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Muslims conduct prayers on the premises of Kayutangan Sacred Heart church in Malang on the occasion of Eid on Wednesday (UCA News/Facebook)

A century-old Catholic church in Indonesia allowed Muslims to conduct Eid prayers on its premises on Wednesday, saying such moves could help build brotherhood in the Muslim-majority nation. Source: UCA News.

Hundreds of Muslims prayed in the courtyard of Kayutangan Sacred Heart parish church in Malang, East Java, as the nearby Grand Jami Mosque could not accommodate the festival prayer gathering.

Catholic nuns, seminarians, and lay people helped Muslims organise the prayer program and greeted them later.

Carmelite parish priest Fr Karmel Henrikus Suwaji said the church provided the yard because “Muslims are our brothers”.

He said he invited seminarians and nuns to congratulate Muslims and to show togetherness.

Muslims have been using the church facility for their feast gatherings since 2022. The priest said that the Mass was rescheduled when Eid fell on Sundays.

Aris, a Muslim who goes by one name, said he opted for the church as the mosque had no space.

He said he was initially hesitant. However, he felt encouraged as Catholics welcomed him and his family members.

The Kayutangan church was founded in 1905 by Jesuit priest Father G.D.A. Jonckbloet when Indonesia was a Dutch colony. It is among Malang’s 32 cultural heritage buildings that tourists visit.

In other regions, such as West Bangka Regency and Bangka Belitung Islands province, the Catholic Youth organisation facilitated Muslims in conducting the prayer by maintaining security along with the police.

Catholics’ involvement strengthens harmony, said Martinus Adi Prianto, head of the Catholic Youth in West Bangka Regency.

Ahmad Nurcholish, deputy director of the Indonesia Conference on Religion on Peace, an interfaith organisation, said such traditions are good amid religious intolerance.


Indonesian Catholic church hosts Muslims’ Eid prayer (UCA News)