Indonesian leaders to pray with the pope against the coronavirus
by Mathias Hariyadi

For Indonsian Muslims, the 14 May initiative will promote brotherhood among all human beings. Card Suharyo calls for tolerance and compassion for those suffering from COVID-19". The government will hold a special event next Satuirday.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian authorities and religious leaders have responded favourably to Pope Francis' invitation to pray next Thursday (14 May) to ask God for help against the pandemic.

The High Committee for Human Brotherhood launched the initiative aimed at every person, in every part of the world, regardless of their religion, faith or doctrine.

For Moch. Qasim Mathar, from Aliudin Islamic State University in Makassar (southern Sulawesi), Indonesians can be expected torespond positively to the Pope's appeal. “Our country has the most Muslims in the world, and their active participation in prayers would benefit the pontiff’s call.”

Amany Lubis, dean of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, agrees. “The initiative is a great tool to promote brotherhood among all human beings in this time of difficulty.”

Archbishop Card Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta wrote a special prayer to help people overcome the crisis.

In it, he calls on the merciful God to protect humanity from the disease, to allow the infected to heal, and to welcome the dead in his glory, whilst giving comfort to their relatives.

The cardinal also asks the Lord to guide the country's leaders, doctors, nurses and scientists in their efforts against the disease.

The prayer ends with a request for help to promote social tolerance and compassion for others, especially those suffering from the pandemic.

More than 14,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Indonesia, with about 2,400 people hospitalised, and almost a thousand eaths.

Religious groups are making a major contribution to the fight against the coronavirus, their representatives say.

Even the government will hold a moment of prayer on 14 May, broadcast on state TV and some private broadcasters.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will open the event, called the ‘National prayer for social solidarity,’ which will led by various religious leaders, namely Kiai Hajj Quraish Shihab for Muslims, Card Suharyo for Catholics, Rev Ronny Mandang for Protestants, Ida Pedanda Nabe Gede Bang Buruan Manuaba for Hindus, Sri Panyavaro Mahatera for Buddhists, and Budi S Tanuwibowo for Confucians.