Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Officially opened by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Oct 7, the 27th National Qur`an Reading Competition, or Musabaqah Tilawatil Quran Nasional (MTQN) in Medan, North Sumatra, is among various efforts to boost religious harmony.

Of the 1,836 candidates from 34 provinces that registered, 1,555 caravans were recorded to take part in the MTQN competition in Medan and Deliserdang on Oct 7-11.

The qaris, or male reciters, and qariahs, or female reciters, who will compete in this year`s MTQN, should not only have the motivation to be a champion but also to increase religious harmony.

Apart from improving and creating a network of cooperation and mutual understanding among them towards solidarity of the ummah, the Qur`an Reading Competition is also a platform for the participants to obtain blessings from the Qur`an.

Competing in such National Quran Reading Competitions will give qaris and qariahs more confidence and motivation to memorize Al-Qur`anic verses.

The competition is also intended to test the participants` mind, interest, and confidence in reading and memorizing the verses of Al-Quran.

While opening the 27th MTQN in Medan on Sunday evening, President Jokowi expressed belief that the event would also function to strengthen the nation`s unity.

"The MTQN aims to foster love for the Qur`an among Muslims and then practice it well for the benefit of the nation," President Jokowi remarked.

The head of state also expressed hope that the MTQN would serve to strengthen Islamic teachings that must be translated into daily life.

In this way, the president believes no more slander, hoax, and scorn news would be spread solely due to political interests and ego.

Furthermore, President Jokowi called on Muslims to foster a sense of brotherhood and unity and uphold harmony among the Indonesian people since all this is the strength and energy of Indonesia.

Jokowi, who wore traditional red Malay clothing, beat the Begud and Gondang IX to mark the opening of the 27th MTQN.

In the meantime, North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi was content that the province was pleased to host the MTQN.

For North Sumatra, the governor noted that the implementation of MTQN offers the necessary momentum and motivation to do hard work and make endeavors to provide the best contribution to the welfare of dignified North Sumatra people.

He said that not only Muslims but also other religious communities were delighted over the implementation of the MTQN.

On the occasion, the president also invited Muslims to ground the Qur`an, one of them being through the MTQN event in North Sumatra.

To ensure that this MTQ offers an injection of energy to ground the Qur`an in the day-to-day lives of Muslims, Jokowi has invited all parties to ensure that the MTQN does not end up being a mere routine biennial event to look for winners in the competition.

The MTQ must be able to promote the Al Qur`an to be the cause behind the realization of the Islamic brotherhood, with a national perspective.

"In addition, our hearts should be peaceful by reading the Koran, and we must care for this peace and tranquility," Jokowi noted.

Through the MTQ, the head of state has also invited the community, especially Muslims, to be able to reflect on the meaning of the Qur`an and adhere to the instructions contained in it to build good character.

If the Qur`an is followed properly, he believes the presence of the Muslim holy book can be a source to benefit the people and nation of Indonesia.

Jokowi is of the view that imbibing the values of the Qur`an can suppress the occurrence of rifts in the community, the spread of false information or hoaxes, slander, cheating, friction between people, and other negative things.

He noted that Muslims are the biggest assets of the nation, so they can also maintain unity and integrity as the capital of the nation`s progress and energy resources towards a prosperous country.

In the meantime, Religion Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin remarked that the opening of MTQN in North Sumatra was delayed by a day owing to President Jokowi`s enthusiasm to be able to open the Asian Para Games.

The minister believes that since the benefits offered by MTQN were wide-ranging, the implementation must be successful, with positive results.

"Registration with `finger print` until the judging process through digital applications is one of the efforts made by the government for the successful implementation of the MTQN," the religious minister added.

Saifuddin believes that 135 judges will be able to carry out their duties objectively at this year`s MTQN.

"The judges are guaranteed to be able to provide objective, transparent, and accountable assessments in the MTQN competition," the minister stated, adding that with the professional performance of the judges, it is expected that the results of the quality of MTQN`s implementation will be in line with aspirations.

The religion minister emphasized that the government has strong intentions to implement and produce quality National Qur`an Reading Competition.



(T.O001/A/KR-BSR/R013) 08-10-2018 15:48:49

Reporter: antara
Editor: Eliswan Azly
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