JAKARTA/PUTRAJAYA (Jakarta Post, The Star/Asia New Network) - Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia celebrated Hari Raya Puasa or Idul Fitri on Wednesday (July 6) under tight security in the wake of an outbreak of violence in the Muslim world.
Thousands of Muslims attended Idul Fitri prayers at the Al-Azhar Mosque and other mosques across Jakarta, a day after a suicide bomber attacked the police headquarters in Central Java.
At Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta, some 240 police officers stood on guard as the congregation, who included Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla and his wife, performed prayers.
Ms Dita Adinda, 26, said she had to walk through a scanner and put her bags through an X-ray machine before entering the mosque.
"I am hoping for a more peaceful year ahead, so that we could celebrate the day of victory [Idul Fitri]with more happiness," she said. The festival is also widely known as the Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Ms Adinda added that Muslims were reminded during the prayers to always pursue peace in life and to condemn any form of terrorism.
In recent days, extremists killed 41 people at Istanbul’s international airport, 22 at a cafe in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka; and at least 250 celebrating the final days of Ramadan in Baghdad. Then the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked with bombings in three cities in Saudi Arabia.
The attacks have been condemned by the Muslim world, including Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population and Malaysia, where the police have said a hand grenade attack on a pub which injured eight people last week is the first attack by ISIS in the country.
On Wednesday, thousands of people gathered at Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s official residence in Putrajaya for Hari Raya open house festivities.
Security was tight with guests having to undergo scans while their bags were examined as they entered the premises before the event started at 10am.
There was a second security check at the main entrance to the Prime Minister’s official residence.
Datuk Seri Najib, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor as well as other Cabinet ministers will meet with the people during the event, which lasts until 4pm.