Indonesia tones down Eid celebration amid COVID-19 spike

Indonesia tones down Eid celebration amid COVID-19 spike

JAKARTA: Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, ushered in Aidilfitri today with toned down celebrations that broke away from traditions as part of the country’s effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muslims in Indonesia have been forbidden from holding Aidilfitri prayers in mosques, not permitted to hold open houses, return to their hometowns and visit one another.

Only four areas where the pandemic is under control, namely Kota Bekusi (West Java), Kota Dumai (Riau province in Sumatra) Kabupaten Natuna (Riau Islands) and Kabupaten Gorontalo Utara (North Sulawesi) are allowed to hold Aidilfitri prayers, on condition that social distancing is adhered to strictly.

Malaysia-Indonesia Journalist Brotherhood (ISWAMI) president Asro Kamal Rokan, in his Facebook post said the Aidilfitri celebration this year is an exceptional, unique and memorable experience for everyone.

“As we prepared to perform Aidilfitri prayers this morning, my son got the camera and tripod ready to capture this historical moment,” he wrote.

However, local media reported that Aidilfitri prayers were performed in congregation in several mosques in Indonesia including in Jakarta, raising concerns that this would give rise to new cluster of cases.

As of yesterday COVID-19 positive cases in Indonesia increased to 21,745 cases, with 1,351 deaths.

The Indonesian government had imposed large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) since March, to deal with the spread of the virus.

Earlier the Indonesian Ulama Council  had also issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to perform Aidilfitri prayers at home.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his wife Iriana performed Aidilfitri prayers in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Bogor with several palace officials, which was broadcast via the Presidential Secretariat official You Tube channel.

The Indonesian president’s spokesman Fadjroel Rachman in a statement said President Jokowi had also directed cabinet ministers and all government-related ministries and agencies not to organise open houses.

The Malaysian embassy in Jakarta too did not hold Aidilfitri prayers at the mosque in the embassy and the usual Hari Raya gathering or open house too, will not be held this year.


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