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Calls for Quran Test of Indonesian Presidential Candidates Faces Criticism By Muslim Scholars

The invitation that was sent to both presidential candidates asks them to read Al-Fatiha (the first surah in Quran) and then another surah that will be determined by the organizer.

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Indonesia, quran
A man reads the Koran at Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta, July 24, 2012. VOA

A recent call for a Quran test in Aceh province for Indonesian presidential candidates is facing strong criticism by Muslim scholars, who say the move would undermine racial unity.

On Saturday, the Council of Preachers Association in Aceh sent an invitation to both presidential candidates in the April 2019 vote — incumbent Joko Widodo and opponent Prabowo Subianto — to attend a Quran recitation test in the capital of Aceh province on January 15. The chairman of that council, Marsyuddin Ishak, told VOA that the test is important to reveal the true image of the presidential candidates as well as continue a tradition in their province, the only one that implement the Sharia-law in Indonesia.

Quran recitation is a requirement to compete in local elections in Aceh.

” Our leaders in here — the governor, the member of parliament and other councils — are all tested to read the Quran. The next president will be our leader too, so we want to know their capability in reading Quran as our local leaders in here,” said Marsyuddin.

Indonesia, quran
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center right, walks and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin during a ceremony marking the kick off of the campaign period for next year’s election in Jakarta, Sept. 23, 2018. VOA

However, former president of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, Dr. Komaruddin Hidayat, told VOA that the test is unnecessary and exaggerates the importance of religion.

“I really regret it. Our lives must be based on a constitution. Understanding and learning more about our religion is important, but it doesn’t mean that we fail our live if we can’t read the Quran,” he said.

“Religion never became the standard to graduate from school or to get a job. I give you another example : if we want to test an airplane pilot, we test his knowledge on the airplane not about his ability to read the Quran. The same case with the presidential election.”

He adds that it’s better if any test was based on the candidates’ sensitivity to people of different religions and how will he fight for the rights of minorities.

Dr. Rumadi Ahmad, an official with the country’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, told VOA that the Quran recitation test is a clear example of politicizing religion.

Quran
A worker looks checks printing paper for the Koran near the Sunan Ampel mosque in Surabaya, Indonesia East Java province, July 27, 2011. VOA

“This is an exaggeration of religion in politics. We don’t have to use the capability to read the Quran as an issue in the coming election. This is a clear tendency to politicize religion. It’s dangerous and will arouse hatred among people of various races and religions in the country,” said Rumadi.

Also Read: Earthquake Measuring 6.1 Strikes Indonesia

The invitation that was sent to both presidential candidates asks them to read Al-Fatiha (the first surah in Quran) and then another surah that will be determined by the organizer.

According to Marsyuddin Ishak, Joko Widodo’s team has replied to the invitation by saying that they will consider it and discuss it further. Prabowo has not replied. (VOA)

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Ram Mandir To Be Built In Ayodhya By 2022

The Grand Ram Temple will be built in Ayodhya by 2022

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Ram
The Ram temple is proposed to be built at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya by 2022. Wikimedia Commons

The much awaited temple proposed to be built at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya after the Supreme Court verdict, will be completed before 2022, the 75th year of India’s independence.

The Uttar Pradesh government has released a picture of what the temple, and the Ram statue proposed near it, would look like on their completion. Sources said the Ram idol will take three years to complete.

Details are also trickling in of the grand temple complex planned. Spread over an area 240 feet long and 145 feet wide, it will be 141 feet in height. Its 4 feet periphery will have 251 columns.

Ram temple
The Ram temple will have a prayer hall, a lecture hall, a educational facility, a saints residence and a hostel for visitors. Wikimedia Commons

The temple complex will have a prayer hall, a Ramkatha Kunj (lecture hall), a Vaidik Pathshala (educational facility), a Sant Niwas (saints residence) and a Yatri Niwas (hostel for visitors).

Also Read- Bollywood Celebs Hail Verdict on Ayodhya Case

Around the idol of Lord Ram, there will be other facilities such as a digital museum, a centre for description on holy scriptures, a library, a cafeteria and parking space. (IANS)