The Jakarta Post
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud expressed his appreciation for Indonesian people who demonstrated inter-religious unity, hoping all citizens would uphold the value of tolerance in society.
“We should be able to go hand-in-hand with Indonesians and strengthen inter-religious communications between us,” King Salman said on Friday during an interfaith dialogue that had been initiated by the government.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had arranged a meeting between King Salman and Indonesian interfaith figures in Jakarta to discuss socio-religious issues.
Twenty-eight interfaith figures representing various religions, such as Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and Confucianism, attended the historic meeting.
Each representative had a chance to share aspirations and hopes with the king and most of them were hoping that the head of state of Saudi Arabia could play a significant role in fostering harmony among the religious communities in Indonesia.
“All religions attempt to protect human rights and the happiness of the people. So, it is important to fight against radicalism and extremism,” Jokowi said before opening the dialogue.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (center) along with Saudi Arabia's King Salman (right) leads a dialogue with interfaith figures in Jakarta on March 3 to talk about socio-religious issues.(State Palace/Leily Rachev)
Previously, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Syaifuddin said the meeting aimed to send a message of peace to the world that religions should not be used as a tool to achieve political goals that could lead to extremism, radicalism and terrorism.
“This is something that we are now preparing. We will make use of King Salman’s state visit to hold an interfaith dialogue to build a shared understanding on how to fight extremism,” Lukman said.
King Salman met the religious leaders of various faiths during his 12-day visit of Indonesia, the longest leg of his month-long tour of Asia.
The visit by the Saudi king after 47 years could herald a new start in relations between the two countries, one as the host and custodian of Islamic holy sites, and the other as the country with the largest Muslim population. (dan)
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