Aceh preachers come to Jakarta to ask presidential candidates to RSVP for Quran test

President candidates incumbent President Joko Widodo (2nd R) and Prabowo (2nd L) and vice president candidates Maruf Amin (R) and Sandiaga Uno (L) sing Indonesia’s national anthem before the draw for 2019 presidential election at election commission office in Jakarta, on September 21, 2018. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)
President candidates incumbent President Joko Widodo (2nd R) and Prabowo (2nd L) and vice president candidates Maruf Amin (R) and Sandiaga Uno (L) sing Indonesia’s national anthem before the draw for 2019 presidential election at election commission office in Jakarta, on September 21, 2018. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)

It appears that the Aceh-based Council of Preachers Association (IDA) is quite insistent that Indonesia’s presidential and VP candidates take a Quran reading test in order to prove their knowledge of Islam (and, ironically, put an end to identity politics, somehow).

Following up on last month’s invitation, IDA representatives landed in Jakarta today to directly ask the candidates to RSVP for the Quran test, which they have planned for tomorrow in the province’s capital of Banda Aceh.

The representatives first met with officials from Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto and running mate Sandiaga Uno’s campaign this morning, which had strongly hinted previously that they would turn down the invitation for the Quran test because the public needed to hear candidates talk about “substantial issues” instead.

Unfortunately for the travelers, neither Prabowo nor Sandiaga were able to meet with them today.

“Bapak [Prabowo] was away preparing for a big event tonight. Maybe we will meet about this later. God willing we will get an answer soon,” IDA Chairman TGK Marsyuddin said today, as quoted by Okezone, likely a reference to a major speech Prabowo is scheduled to give tonight that his campaign’s chairman hinted might include an announcement about his withdrawal for the race.

Meanwhile, campaigners for incumbent President Joko Widodo and running mate Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Chairman Ma’ruf Amin said they would welcome the IDA representatives this afternoon, and, in line with previous statements, said they would entertain the possibility of Jokowi and Ma’ruf taking the Quran test.

As things stand, it’s unlikely that the Quran test will go ahead as planned as neither candidate pairs have officially RSVP’d for it one day before its scheduled date.

However, the candidates will have no choice but to attend the first official presidential debate on Jan. 17, which will tackle issues related to law, human rights, corruption and terrorism. After that, there will be four more official debates before Indonesia votes on April 17.

Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!



Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply

BECOME A COCO+ MEMBER

Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on

MOST POPULAR