Jakarta – Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said that the number of mosques in Indonesia has increased significantly in recent years, but the exact number of remains a mystery.
"Only God knows the number of mosques in Indonesia. If someone says 1 million, I'm sure everyone will believe it," he said at the opening of the national coordination meeting (Rakornas) of the Nahdlatul Ulama's women's chapter, Muslimat, in Jakarta on Sunday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
"I always say there are 800,000 [mosques] but 1 million is also possible. This is an extraordinary development."
Kalla, who is also the chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council, said that with 800,000 mosques, there was one mosque for every 225 Muslims, including babies. He said mosques were located everywhere, including in offices, schools and shopping malls.
"Now, malls are only popular if there is a big mosque above it, allowing people to perform Friday prayers or Maghrib prayers there," he said. "We are thankful that Indonesia has experienced such as good change."
Kalla previously asked the Religious Affairs Ministry to make a comprehensive count of the number of mosques in the country. The ministry's Mosque Information System website, simas.kemenag.go.id, currently has only around 240,000 mosques listed on its registry. (kmt)