Yerica Lai, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan inaugurated on Monday the Sheikh Zayed Solo Grand Mosque in the former's hometown of Surakarta, Central Java.
A live-streamed video published by the Presidential Secretariat showed that both leaders arrived at Adi Soemarmo International Airport on Monday morning and went straight to the mosque, which was a gift from the UAE leader.
Hundreds of people were seen flocking to streets nearby the mosque to witness the inauguration, which further marks the close friendship between the two leaders.
Designed to be a replica of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi – the largest one in the country, Surakarta's new mosque, painted in white with gilt ornamentation, has four minarets and one main dome. The 8,000 square meter mosque is located at Jalan A Yani No 128, Gilingan, Banjarsari.
Both leaders signed an inscription stone for the inauguration of the mosque after performing prayers of respect for the place of worship, known as tahiyatul masjid.
Both leaders continued the ceremony with the planting of a Sala tree in the courtyard of the mosque.
Also present at the event were Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, State Secretary Pratikno, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming.
Gibran, who is also the oldest son of Jokowi, said on his Twitter account that the mosque "could accommodate around 10,000 worshipers and would become a center for Islamic teachings that are rahmatan lil 'aalamin [blessings for the world] in the city of Solo," referring to the old name for Surakarta.
The mosque, the construction of which began in 2021 with a budget around Rp 300 billion (US$19.3 million), is open to the public and has a parking area that can accommodate 28 buses, Deputy Surakarta Mayor Teguh Prakosa told local media in October.
Following the inauguration, Jokowi hosted the UAE president for breakfast at his private residence in Sumber village, accompanied by all his sons Gibran, Medan Mayor Bobby Nasution and Kaesang Pangarep.
According to the official website of the Surakarta administration, the building consists of a mosque, VIP room, a 20 sq. m library and a basement designed for ablutions.