Dr Usra Harahap, Ambassador of Indonesia to Nigeria and his wife while commissioning a mosque they built for an Islamic School in Abuja on Thursday.
By Lizzy Okoji
Indonesian ambassador to Nigeria Usra Harahap on Thursday inaugurated a mosque he built for the Misbahul’im Islamic School, Kurudu, Abuja, with a call on Nigerians to practice religious tolerance.
According to him, religious tolerance is one ingredient needed for national development.
Harahap said while inaugurating the Mosque in commemoration of his 62nd birthday that his donation of the mosque was part of efforts to strengthen the diplomatic relations between both countries by taking it beyond the high level to the grassroots.
The envoy said that he decided to build a dedicated place for prayers in order to contribute to the teaching of Islamic studies.
He underscored the need for adherents of all religions in the country to live in peacefully with one another for the well-being of the country.
“As you know, we have diplomatic relations from the grassroots to the high levels. I came here for charity after getting information that they are raising this Quranic school here in Nigeria.
“As a Muslim I was very interested to see and bring some charity, to share our happiness here so for the time being it is time for prayers.
“In the Quranic school, they did not have a place for prayers so they asked and as a Muslim I was enthusiastic and motivated to contribute what I have from God, from Allah because Allah has given to me a lot of things.
“So me and my family – especially my wife – we agreed to build the mosque.
“Then I told the management that we will build a mosque and even if it is not so big but for the children to pray together and also the Muslims around here so they will be able to pray for Jumaat because the mosque is far from here,” the envoy said.
On Nigeria- Indonesian relations, Harahap said both countries would continue to enjoy greater ties in education and security.
He said the government of Indonesia had offered scholarships to many Nigerian students “who are doing very well in Indonesia without any form of discrimination.”
He called for stronger cooperation between both countries and information-sharing in the areas of defence and security towards tackling terrorism effectively.
Mr Nazeef Shuaib, Director of the Misbahul’im Quranic School expressed appreciation to the ambassador for building/donating the mosque which he said would serve as a place of learning and prayer.
Shuaib added that the mosque would also serve as a place of learning for students of the Quranic school as well as a place of prayer for commuters.
“The building of the mosque has a lot to do with the school.
“First and foremost, for more than three years we have been managing a place for our five daily prayers so it means it will serve that purpose for five daily prayers.
“Then the school also has a section for the recitation of the Quran. So it means that we are moving these students to this place.
“We have weekly and monthly programmes which actually should be held in the masjid (mosque). Now we have a mosque to serve the purpose,” the director said.
He described the ambassadors ‘gesture as divine.
Present at the inauguration of the mosque was the Nigerian Ambassador to Indonesia, Usman Ogah.
The opening of the mosque is also part of activities to commemorate the 77th Independence celebration of Indonesia by the embassy.
The anniversary comes up on Aug. 17. (NAN) (www.nanews.ng)
(Edited by Edwin Nwachukwu/Emmanuel Yashim)