Messages of peace and unity in 212 Reunion rally

Messages of peace and unity in 212 Reunion rally

The 212 rally on December 2, 2016, where millions of Muslims gathered at the National Monument and surrounding areas. (ANTARA/Akbar Nugroho Gumay )

Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is bracing for this year`s 212 reunion rally on Sunday (Dec 2), which coincidentally falls in the month to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be up on him).

Similar to last year`s event, the convening of this year`s 212 reunion rally is also centered at the National Monument (Monas) Square, Central Jakarta. The permit for using the public area has also been issued by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.

The 212 reunion rally has consistently been convened since 2017 to commemorate the historic moment of the 212 rally that the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Councils Fatwa (GNPF-MUI) had held on December 2, 2016.

Participating in the rally at that time were some seven million Indonesian Muslims coming from different parts of the country and abroad to demand the prosecution of then Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) after he was accused of insulting Islam.

Despite the huge number of participants, who flocked to Monas Square and its surrounding areas, the rally ran peacefully. The areas that the crowds of people occupied and passed by even looked clean owing to those voluntarily collecting trash.

Moreover, on February 11,2017, the day tens of thousands of Muslims, mostly in white shirts, were gathering at the Istiqlal Grand Mosque, a Catholic bride and groom would have their wedding procession at the Jakarta Cathedral, located in front of the iconic mosque.

Amid the crowds of people thronging the street in front of the iconic mosque and the Roman Catholic church, the bride and groom and those accompanying them were spontaneously helped by the rally`s participants to get to the church`s front yard.

The true and genuine values of solidarity and nationalism that the 112 rally`s participants had demonstrated through their assistance offered to the Catholic wedding couple were highlighted by several local newspapers, news portals, and television stations.

Due to the newsworthiness of this event, various mainstream media outside Indonesia also reported it.

Regarding the 212 rally, for the figures of the GNPF-MUI and various Islamic organizations, the event was perceived as proof of the rise of Muslim brotherhood and unity.

As a follow-up of this 212 rally, the figures, representing the GNPF-MUI and Muslim communities, came up with an idea of empowering the Indonesian Muslims` economy by building an Islamic convenience store chain 212 Mart across the archipelago.

They also intensified public campaigns to buy goods and basic necessities from the 212 Mart stores and small shops, commonly known as "warung" and owned by small traders, in an endeavor to empower the Muslim community members` economy.

In commemorating this historic event, the first 212 reunion rally was then held on December 2, 2017. It was also centered at the Monas Square area. Considering its historic significance and reputation, this year, the same commemorative event is again being convened.

According to Chairman of the 212 Alumni Brotherhood Slamet Maarif, a series of programs have been prepared, including the Tahajud prayer, predawn (subuh) prayer, Dhuha prayer, and reciting Qur`an, from around 3 a.m. local time until midday on Sunday (Dec 2).

The event will also be enlivened by preaching from several respected Muslim figures and preachers, including Habib Rizieq Shihab, founder of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), who will preach through live-streaming from Saudi Arabia, and Arifin Ilham.

The programs will also feature several noted Muslim musicians, including Ahmad Dhani and Nissa Sabyan.

"Insya Allah, the number of participants at this upcoming 212 reunion rally will not be so different from that of the 212 rally in 2016," Maarif pointed out.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Fahri Hamzah believes it is necessary for the two pairs of presidential and vice presidential candidates to attend the 212 reunion rally at Monas Square on Sunday.

"I propose that Mr. Jokowi (popular nickname of Joko Widodo) and Mr. Prabowo Subianto come to the event along with their respective running mates, shake hands, and hug each other ahead of the 2019 Presidential Elections," he informed journalists on Thursday.

He remarked that the 212 reunion rally was an endeavor to maintain the nation`s unity in diversity despite people having different political preferences in next year`s parliamentary and presidential elections.

People should view this upcoming event as a momentum to celebrate a fiesta that would bring joy to them all.

"Thus, it is much better to be present. I myself will attend the rally. Although I am not given a chance to speak, it does not matter," he noted, adding that the atmosphere of the event should be relaxed, as several million people are expected to join the rally.

Those keen on joining the 212 reunion rally to celebrate togetherness should not harbor fears. Hence, the state should ensure that participants of the peaceful rally do not get traumatized, he warned.

Instead, the state must make those attending the rally feel at ease and that the event is not aimed at creating foes. Similar events, in which several people participated, in the past were peaceful, Hamzah noted.

Similar to earlier events, this Sunday`s 212 reunion rally is believed to send across messages of peace and unity despite differences in political preferences among eligible voters in next year`s fiesta of democracy.