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ICC Note:

In Jakarta, Indonesia, Bali United showed their unity with different faiths represented on their team. At the end of one of their games, three of the players celebrated by praying together. The Muslim, Christian, and Hindu showed that they can still work together regardless of their faith. This unity gives hope for Indonesia as religious tensions are high as Jakarta’s Christian governor was recently jailed for false blasphemy charges.

06/15/2017 Indonesia (SBS) – The photograph of Nanak, a Hindu, Muslim winger Miftahul Hamdi and Christian striker Yabes Roni praying alongside each other during their side’s 3-1 home win against Perseru Serui this month went viral on social media.

“We did not plan it, but fortunately it turned into a positive message,” Nanak said. “So I hope it will have a good impact on everybody.”

The 28-year-old said he had joined in with a traditional Hindu prayer gesture after he saw his team mates praying.

“I never expected it to go viral. Because… we just wanted to show our gratitude to God, because we won that match,” added Nanak, who joined Bali United this season.

Bali is a predominantly Hindu enclave in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population and is also home to sizeable communities of Christians, Buddhists, and people who adhere to traditional beliefs.

Religious tensions have spiked in Indonesia in recent months after Jakarta’s Christian governor was jailed for blasphemy after mass Islamist-led rallies.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama denied he had insulted the Koran and critics of his trial said it was politically motivated.

Nanak said his team mates respected each others’ faiths and that helped in their game.


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