tolerant city in Indonesia in a list of 94.

The country’s “religious harmony law” which was intended to increase tolerance, has also been criticised for further marginalising minorities. Enacted in 2006, the law mandates that the construction of places of worship must be approved by a majority of a community's population. This has resulted in the construction of some churches and mosques being prevented.

Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, with about 87.2 percent of the country identifying as such. Seven percent are Protestant Christian, 2.9 percent are Catholic, 1.7 percent are Hindu, and 0.7 percent are Buddhist.

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