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Prayers Offered in Silence

Regent of Badung Provides Guidelines on Nyepi Celebrations Including Recommendations for Moslems Praying at Mosques on Day of Silence

(3/2/2012) Muslims living in the Badung regency of south Bali wishing to participate in Friday prayers during Nyepi - Bali’s absolute day of silence on March 23, 2012, are being advised to do so at their nearest mosque and travel on foot.

The first day of the Bali-Hindu New Year, Nyepi,, sees Bali come to a complete standstill for 24-hours, in which the public are generally prohibited from venturing forth onto any public street [See: Silent Days and Silent Nights].

The advice to prayerful Moslems was offered by the regent of Badung, Anak Agung Gede Agung, after a coordinating meeting between local officials, Hindu religious leaders and a forum involved in maintaining religious harmony in Bali.

In suggesting Moslems pray at their nearest mosque, Agung has asked that those attending Friday prayers do not use their cars or motorcycles when traveling between their residences and local mosque.

The Regent also asked that mosques not to use the loudspeakers normally employed to call people to Friday prayers on Nyepi.

The Regent said, “The celebration of Nyepi and on the same sacred day set aside for prayer for Moslems must serve as a momentum to enhance the feelings of fellowship and tolerance between the different faiths.”

At the same time, Agung called on Hindus to refrain from using noisemakers, firecrackers and fireworks in the period leading up to, during and after the celebration of Nyepi.

Addressing the traditional parading of ogoh-ogoh, the papier-mâché floats are carried through Bali’s streets, the Regent reminded Hindu participants to obey the guidelines set out by the Hindu High Council (Parisada Hindu Darma - PHDI) stipulating the themes used in creating the floats should not be political, pornographic or offend religious sensitivities.

Agung added: “The traditional villages, banjars and pecalang (neighborhood civilian enforcement corps) must take a larger role in ensuring the peace during the celebration of Nyepi. I also urge all Hindus to undertake ‘catur berata penyepian’ (for four dogmas of Nyepi) in an atmosphere that is safe, orderly and filled with an atmosphere of peace.”

He also called on law enforcement officials to carry out raids on illegal sellers of alcohol and fireworks prior to the coming Nyepi period.

At the same meeting, Denpasar police officials announced that 1,902 officers from Denpasar and 268 from Badung would be on stand-by over the Nyepi period to ensure public order.