Indonesia uses drones to count mosques to 'monitor radicalisation'

Indonesia is using drones to count the number of mosques in the Muslim-majority country in an effort to monitor potential radical hotspots.

Fakhry Affan leads a government team of 1,000, colloquially dubbed “Mosque Hunters’ who use drones to take pictures of these places of worship across Indonesia and its islands, including Sulawesi island.

The team, from the religious affairs ministry have spent years visiting the entirety of the 5,000 kilometre (3,100 mile) long archipelago to count the number of mosques in the world's biggest Muslim majority nation.

Affan's team began the census in 2013 and have so far registered 554,152 mosques, though that number is still only about 75 percent done, Affan says.

"Only God knows exactly how many mosques there are in Indonesia," former vice president Jusuf Kalla said recently.

"Some say around one million and people will take it for granted."

Affan uploads the drone photos, as well as details about the mosques and their building permits onto an online database.

The government is also using the database to keep an eye on radicalism.


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