By OnIslam & News Agencies
CENTRAL JAVA – Dozens of Muslim students in Central Java’s Magelang have participated in cleaning the world’s largest Buddhist temple that had been distorted with volcanic ash earlier this month.
“Around 50 students from our boarding school spent their Friday holiday to clean Borobodur Temple of the Keluds ash together with other volunteers,” Muhammad Dimyadi, a teacher from the boarding school, told Republika Online on Saturday, February 22.
Muslim students from the Mistakhurrohman Islamic boarding school have joined hands with hundreds volunteers who came to clean Borobudur Temple.
Students’ effort was part of a voluntary campaign to remove the volcanic ash caused by the eruption of Mount Kelud on February 13, promoting authorities to close the temple and ban visits until ending cleanup.
The cleanup work started from 8 am to 3 pm last Friday including a break for Friday’s prayer.
“At noon, we took a break to hold the Friday prayer in a mosque located in front of the Borobudur temple tourism parks gate,” Dimyadi said.
The cleanup campaign, which started last week, has drawn hundreds of devoted Indonesians of all faiths.
About 700 Buddhists, including monks coming from several cities in Central Java, have also participated in the cleaning activity.
“We have been working here to clean the Borobudur temple from Keluds ash since the past five days,” Buddhist monk Uttamacitto from Sangha Agung Indonesia, Ampel temple located in Boyolali district, stated.
“We are from, among other things, Boyolali, Temanggung, Banjarnegara, Wonogiri, Wonosobo, and Ambarawa, Semarang district.”
Located on about 1.5 km, Borobudur Temple is Indonesia’s largest and oldest Buddhist temple that was erected during the Syailendra dynasty in the eighth century.
Muslim students help was appreciated by the city’s Buddhist monks.
Muslims’ support for the Buddhist community in Magelang was not the first.
In 2010 students of Islamic boarding school have also helped in cleaning up the Temple from the ash after the eruption of Mount Merapi.
“We would like to express our gratitude to all volunteers who are not only from Central Java, but also from Surabaya (East Java) and even South Korea who happened to be participating in the International Cultural Camp,” Pangga Ardiansya, the coordinator of the Borobudur Conservation Offices Public Services, told Antara News on Sunday, February 23.
According to the temple officials, the cleanup work has vanished about 80% of the ash, and it is expected to fully open for visitors by the next week.
“The cleaning up has reached 80 percent, so volunteers are expected to stop working on Tuesday (Feb 25) probably,” Ardiansya said.
As the cleanup continues, from five to ten thousand tourists had visited the temple over the week end, along with 3,000 visitors during working days.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim state with Muslims making up around 85 percent of its 237-million population.
Christians, both Protestants and Catholics, make up nearly 12 percent of the country’s population.