President Jokowi opens trilateral ulema meeting at Bogor Palace
Agnes Anya and Marguerite Afra Sapiie
The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has opened on Friday the Trilateral Ulema Conference at Bogor Palace, which involves Indonesian, Afghan and Pakistani clerics.
The whole-day event, which is being hosted by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), is themed “Islam as Rahmatan lil Alamin: Peace and Stability in Afghanistan”.
"This meeting is part of Indonesia's commitment to promote the ulemas' role [in creating peace]," said Jokowi during the opening ceremony on Friday morning. "We know our efforts to create peace are never easy, but as people of faith, we must believe in help from God. Hence, we should not lose hope or give up."
He added that the ulemas could better promote peace, as they were model figures that most Muslim adherents followed and listened to, and also possessed the authority "to shape the Muslim image".
In his remarks, the President also emphasized that peace and stability in Afghanistan had been Indonesia’s long-standing goal, so he "strongly condemned" the planned relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"I urge other countries not to follow [the US's] move, which has disrupted the peace process," Jokowi said, adding that Palestine was on "each Indonesian's breath."
Earlier this year, Jokowi met his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghaniand, as well as Pakistani president Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi, in their respective countries to propose that they hold a trilateral ulema conference in Indonesia, to which they agreed.
The ulema representatives from the three countries were expected to discuss their role in sowing the seeds for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Their agenda included the five key issues of peace and friendship under Islam, violent extremism, aitidal (tolerance), the ulema's peace-building role, and the role of the state in the peace effort.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla is slated to close the meeting on Friday evening. (dmr)
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