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Indonesia holds prayer against Covid-19

President Joko Widodo calls on religious followers to be persistent in prayer amid pandemic

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Indonesia holds prayer against Covid-19

President Joko Widodo delivers a speech to start the ‘Prayer for the Nation and Humanity’ on May 14. (YouTube screengrab)

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called on all religious followers to continue praying for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic, stressing the need for them not to lose hope.

“It is our obligation to always pray to God that he will immediately set our people, our nation and our state as well as the world free from this pandemic,” Widodo said in a televised speech to open a mass interfaith prayer event on May 14.

Joining the event, held by the Religious Affairs Ministry and livestreamed on YouTube, were Vice President Ma’ruf Amin and prominent figures from the country’s six recognized religions — Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam and Protestantism — including Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta. 

“In facing this difficult situation, we must not be pessimistic and not lose hope. It is our obligation to continue making efforts with everything we have in order to protect ourselves as well as our families, our brothers and sisters, our nation and our state from the coronavirus,” Widodo said.

He also invited all religious followers to shake off fears propagated by the pandemic. 

“Have optimistic feelings, increase empathy and grow social solidarity. It’s time for us to look around, to help our brothers and sisters, to assist our neighbors, to lend a hand to our friends, to work together in carrying our nation’s burdens,” Widodo said.

Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said the mass prayer was the brainchild of the ministry's higher committee of human fraternity. 

The prayer was meant to coincide with the Day of Prayer and Fasting and Works of Charity being held around the world on May 14.

“Each religious community has said prayers that God will end the pandemic. A national prayer event is now being held. This time, we pray to God — together with all the faithful from across the world — for a better future which is free from any pandemic,” he said.

In his prayer, Cardinal Suharyo called for international unity to fight the pandemic. 

“Encourage us to involve, to work together in creative ways, and to take the right stance in accordance with our national leaders’ policies and health protocols,” the prelate said.

“Grow in all Indonesian people — both those who live in Indonesia and overseas — the spirit of unity, true fraternity and the willingness to share particularly with those affected by this pandemic,” he said.

As of May 14, Indonesia had recorded 16,006 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 1,043 deaths.

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