Reasons why Britain bombed Surabaya

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Darul Aqsha

JAKARTA

“10 November ’45, Mengapa Inggris Membom Surabaya?” (“10 November ’45, Why Did Britain Bomb Surabaya?”)
By Batara R. Hutagalung; Millenium Publisher, Jakarta; (Oct. 2001), first edition, xiv + 472 pp; Rp 59,900,-

THIS book analyzes the simultaneous sea, land and air campaign by British forces against the defenders of the East Java capital of Surabaya in November 1945.

To this day, it remains a bitter memory for older Indonesians.

In the author’s opinion, there are two main reasons why Britain, which did not hold colonial authority over Indonesia, launched the invasion.
First, there were psychological and emotional reasons at play, since Britain was victorious in World War II. Second, the British were bound by a treaty with the Dutch stemming from the conference at Yalta on Feb. 11, 1945, and the Postdam Declaration, which took place on July 26, 1945.

The objectives of the treaty were “to reestablish civilian rule, and return the colony to Dutch administration,” as well as “to maintain the status quo which existed before the Japanese invasion”.

They can be found in a letter dated Sept. 2, 1945 by the Allied Forces’ Supreme Commander South East Asia Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten. British assistance was also in line with the Civil Affairs Agreement between the Dutch and Britain in Chequers, Britain, on Aug. 24, 1945.

The author also outlines the violations committed by British troops. They include infringements upon the sovereignty of the fledgling nation of Indonesia, human rights abuses — including crimes against humanity and forced displacement — and war crimes.

Apart from its thorough dissection of this bloody chapter of Indonesian history, this book carries something else of equally important historical significance: an official apology from the British government. It was expressed by British Ambassador to Indonesia Richard Gozney in the name of the British government during a seminar on the Battle of Surabaya in Jakarta in October 2000.

It was a sympathetic act — one which has yet to be offered by the Dutch who, as a colonial power, ruled Indonesia for centuries.–

The Jakarta Post
Sunday, December 30, 2001

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‘There will be another Ahok without law enforcement in religious blasphemy case’

ahok dem demonstrasi-tolak-ahok-di-jakarta-jumat-14-10-_161014131815-809.jpg

RR Laeny Sulistyawat

BANDAR LAMPUNG

ON  Friday (10/28), Muslims in several provinces hold demonstration against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s (Ahok) religious blasphemy.

Hundreds of protesters from 25 Islamic organizations joined Lampung Islamic Movement took to the street. They urged the police to process Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s (Ahok) religious blasphemy case.

Protesters rallied in the street in front of the Taqwa Mosque, Jl Kotaraja, Bandar Lampung. ”We urged police to investigate Ahok who did religious blasphemy of Alquran particulary surah Al Maidah verse 51,” he said.

In the Bangka Belitung Province, thousands of protesters from Islamic Organizations also have held demonstration at the local Police Headquarters and Provincial Parliament office for the same purpose.

They ensured the protest were not correlated with politics. ‘We asked the police and Parliament to convey our aspirations to the National Police chief and the President to immediately process and arrest Ahok for insulting Islam,” Bangka Belitung branch of Indonesia Hizbut Tahrir (HTI) Chairman Sofiyan Rudianto said.

According to Sofiyan, without legal firm sanction, there would be another Ahoks doing religious defamation. “This will disrupt religious harmony in Indonesia and security will be unstable,” he said while asking the police to be neutral and professional in enforcing the law.

Also read: ‘Jakarta governor is trespassing other religion territory’

In front of Presidential Palace, DI Yogyakarta, thousand of people demanded Ahok to be put into justice. “I’m worried if Ahok is not get firm sanction, there will be a lot more massive movement coming from Muslims and this movement will spread all across the country,” Syukri Fadholi Chief of the local Unity and Development Party said.

In Bandung, West Java, rain did not stopped hundreds of youngster from Generasi Muda Jabar to hold demonstration in front of Gedung Sate. “We see no reason for the police to postpone Ahok’s imprisonment,” Coordinator of Darul Hikam Youth, Agus, remarked.

Also read: ‘None of Alquran verse guides people to the wrong path’

Muslims in West Nusa Tenggara appointed November 3rd as the deadline for the police to nail Ahok. They promised to hold a massive movement if Ahok has not been caught on that date.

North Sumatra Police Chief Rycko Amelza Dahniel agreed with the mass who demand the police to process Ahok religious blasphemy case. He noticed the case has been discussed not only nationally, but also international. “We hoped Jakarta Police would settle it accordingly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bekasi Metro Police Umar Surya Fana have listened aspirations from hundreds members of several Islamic organizations that formed Forum Ukhuwah Umat Islam Bekasi (FUUI). Umar said the aspiration will be conveyed to Jakarta Metro Police chief. “Meanwhile, let’s show Muslims are united, peace lover, and not anarchy,” he said in Bekasi, West Java.

Previously, in Padang, West Sumatra, thousands of people naming themself Forum Masyarakat Minangkabau (FMM) asked the police to hold equality before the law principle. They believed the case of religious blasphemy by a women in Bali would be a perfect example in handling Ahok. “She was caught and punished 14 month imprisonment,” Muhammad Siddiq of the FMM said on Sunday (10/23).

Republika

Sat, 29 October 2016

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http://www.republika.co.id/berita/en/national-politics/16/10/29/ofrmzw414-there-will-be-another-ahok-without-law-enforcement-in-religious-blasphemy-case

 

 

Jakarta governor Ahok investigated over alleged Islam insult as elections loom

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Photo:   Malay Mail Online     

Jewel Topsfield and Karuni Rompies

JAKARTA

Maverick Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, as he is known, has never had a filter. Impulsive and polarising, the city’s first openly Christian and ethnic Chinese governor – a double minority in Indonesia – seems to court controversy.

He questioned a ban on beer sales in mini markets – “no one has ever died from from drinking beer” – suggested schools should not compel girls to wear hijab, insisted he needed no support from political parties and antagonised the urban poor with mass forced evictions.

“If only there were some magic tape to put [over his mouth] so that he would talk as we hope,” former Indonesian president Megawati Soekarnoputri reportedly lamented at a meeting before her party announced it would endorse him in next February’s gubernatorial elections. “But there’s no such thing.”

For all this, the feisty, straight-talking governor is remarkably popular. Ahok, the former deputy governor, assumed the top role in 2014, when his predecessor Joko Widodo was elected president of Indonesia. His no-nonsense efficiency and tough stance on corruptionstruck a chord with voters, more than 95 per cent of whom are Muslim.

Ahok overhauled the stodgy bureaucracy, launched a smartphone app called Qlue which allowed Jakartans to report flood, crime, fire or waste, and worked on reducing floods and improving the city’s lamentable public transport.

The polls suggest he will be hard to beat: Poltracking Indonesia put his popularity at 92.56 per cent and his electability at 40.77 per cent in September.

But just days before the official election campaign begins on October 26, Ahok is being investigated by police over claims he defamed a verse in the Koran.

Prior to the alleged blasphemy, some Islamic groups had urged voters not to re-elect Ahok, citing verse 51 from the fifth sura or chapter of the Koran, al-Ma’ida, which some interpret as prohibiting Muslims from living under the leadership of a non-Muslim. Others say the scripture should be understood in its context – a time of war – and not interpreted literally.

In recorded remarks to a group of fishermen that went viral, Ahok suggested that some Muslims were “deceived” by al-Ma’ida 51. The comments caused outrage.

Ahok apologised and insisted he was not criticising the Koranic verse but those who used it to attack him.

But on Friday thousands of hardline Muslims took to the streets, calling on police to process the case. The maximum penalty for blasphemy in Indonesia is five years’ jail.

“The investigation is still going on,” Ari Dono Sukmanto, the head of the national police’s Criminal Investigations Department, told Fairfax Media. “We are now transcribing from the video what was actually said, what actually happened.”

Sukmanto said Ahok would be summoned for questioning: “Everybody is equal before the law and we will need his explanation over what has happened for clarification.”

The two largest Islamic organisations in the country – Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) – have stressed that they have no problem with a Muslim voting for a non-Muslim.

Masdur Anwar, the deputy secretary of the Jakarta chapter of NU, does not believe Ahok set out to insult Islam.

“It is impossible that he deliberately did it because it would be suicidal for him,” Anwar told Fairfax Media. “It was just a slip of the tongue. But I can understand those who think it was an insult. Perhaps it is an accumulated feeling [of resentment] about the way Ahok speaks. He is blunt and perhaps these folks couldn’t stand it any more.”

Anwar hopes police investigate the case quickly so the election campaign does not become sectarian.

An editorial in Tempo magazine says the Jakarta election will be a test of the maturity of the young democracy: “Just how far have people left behind primordial prejudices such as religion and race when they go to the polls next February?”

The gubernatorial election is a three-legged race. Ahok’s opponents are Agus Harimurti, the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and former education minister Anies Baswedan, who was dumped in the last cabinet reshuffle. Both were surprise candidates: Agus is a political novice who left behind a promising 16-year military career.

The stakes are high. “The position of governor can, as Ahok’s predecessor Jokowi demonstrated, be a springboard for higher office at the national level,” La Trobe University senior lecturer Dirk Tomsa writes. “Indeed, whoever wins in Jakarta next year might well be expected to find himself in the running for a presidential, or more likely, vice-presidential ticket in 2019.”

 

The South Morning Herald

Wed, 19 October 2016

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Photo: Fajarnews.com

http://www.smh.com.au/world/jakarta-governor-ahok-investigated-over-alleged-islam-insult-as-elections-loom-20161018-gs510o.html

 

 

Muslim Groups Protest Jakarta’s Governor over Blasphemy of Al-Quran

ahok-demo

JAKARTA

SOME 15,000 Muslims from various community organizations, Friday (10/14/2016), hit tables in the City Hall Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan, Central Jakarta, to protest outside the Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama alleged to have degrading Al Qur’an and scholars.

Massa arrived at about 14:00 pm after a previous protest outside the building to urge the Police Criminal Ahok soon turned into a suspect for the offense.

The majority of the mass arrival wearing white costume that makes Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan whitened, while traffic was diverted because all the roads filled with humans.

What is unique, in order to cool the atmosphere and prevent anarchy, the police play a song of praise nuances of Islam when mass among others, are members of the FPI and FBR arrived.

The song playing is songs Asmaul Husna (99 names of Allah) that are downloaded from YouTube and play them through a smart phone that is connected to the car speakers.

“It is already prepared. We do this in order to calm protesters, “said Ronald Arita, Polda Metro Jaya Sabhara members were involved in securing course of action.

But the police action was apparently not very effective, because once the masses arrive, they immediately shouted: “Catch! Catch! Catch the Ahok! “

Muslims are very angry because during the policy Ahok former regent of East Belitung it to the Muslims tend to be discriminatory and oppressive.

Ahok prohibit Muslims from doing Tabligh Akbar in Monas, prohibits the sale of sacrificial animals on the roadside and prohibit slaughter of sacrificial animals in schools and public places.

The peak moment in the dialogue with the citizens of the Thousand Islands on 27 September 2016, Ahok said he does not matter if it is not selected again in Pilgub Jakarta in 2017, warned that linked the plea that Muslims do not elect a leader who is not a believer, citizens have been deceived by Surah Al Maidah paragraph 51.

MUI rate, with what it says it, as if to say that the contents Ahok verse 51 Surah Al Maidah incorrect and scholars who convey that paragraph to the people has been expressed things that are not true anyway, so Ahok considered to have been an insult to the Qur’an and scholars. (Man)

CitraIndonesia.com

Friday, 14 October 2016

 

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Insulting, 15.000 Muslims Demo Governor Jakarta Ahok

Indonesia Aiming to be the Islamic Fashion Capital by 2020

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Indonesia’s Dian Pelangi’s designs in Czech.

THE popularity of the hijab and Muslim fashion in Indonesia has been on the rise. A growing number of Indonesian women are wearing veil or headscarf in the world’s most populous Muslim majority market. Muslimwear has evolved from a religious and cultural movement to a fashion-savvy trend and booming industry.

The increased demand for Islamic clothing has encouraged the growth of the domestic Muslim fashion industry. In a relatively short time, muslimwear has become an important segment of the national textile industry (See Indonesia’s Textile Industry – Testing Times Upstream). The sector has been transformed from its origins in home industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and to large-scale manufacturing today.

Hijab evolution in Indonesia

Before the New Order era, Muslim women in Indonesia used long scarves to loosely cover their hair. From the 1980s, the jilbab or veil that tightly covers the hair was introduced to Indonesia. However, the use of the veil in public schools and government institutions was temporarily restricted by the Soeharto administration; although this did not discourage the majority of Indonesian Muslims from observing what they felt was their religious duty. The rise in the number of women observing the hijab in Indonesia has given birth to a lucrative muslimwear industry. Since early 2000, the sector has been growing rapidly as more young, urban women adhere to the hijab. This new fashion-councious segment demanded Muslim clothing that does more than just cover the hair and body, but also feature appealing styles and designs.

To cater to this demand, a host of young, creative designers who were capable of designing fashionable and on trend Muslim fashion emerged. This included rising stars such as Ms Dian Pelangi who was named one of the 500 most influential persons in the fashion industry by UK-based magazine, Business of Fashion. In fact, a number of established figures in the local fashion industry such as Mr Itang Yunasz have moved into muslimwear design and have capitalised on this rapidly growing niche market. Islamic fashion in Indonesia is also no longer focused solely on female customers but is also targeting male customers with the launch of koko ortaqwa clothing lines.

Growing markets and customers

The hijab market in Indonesia can be divided into three segments; firstly, a simple and practical veil used by 60-70% of Indonesian women. This veil is sold in various colours and models at affordable prices; secondly, the shariah veil which is used by 10% of Indonesian women. This type of veil is longer and is available in conservative colours such as white, black and brown; lastly, the fashionable veil used by urban, middle-class women that come in a variety of colours and styles and is sold at premium prices.

The Indonesian hijab market is still dominated by the practical and simple veil model which retails for under 50,000 IDR for a headscarf and less than 200,000 IDR for a dress. Although the profit margin is low, its demand and sales volume are high which makes this segment highly-lucrative. In contrast, the fashionable hijab which is sold above the 200,000 IDR price point and even into the millions of IDR is relatively limited but offers high profit margins. The market opportunities for hijab products in Indonesia are still wide open, both for low-end as well as high-end segments due to the relatively low number of players in this sector. In addition, the demand for high-end, fashionable hijab products is not only limited to the domestic market but also the regional and international markets given Indonesia’s growing prominence as an Islamic fashion hub.

Muslimwear stores can also be found in traditional markets as well as modern malls with Tanah Abang and Thamrin City gradually becoming the wholesale centre of Islamic clothing, attracting shop owners from around the country sourcing the latest items to sell in their stores. There are also boutique stores that aim at high-end consumers with brands such as Shafira, Zara, and Rabbani, among others. Furthermore, as the number of internet users increases in Indonesia, e-commerce sites offering Islamic wear have mushroomed with brands such as Zoya, Hijup, Hijabenka and Elhijab, offering diverse product portfolios for all consumer segments. Online marketing coupled with reseller and dropship schemes offer lower operating costs and can reach a wider audience due to the absence of geographical constraints. As such, muslimwear has become a highly sought-after commodity and a rapidly growing industry in Indonesia.

Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Industry revealed that around 80% of muslimwear products are sold in the domestic market, while the remaining 20%  are exported (See Indonesia’s Garment and Textile Sector; Short Term Woes). In 2015, Indonesia’s Muslim fashion exports reached $4.57 billion USD or around 58.5 trillion IDR. The figure is lower than that in 2014 of $4.63 billion USD with an export growth trend of 2.30%.

According to data from BPS (2013), the number of companies engaged in the fashion sector reached 1,107,955 units. Around 10% of them are large companies, 20% are medium enterprises and 70% are small enterprises  (See Indonesia SMEs: Increased Government Support to Overcome Challenges). Of the 750,000 SMEs engaged in the clothing sector in Indonesia, around 30% of them are muslimwear producers, with large companies occupying 40%, while small and medium enterprises each occupy 30% respectively of the market.

Hijup, for example, now has 200 designers and growing customer base in 100 countries. With a five-fold annual turnover growth, the startup recently received seed funding from renowned global investors which included 500 Startups, Fenox Venture Capital, and Skystar Capital and has been included in the Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator programme. In February 2016, by invitation from the British Council, Hijup showcased its products at London Fashion Week.

Other rapidly growing muslimwear retailer, Elhijab, now has more than 184 retail outlets across Indonesia. Through the development of its e-commerce platform, Elhijab has managed to build its brand nationally and internationally and tap into export markets in Western Europe including the UK and France as well as the United States and the Middle East.

Going forward, Indonesia’s muslimwear exports will be focused on unsaturated markets such as the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, UK, Australia, Canada, UAE, Belgium, and China.

Increased competition

Despite making significant progress, Indonesia’s muslimwear industry still faces a number of challenges. Its product competitiveness is still low due to poor efficiency and low scalability. Other challenges faced by the country’s Islamic clothing industry include the lack of financing (See Indonesia’s Microfinance Sector Overview: Key Component for Sustainable Growth), cultural preferences, and the need to maintain the balance between upholding Islamic principles and following the latest global fashion trends.

Meanwhile, the major competitors for high-end hijab products are manufacturers from ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia and Thailand (See Indonesia and the ASEAN Economic Community – Ready for Regional Integration?). The latter, as one of the main textile producers in Southeast Asia, aims to make Bangkok a hub for muslimwear industry. Thailand’s Islamic fashíon industry is mostly located in the Muslim dominated southern provinces, with around 80% of its products exported to Malaysia before they are re-exported to various countries with an annual turnover of around $28 million USD.

Malaysia is Indonesia’s biggest competitor in the fashionable hijab segment. Hijab producers and retailers in the country have already had a head start in terms of marketing by utilising e-commerce and social media platforms; particularly Instagram, to market their products. One of the Malaysian hijab brands that has successfully gone global is Naelofar. In 2015, the family-owned company managed to record sales of  $11.8 million USD. Another leading brand is Mimpikita which was invited to shòwcase its products at London Fashion Week in 2015.

The main competitor for low-end hijab products is China which offers cheaper products (See What China’s Slowdown Means for Indonesia: A Trade Perspective). This is critical because domestic customers tend to prioritise price over quality which prompts hijab sellers to turn to reselling Chinese products instead of helping develop local products. Moreover, the hijab’s growing popularity in Indonesia and other countries has lured retailers and designers from non-Muslim countries to launch muslimwear lines themselves. The Japanese retailer, Uniqlo, for instance, hired a popular Muslim fashion blogger, Ms Hana Tajima, to design a Muslim clothing line for their brand.

In September, British model Ms Mariah Idrissi became the first woman wearing a headscarf to star in a commercial for H&M; the world’s second-biggest clothing retailer. In 2014, DKNY launched a Ramadan collection and other western brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Mango have followed suit by selling Muslim clothing during Ramadan.

Towards a global Islamic fashion capital

According to a report by Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard in the Global Islamic Economy Report, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim consumers spent $266 billion USD on clothing in 2013, and are projected to spend $484 billion USD by 2019. Muslim countries with the highest clothing consumption are Turkey at $25 billion USD, followed by Iran at $21 billion USD, Indonesia at $17 billion USD, Egypt at $16 billion USD, and Saudi Arabia at $15 billion USD, based on 2012 data. This excluded Muslims in Western Europe (Germany, France, UK) and North America  who collectively spent an estimated $21 billion USD on clothing and footwear in 2012.  Collectively, the Muslim clothing consumer market is only second after the largest market in the world – the United States, with $494 billion USD in spending.

Meanwhile, the biggest clothing producers and exporters within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation are Bangladesh, Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan. Thus far, despite its huge market potential, there is no single Muslim clothing brand that has been capable of becoming a global player due to market fragmentation and differing cultural preferences.

Indonesia has set a target to become a global Muslim fashion capital by 2020. According to the Deputy Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs, Ms Emilia Suhaimi, the target is attainable since Indonesian hijabs are unique and more diverse compared to those from other countries. Moreover, the industry is backed by an ample supply of creative human resources and a rich cultural heritage (SeeIndonesia’s Creative Economy & Heritage Products – A Wealth of Opportunities). To show its support, the Indonesian government is considering assigning a standard HS code for Islamic wear.

Indonesia has routinely organised annual Islamic fashion shows to help promote the domestic muslimwear industry at the international level. These events include Indonesian Muslim Fashion Week, the International Indonesian Islamic Fashion Fair, and Muslim Fashion Festival Indonesia 2016. Moreover, the Indonesian government also encourages local Muslim fashion designers to participate in overseas exhibitions to introduce their brands to global customers. These efforts combined make Indonesia a firm contender for becoming a global Islamic fashion centre. The country’s diverse hijab designs also places it in a strong position for garnering international appeal at this key time when Islamic fashion is growing at a rapid pace both in emerging markets as well as among Muslim communities in advanced economies.

Global Business Guide Indonesia – 2016

http://www.gbgindonesia.com/en/manufacturing/article/2016/indonesia_aiming_to_be_the_islamic_fashion_capital_by_2020_11646.php

 

Malaysia bans Indonesian book of Ahmad Wahib’s Diary

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Bernama

PUTRAJAYA

THE Home Affairs Ministry (KDN) has banned four books containing elements which contradict with true Islamic teaching and present false facts on the country’s security agency.

Secretary-general of the ministry Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim said the books were titled Pergolakan Pemikiran Islam: Catatan Harian Ahmad Wahib (Islamic Thought Upheaval: Diary of Ahmad Wahib),  Malaysia And The Club Of Doom: The Collapse Of The Islamic Countries, Torture In Malaysia Prisons: Who You Didn’t Know And Need To Know To Ac’ and The Qoran: A Very Short Introduction.

The books were issued a prohibition order in accordance with Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 (Act 301) for containing elements that could disrupt harmony, alarm the public, cause harm to the public, and contradict with laws that upheld the nation’s well-being, Alwi said.

Meanwhile, three of the books contained elements that could confuse Muslims in the country on the implementation and practice of Islam as according to Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah, while another book if left unmonitored could mislead the public’s view on the country’s security agency, he said.

“It is an offence for any parties to print, import, produce, reproduce, publish, sell, issue, circulate, distribute or to possess these banned publications,” he said in a statement today.

Alwi said, according to Section 8(2) of the act, if found guilty for the offence, the offender could face imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine of not more than RM20,000, or both.

Bernama/Borneo Bulletion

Friday, September 9, 2016

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Home Ministry bans four misleading books

 

 

‘Mobile mosque’ makes praying easier in gridlocked Jakarta

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Kiki Siregar
JAKARTA

AS THE call to prayer rang out across the Indonesian capital, Sutikno faced a dilemma — the devout Muslim needed to set off through Jakarta’s notorious traffic to pick up his wife but did not want to miss out on worshipping.

However, for him and others juggling the demands of hectic, 21st century life and piety in the crowded capital of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, a solution has just pulled up.

The “mosque-mobile” started cruising through Jakarta in June as the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan drew to a close, aiming to ensure Muslims did not miss out on prayers by setting up in busy places, such as near festivals and sports events.

Sutikno, a middle-aged office worker who like many Indonesians goes by one name, came across the van parked between a sports stadium and shopping malls, and it proved a godsend.

“I was supposed to go to a mosque that is quite far away but then I saw this one,” he told AFP.

“I just parked my car and performed my prayers here. I can save time and go and pick up my wife faster.”

The green and white van has been specially adapted to become a mobile place of worship. At prayer time, the sides of the vehicle open up and a small stage is extended, from which the imam preaches.

Prayer rugs are rolled out in front of the van, with space for up to 100 people, and a handful can worship inside the vehicle. It also provides special robes for women and a tank of water for the faithful to ritually cleanse themselves before praying.

The mosque started operating in Jakarta with a team of four in the final week of Ramadhan, a month of fasting and piety, but plans to continue afterwards.

The van offers its services between 3pm and 7pm for two prayer sessions, at a time traffic is bad as millions flood out of downtown areas and head back to satellite cities. Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day.

During Ramadhan, the crew running the Jakarta “mosque-mobile” also serve snacks to people stuck in gridlock when it is time to break their fast.

The van is run by the Archipelago Mosque Foundation, an organisation that sets up and maintains mosques, with funding provided by Adira Sharia, a group that provides Islamic-compliant financing for motor vehicles.

“We were concerned that there was a lack of places of worship at crowded spots such as music concerts, festivals and football games. Sometimes people intend to pray, but because there are no facilities, they skip it,” said Hamzah Fatdri, director of the mosque foundation.

The Jakarta mosque-on-wheels has hit the streets after the foundation launched a mobile place of worship in the city of Bandung, southeast of the capital on the main island of Java.

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The Bandung mosque proved a success, offering prayer sessions at 50 different locations in its first year of operation, and the foundation hopes the van in the capital — which is slightly larger than the Bandung model — can do even better.

Indonesia is already home to some 800,000 mosques, including a large number in Jakarta and other major cities.

But with many people stuck in gridlock at prayer time — particularly during Ramadhan — and ad hoc festivals and sports events typically failing to provide facilities for praying, the foundation believes the “mobile-mosque” will be a great help.

It is the latest innovation to offer relief to residents of Indonesia’s booming but overcrowded, traffic-choked cities, where hundreds of new vehicles are hitting the roads every day as the middle class rapidly expands due to strong economic growth.

Motorbike taxi-hailing apps that whisk passengers quickly through the gridlock have been a chief beneficiary, and have expanded their businesses into other areas such as food delivery and courier services.

Still, some worshippers were not immediately taken by the mosque-on-wheels.

“Maybe because this was a new experience, I felt a bit awkward and embarrassed to pray in an open, public space,” student Mahtashal Harbi said after worshipping for the first time at the Jakarta van.

AFP
Tuesday, July 6, 2016

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http://www.bt.com.bn/features/2016/07/06/%E2%80%98mobile-mosque%E2%80%99-makes-praying-easier-gridlocked-jakarta#sthash.osvoVcLZ.dpuf