First Lady of Malaysia visits iconic mosque and church that symbolize religious harmony in Indonesia

First Lady of Malaysia visits iconic mosque and church
(IO/Septo Kun Wijaya)

Jakarta, IO – First Lady of Malaysia Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, spouse of Prime Minister Anwar Ismail, visited two historic places of worship that symbolize religious diversity and harmony in Indonesia, the Istiqlal Mosque and the Cathedral Church, on Jakarta, Monday (9/1).

In her visit to Istiqlal Mosque, she was greeted by the Grand Imam Nasaruddin Umar. She then performed the Tahiyat al-Masjid prayer and walked around the compound the see the beauty and meaning signified by the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

She expressed her appreciation for the establishment of the mosque who she said is an iconic place to learn about Islam and manifest its teachings in daily lives.

“We can study and grow together, because this da’wah is not only for worship, but also how we implement Islam in our daily lives as a pious Moslem. Alhamdulillah, this [Istiqlal Mosque] has become an icon to show that togetherness can be built not only in Indonesia, but also in Southeast Asia,” she said.

Wan Azizah then visited the nearby Cathedral Church through an underground tunnel. She was welcomed by the Archbishop of Jakarta Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo. Suharyo said Wan Azizah’s visit could serve as a positive example for both religious communities at home and abroad.

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He explained that the Cathedral Church and the Istiqlal Mosque were not built opposite each other but side by side. He considered the word opposite to have a negative connotation, while side by side would mean neighbors. In addition, the underground tunnel that connects the church and the mosque is also seen as a manifestation of brotherhood between the two religions.

“The symbolic strength between the Cathedral and Istiqlal certainly illustrates the closeness between the devotees of both religions as fellow brothers and sisters, the brotherhood of faith and nationality,” said Suharyo. (bp)