MTQN 23 in Bengkulu: National Koran reading competition

Contributions from all of Indonesias 33 Provinces
Contributions from all of Indonesias 33 Provinces

Starting at the 5th we have the big national Koran reading and reciting competition here in Bengkulu. MTQN.

Whilst I thord that a Koran reading competition would be a very pious and serious affair, here the people think of something else.

The big party - opend by the president
The big party - opend by the president

Around the stadium the opening ceremony took place, there is huge fair and you can buy clothes, sweets and lots of other things. It has more a country fair feeling or for the Freiburg people it feels more then the „Schalten und Walten“ with stands from the local farmers cooperative, and tourist office.

Security at the Koran Reading event
Security at the Koran Reading event

The city has been preparing herself for quite some time. There are flags on all streets, officials have told the Bengkulu punks at the main intersection to behave and for the opening even the President has come.

Security has been steeped up as well. There are soldiers and policemen at every junction and some are staying in the district office next door.

Soldiers ocuping our living room
Soldiers ocuping our living room, see the gun to the left.

Which is very funny, because yesterday morning I came to our living and TV room in the kos (or shared house I live in) and there were 3 soldiers occupying the couch watching a war movie. As good guests they had removed their boots outside and

had lined them up at the entrance, which looked a little bit like Nikolaus day in Germany. They stayed here until Sunday to take care of the security. As Indonesias Army is all professionals, they were in it quite some time and told me where they had been deployed and some of them may go to Lebanon.

Each time I come around they look at me and i started to ask them some questions: they seem to be from the Army Commando in Curup and one platoon are here. When I asked them how much one platoon are, the guy had to think a little and then answered 50. For that they seemed to be nice and quiet.

Article from the Jakarta Post:

President opens Koran recital contest

(…) He also called on Muslims in the country to promote Islam as a messenger of peace and justice to the world. “By advancing the values of Islam, hopefully we can build tolerance, solidarity and togetherness among people of the universe,” the President said.


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