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Jakarta Post

Jokowi discusses Islam and democracy at UK parliament

  • Ayomi Amindoni
    Ayomi Amindoni

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 21, 2016   /  09:39 am
Jokowi discusses Islam and democracy at UK parliament Promoting peace and harmony – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo discusses moderate Islam and democracy during his visit to the UK on Tuesday, local time. (Courtesy of the Presidential Office/-)

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has said that during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s working visit to Germany and the UK, Europe expressed its hope that Indonesia would expand its role and contribution in the global fight against extremism, radicalism and terrorism.

"Indonesia is considered by others a success for having maintained democracy, tolerance and pluralism in a predominantly Muslim society,” Retno said in London on Wednesday morning, local time.

The minister further said that despite its diversity, political stability could emerge in Indonesia and the country’s economy even grow above the world average.

“It is a living laboratory seen by other countries. They consider this diversity an invaluable asset for Indonesia,” she said.

Retno said Jokowi had reiterated his country’s commitment to counterterrorism and counterextremism.

“Indonesia is always ready to contribute to global peace and stability. We want to strengthen our role in the eradication of extremism, radicalism and terrorism,” Retno said.

Earlier, Jokowi said Indonesia was committed to upholding the universal values of humanity, pluralism and tolerance and to promoting democracy and human rights.

Jokowi said that by population, Indonesia was the most populous Muslim nation in the world, with more than 200 million Muslims living in the country.

“It is a country where Islam and democracy can go hand in hand,” Jokowi said during his speech at the UK parliament on Tuesday, local time.

"We are proud that Islam in Indonesia has an important role in consolidating democracy, and acting as a guardian of pluralism and tolerance. It also calls for moderation in society and is against radicalism, all forms of terrorism, extremism and violence. It can be an inspiration to the world,” the President said.

Jokowi further said since the reforms of 1998, Indonesia had become the third largest democracy in the world.

All citizens, regardless of their racial background, gender and religion, were equal before the law and had equal rights and obligations, he went on to say.

The President also explained that Indonesia's military was no longer involved in politics.

"Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion are all guaranteed by the Constitution. Every citizen has the right to be President," he added.

Just as in other countries, Jokowi said Islam in Indonesia and democracy still faced various challenges, such as intolerance, radicalism and violent extremism, as well as acts of terrorism, perpetrated in the name of religion.

“Some of our citizens have joined with terror movements abroad, even though the number is very small compared to 252 million people living in Indonesia,” Jokowi said.

To face these challenges, he said, Indonesia was in the process of revising its anti-terror laws and improving the capability of its intelligence authorities. At the same time, Indonesia also promoted the use of soft power, including religious and cultural approaches, to countering terrorism and extremism. (ebf)

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