Source: Jakarta Post
KUDUS, CENTRAL JAVA, INDONESIA, December 18, 2000: The becak (pedicab) is the main mode of transport in this small town of Kudus, 55 kilometers east of the Central Java capital Semarang. Once at the forefront of the spread of Islam, now the town is home to people of all religions. Kudus Tower and Al Aqsa Mosque, or Kudus Mosque, attract many visitors because of their historical value. Jafar Shodiq, later called Sunan Kudus -- one of the nine Islamic saints that disseminated Islam -- founded Kudus Mosque in 1549. Sunan Kudus was a thinker and tolerant scholar who, in spreading Islam in the once Hindu-dominated area of North Java, did not want to alienate the locals and expressed this in the Hindu architecture used on the tower. Sunan Kudus banned his Muslim followers from slaughtering cows out of respect for the Hindus, who believe the cow is a holy animal, a tradition that continues today.