An Indonesian city is the first to order its top government officials to wake up at the crack of dawn and visit the local mosque to pray — or else.
Senior bureaucrats in Palembang, which co-hosted the Asian Games in August, are now required to go to a mosque in their community to pray with the local residents or risk losing their job. The government has also warned them that they are in process of creating a smartphone app that can detect who did not attend the morning prayers.
The order is reportedly aimed at helping officials better understand the residents’ concerns — which can include complaints like broken streetlights or water shortage — while the early wakeup call may also enhance productivity, said city spokesman Amiruddin Sandy.
“By praying together at dawn with regular people, we get a chance to hear from them directly,” he said.
Palembang’s new rule is applicable on its 16,000 civil servants, although only the 1,100 higher up staff will have their job on the line if they skip the “fajr,” or dawn prayers.
While the new app that will keep attendance in check is still in the works, the mayor will reportedly do some spot checking to ensure all senior officials are complying with the new order.
“If we find an official disobeying the regulation we won’t immediately sack him. We will summon him first and ask why he didn’t go to the mosque,” Sandy said. “If you’re doing your prayers well then, God willing, everything else will be good.”
About 90 percent of Indonesia’s 260 million people are Muslims, making it the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. Islam requires its followers to make obligatory prayers five times a day starting from daybreak, but most Indonesians prefer to pray at home rather than attend a mosque congregation.
The new edict came after Indonesia’s Islamic province Aceh ruled out that men and women can’t dine in together in restaurants and cafes unless they are married or related.
Banner / Thumbnail : Eko Siswono Toyudho/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images