'Brotherhood tunnel’ to connect mosque and cathedral in Jakarta


President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo (second right), accompanied by ministers including Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono (third right), visiting Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta to supervise the ongoing renovations on Feb 7. - Antara

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN): The Istiqlal Mosque renovation project will include the construction of an underground tunnel to be called the “brotherhood tunnel” that will connect the mosque with the Jakarta Cathedral across the road in Central Jakarta, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has said.

“There was a suggestion to build a tunnel from Istiqlal Mosque to the cathedral, and I have agreed. It will be a tunnel of brotherhood, ” Jokowi said after reviewing the progress of the renovations on Friday (Feb 7), as stated in a media statement released by the State Secretariat.

Located across the road from each other, the relationship between Istiqlal Mosque and the Jakarta Cathedral has been praised by many, as the managements of each house of worship regularly provide parking spaces for each other during religious celebrations including Idul Fitri and Christmas.

The renovation of Istiqlal Mosque began in May last year. The building is an important cultural heritage site and hosts many of the city's religious and social activities.

Jokowi said the renovation would be biggest made to the mosque in 41 years, and would cost Rp475 billion (US$34mil), although he did not specify how much would be spent on the construction of the tunnel.

The renovation, carried out by the Public Works and Housing Ministry, includes improving the building’s interior and exterior in accordance to a master plan.

“There will also be landscaping [around the mosque]. The river that runs through the complex will be improved, as will the park, ” Jokowi said.

Two stories of underground parking will also be built to increase the mosque’s parking capacity from 500 cars and motorcycles to approximately 745 vehicles.

Jokowi expressed hope the renovations would be completed before Ramadan this year.

“We hope it will all be finished in April, ” he said. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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