Eid Prayers Held Under Tight Security

Jakarta, 01 Syawal 1437/06 July 2016  (MINA)  –  The fasting month of Ramadan in 2016 in Indonesia ended with Eid prayers taking place under tight security at the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Wednesday, Antara reported.

Eid al-Fitr, commonly known in Indonesia as Lebaran, is being celebrated across the country on Wednesday to mark victory over temptations during the Ramadan fasting month, which ended on Tuesday.

In the midst of the festivities, a suicide bomb attack occurred in Solo, Central Java, on Tuesday.

The suicide bomber, who was targeting the Police Headquarters in the city of Surakarta, was stopped by a Police officer, but a few minutes later, the bomb exploded and killed the attacker.

Intelligence analyst Ridlwan Habib from the University of Indonesia believes that Tuesday mornings suicide bomb attack in Solo, was orchestrated by the radical pro-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group.

Preliminary reports indicated that the bomber had used low-grade explosives to make the homemade bomb, which like most improvised explosive devices, contained ball bearings and screws.

Following the Solo bombing incident, Habib called on security officials to stay alert to possible subsequent attacks in other parts of the country.

Therefore, the security for the Eid prayers on Wednesday at Jakartas Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia, was intensified to anticipate other acts of violence and terrorism.

Hundreds of joint police and military security officers were deployed around the mosque since early Wednesday morning to ensure security during the Eid prayers, attended by Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

Compared to the previous years, security at the Istiqlal Mosque is much tighter this year.

Outside the mosque complex, security guards, armed with long-barreled weapons, along with police personnel were seen on full alert and used metal detection devices to carefully examine all congregation members, who were about to enter the mosque.

The series of Eid prayers, offered by around 150 thousand people, including the vice president, began at 6:45 a.m. local time and concluded at 7:30 a.m. local time.

After performing the Eid prayers, the vice president left the Istiqlal Mosque for the Vice Presidential Palace where he will hold an open house for members of the community.


Jokowi on working visit

However, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was not seen performing the Eid prayers at the Istiqlal Mosque as he had done the same with members of the community at the West Sumatra Grand Mosque in Padang.

The president and First Lady Iriana arrived in Padang on Monday on a working visit, which includes celebrating Eid with the local community of the city of Padang.

President Jokowi affirmed that his visit to West Sumatra this time was to uphold his promise of being with the people of the city for the Eid al-Fitr celebrations this year.

After performing the Eid prayers, the president and his entourage will leave Padang for Solo and Yogyakarta for a working visit as well as for holding a cordial gathering with the community of Central Java.

Despite the tight security at Istiqlal Mosque, Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) Chairman Zulkifli Hasan has appealed to the society to celebrate Lebaran in peace without being perturbed by Tuesdays suicide bombing in Solo.

“Happy Eid al-Fitr, and happy gathering with family and relatives. We hope the public will stay calm,” Hasan remarked after performing the Eid prayers with Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the Istiqlal Mosque.


Without any incidents

The MPR chairman affirmed that the public should believe in the security forces as they were doing a good job in handling the suicide bombing in Solo.

“Leave the case to the security forces, and let us celebrate the victorious day of Lebaran in peace,” Hasan emphasized.

In reality, millions of Indonesian Muslims across the country thronged mosques to offer prayers in peace without any incidents being reported.

Following the Eid prayers, they visited friends and relatives as part of the Lebaran tradition of seeking forgiveness for any wrongdoings they had committed.

For Muslims, Lebaran is a victorious day after restraining from food and beverages, and the victory over the temptation of physical lust during the day all through the holy month of Ramadan.

Lebaran is the most celebrated of all festivals, and thus, Muslims in Indonesia have been making elaborate preparations for the celebrations to mark the end of the 2016 fasting month.

Everyone seems to be in a festive mood. The aura of the holiday spirit can now be felt in the Greater Jakarta areas where the normally congested streets are pleasantly deserted, and one can actually take a deep breath without inhaling a lungful of pollution.

Muslims in Indonesia, who account for nearly 90 percent of the countrys population, are celebrating Lebaran on July 6-7 this year.

During this time, the capital city of Jakarta reveals itself as a friendly city, with wide, tree-lined avenues where pedestrians can stroll on the pavements without the risk of being hit by a motorbike.

The prevailing custom of Lebaran in Indonesia is one of the largest temporary human migrations observed globally when workers return to their hometowns to celebrate with their families and relatives and to seek forgiveness from parents, in-laws, and other elders.

Such a mass exodus, or homecoming, is known in Indonesia as “mudik,” which is an annual tradition wherein the people living in major cities, such as Greater Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, and elsewhere, travel to their hometowns to meet their relatives.  (T/R07/R0)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)