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Nuns give Eid al-Fitr meals to police, troops in Jakarta

Say gesture is an act of solidarity with those guarding buildings in wake of riots in Indonesian capital

Nuns give Eid al-Fitr meals to police, troops in Jakarta

Nuns distribute meals to police officers providing security during Eid al-Fitr in Jakarta. (Photo supplied)

Catholic nuns joined an interfaith group in distributing meals to hundreds of police and military personnel providing security in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta on the first day of Eid al-Fitr on June 5.

They, along with a 35-member group called “Netizens of Unity in Diversity,” gave out traditional Eid al-Fitr dishes such as opor ayam (chicken braised in coconut milk) and rendang (slow-cooked meat in coconut milk and spices) to about 550 police and military personnel guarding offices of organizations at the center of recent unrest. The offices included the Elections Supervisory Agency and the General Election Commission.

Security has been ramped up in these locations and others since May 21, when rioting by supporters of defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto rocked the capital over the next 24 hours after the election commission officially announced President Joko Widodo had won a second term following elections in April. 

At least eight people were killed and more than 700 injured during the unrest.

The discovery of an alleged assassination plot against several key security figures and failed suicide bombing has also added to a sense of unease.

Ursuline Sister Lucia Anggraini said six nuns from the Order of St. Ursula (OSU) took part in the food distribution program.

“We were moved to serve the policemen and soldiers because Eid al-Fitr is a special day when they should be with their families. We wanted to show them our gratitude,” she told ucanews.com. 

According to Susi Rizki, coordinator of the program, many of those on duty in Jakarta came from parts of the country far from the capital. 

“They’ve left their families and so cannot celebrate Eid al-Fitr with them in their hometowns. We wanted to build solidarity with them,” she said.

"This is moral support," she said, adding that the gesture was also aimed at promoting unity in Indonesian society following the “divisive election.”

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Andy, a police officer from West Sulawesi province, who arrived in the capital three months ago, appreciated the group’s gesture adding, “the most important thing is that Jakarta is safe.” 

Meanwhile, Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral Church has turned its main compound into a parking lot for Muslims wanting to pray during Eid at Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia, which is located across the road from the cathedral.

According to cathedral church spokeswoman, Susiana Suwadie, Jakarta Archdiocese’s Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has erected a security post in front of the cathedral so that interfaith groups can help provide security at the mosque during the holiday.

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