Two-hundred and one Muslims currently in the Alor Mosque in Dili’s Kampong Alor suburb stated their intentions yesterday to be Timor Lorosae citizens.
Arham, the spokesperson for residents in Alor Mosque brought up this issue at an open dialogue with former CNRT President Xanana Gusmao at the Public Hall in Kampong Alor.
“We have stated our intentions earlier that we wanted to be citizens here. During the time of Interfet, Pak Xanana had been here to visit us and we stated our intentions to him then. We had 201 people in the mosque who wanted to treat Timor Lorosae as their new country,” he said.
The spokesperson said there had been many incidents lately which attempted to discredit the mosque residents.
“We have been accused of sheltering provocateurs, militias and Indonesian soldiers in the mosque. But I stress there were none of these people on our premises. Those that are staying in the mosque are ordinary people,” stressed Arham.
Arham said that in order to be good citizens
of Timor Lorosae, the Muslim residents would have to adhere to all laws
in the country.
“If we break the laws, we are willing to be tried by the legal system here,” he said.
Muslims in the Alor Mosque in Dili’s Kampong Alor suburb want prayer times to be aired on Radio UNTAET because of the recent time change in the country. This request was made to former CNRT President Xanana Gusmao and UN Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Mauklau Muhammad Salleh, an Alor Mosque resident, said previously they had been following Indonesian time. But when Timor Lorosae’s time was brought forward by two hours from Indonesian time, they started experiencing difficulties.
“The problem is with dawn and dusk prayer times,” said Muhammad Salleh.
“We especially have problems with dusk, because we seem to start prayers before the sun has set,” he said.
“We urge Radio UNTAET to air Muslim prayer times in accordance with the regulation to respect minority religions,” he said.
“Even if all the prayer times [five times a day] cannot be aired, we would, however, appreciate the airing of only the dusk prayer time,” he added.