Jakarta – Demak regent H.M. Natsir started the new year by issuing a letter prohibiting social visits during maghrib (sunset prayer) and isya (evening prayer) in the Central Javan regency.
Signed on Jan. 2, the letter was sent to the local offices of the Indonesian Military, the National Police, mass organizations, religious figures, civil servants and state-owned enterprise employees around the regency.
The letter said it was a follow-up to a previous one that had called on residents to turn off their televisions during maghrib (sunset prayer) so that they could focus on their prayers. The latest letter added that visits, weddings, funerals and other activities were now prohibited during the hours.
The changes were met with resistance from other institutions. Demak Legislative Council Deputy Speaker Nur Wahid said that the prohibition would hinder silaturahmi (social bonds) in the community.
"Speaking from a religious perspective, such action is not good because Islam tells people to maintain as many silaturahmi as possible," he said as quoted by kompas.com.
Nur said the regional administration should instead create more programs to interact with the public if they wanted to increase people's awareness of their programs.
"It would be better if the administration provided more facilities for religious studies instead of pressuring the public with such a policy," Nur said. (dpk)