Jakarta-wapresri.go.id Vice President Jusuf Kalla underscored, mosques should be able to bring prosperity to society, in addition to performing their basic functions in worship services and religious outreach (dakwah).

“To prosper a mosque does not necessarily mean you merely put money into its charity box, but that you make a mosque performs its education, economic, and dakwah functions. If not, the mosque will not perform at its best,” said the Vice President when delivering a speech at the 39th anniversary of the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta held at the mosque’s precinct on Wednesday night (Feb. 22).

Furthermore, the Vice President said, a mosque should draw up strategies to mobilize community to do better, such as by holding business talks, formulating efforts to cope with the flood, and other ideas to make a mosque have more benefits.

The Istiqlal Mosque, he further said, is one of the largest mosques in the world and has become the pride of Muslims in Indonesia.

Historically, the Vice President recounted, the Istiqlal mosque was founded in the time of President Sukarno in a location adjacent to the Cathedral and in the Chinatown area, and thus this makes the area quite multicultural.

“This mosque was complete. (It is located) next to the Cathedral, designed by a Christian (Frederich Silaban –Ed). We must accept the fact that this nation is a nation that is plural and tolerant. However, tolerance should be done by all parties, not just by one party only. Everyone should respect one another,” he said.

The Vice President then hoped that the Istiqlal Mosque set a good example to other mosques, either in maintaining cleanliness, managing events, religious services, or social activities.

“We hope one day we will have a series of mosques in Indonesia which have guidelines of peaceful teachings,” he said.

According to the Vice President, who is also the Chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council (DMI), Indonesia has more than 800 thousand mosques and mushola (small mosques).

“Meaning, on the average, every 250 people will have a mosque or a mushola. This is because Muslims have a specific prayer time that is implemented simultaneously, for example Friday prayer. This is what differentiates it from other religions whose worships can be conducted alternately in one day,” he argued.

Concluding his remarks, the Vice President congratulated on the Istiqlal Mosques’s 39th anniversary and again appreciated President Sukarno who has initiated the construction of this mosque and President Suharto who completed its construction.

The Vice President also thanked various elements of society who have become volunteers cleaning the entire area of ​​the mosque.

The Istiqlal’s anniversary this year takes the theme “Mosques as a Unifying Factor of the Nation” and is organized by the Directorate General of Culture of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Also present on the occasion were Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim and Minister of Education and Culture Muhadjir Effendy.