Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas urged Muslim preachers to present a message of peace and respect for differences during their Friday prayer sermons ahead of Election Day next week.

“As the Election Day is round the corner, we ask Friday prayer preachers to present a message about the importance of ensuring a peaceful election, strengthening brotherhood and harmony, as well as encouraging residents to exercise their voting rights responsibly and respecting political differences,” the minister noted in a written statement here on Friday.

A circular on the matter has been issued by the ministry’s Directorate General of Islamic Community Guidance and dispatched to the heads of the ministry office at the provincial level, he remarked.

The circular emphasized the importance of maintaining a conducive situation among members of the Muslim community and preventing political activities at mosques to maintain their sacredness.

“Mosques should not be used to host political campaigns where support to a particular political party or electoral candidates are explicitly displayed,” the minister emphasized.

The circular also called on mosque administrators and preachers to abide by and disseminate a related circular that guides on religious sermons.

Religious sermons should be educative, enlightening, and constructive to improve personal piety and faith as well as maintain national unity and integrity, Qoumas affirmed while adding that sermons should not stir racial sentiments, should not be inflammatory in nature, and should not be political.

Places of worship should also play their role in increasing cohesion and harmony among people amid political differences ahead of the election, he remarked.

“I ask religious figures to present the same message to their congregations at every assembly and meeting,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Qoumas said he expected the 2024 General Election, as a “fiesta of democracy,” to be a joyful occasion for every resident.

“Differences in political preference are reasonable, and everyone should respect it. How unfortunate if our political differences ruin our brotherhood,” he stated.

The minister also expressed hope that tensions among groups would recede after the Election Day, as residents continue their daily activities while waiting for the official result tabulated by election officials.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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