Jokowi Inaugurates New Grand Mosque, Hopes It Will Spread Message of Tolerance

BY :CIKAL MULTAZAM

APRIL 16, 2017

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated a grand mosque on Daan Mogot Road in West Jakarta on Saturday (15/04), expressing his hope that the place of worship will strengthen and promote the spirit of moderate and tolerant Islam.

Named after Indonesian ulama Hasyim Asy'ari, founder of the world's biggest Muslim organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the 17,000-square-meter mosque can accommodate 16,000 people.

The Hasyim Asy'ari Grand Mosque is the first one founded by the Jakarta government, which allocated Rp 170 billion ($12.8 million) to its construction.

"Not without a reason the mosque is called the Kiai Haji Hasyim Asy'ari Grand Mosque. He is our national hero, who loved the republic with all his heart," the president said.

President Joko 'Jokowi'  Widodo with Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, right, Jakarta City Council speaker Prasetyo Edi Marsudi, second right, and Hasyim Asy'ari's descendants examine the new mosque. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Jokowi added that by founding the NU in 1916, Hasyim had strengthened Indonesia's tolerant and inclusive Islam.

The president was welcomed by acting Jakarta Governor Soemarsono.

In attendance were Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Presidential Chief of Staff  Teten Masduki and high-profile Nahdlatul Ulama figures such as Hasyim's family members Solahuddin Wahid and Yenny Wahid, and the local government officials.

Earlier, the inauguration was scheduled for Sunday, but, according to Sumarsono, the date had to be adjusted to the president's schedule. He added that the change of the date had no political links. On Sunday, however, Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama returns to the office after taking obligatory leave preceding Wednesday's gubernatorial election.

Ahok launched the mosque's construction in June 2013.

There are two more grand mosques in Jakarta — the Istiqlal Mosque and Sunda Kelapa Mosque, both in the city center.

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