Former first lady, Sinta Nuriyah, widow of former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, said that her tradition of having pre-dawn meals (sahur) and breaking the fast (buka) with marginalised communities began when she was first lady around 15 years ago.
"I'm very happy that I can see the complete face of Indonesia here, on a riverbank in Semarang," Sinta Nuriyah said, when she attended a pre-dawn meal event with poor people and local residents in Kebon Dalem, a Pecinan (Chinatown) in Semarang, Central Java, early on Monday.
The event, which was held on the bank of Kali Semarang (Semarang River), was hosted by the Kebon Dalem Catholic Parish Church congregation led by Catholic priest Budi Purnomo.
Several art performances, such as a Sufi Dance presented by the Al-Ishlah Islamic boarding school led by Kyai Budi Harjono, entertained attendees of the event. The Assalam Rebana (traditional tambourines) group and a Chinese musical group, Boen Hian Tong Musik Lam Kwan, also performed, highlighting the beauty of Indonesia's rainbow-like cultural diversity.
Not only Muslims, but followers of other religions, such as Hindu, Buddha, Confucianism, Christian Protestant and Catholic, also participated in the pre-dawn meal event with Sinta Nuriyah.
"I'm certain that the spirit of Indonesia's unity which stretches across different faiths, ethnicities, and social economic backgrounds will continue. There must be someone who will pass the spirit across generations," said Sinta Nuriyah.
"Gus Dur's children, who are also my children, are young people who will pass on Gus Dur's anti-marginalisation spirit. Indonesia is a garden of flowers. There are roses, jasmines, orchids, and Sita-ashok. All of those flowers are beautiful. No one can force the roses to become jasmines or the orchids to become Sita-ashok," she said.