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Jakarta Post

Cycling couple on a mission to spread peace and tolerance

  • Bagus Saragih
    Bagus Saragih

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 1, 2017   /   08:52 am
Cycling couple on a mission to spread peace and tolerance Hakam Mabruri (fourth left), his wife Rofingatul Islamiah (third left), and Indonesian Ambassador to Egypt Helmy Fauzi (third right), pose with Indonesians residing in Egypt at the Indonesian Embassy in Cairo on Sunday. The coupe spent 304 days on a tandem bicycle from Malang, East Java to Cairo. (Courtesy of Indonesian Embassy in Cairo/file)

Riding on a tandem bicycle, Hakam Mabruri, 35, and his wife Rofingatul Islamiah, 35, entered Egypt on Oct. 17 via its border with Jordan.

They departed their hometown of Malang in East Java on Dec. 17, 2016 and spent the next 304 days traveling all the way to Egypt.

The couple was on a mission: to spread the message about Islam in Indonesia which is moderate and peaceful.

Read also: Jokowi's bike: Where are the lanes?

The two shared their story and experience with Indonesians, who are residing in Egypt, at the Indonesian Embassy in Cairo on Sunday.

“What they have done is very positive because it promotes Indonesia through citizen diplomacy,” said Indonesia’s ambassador to Egypt, Helmy Fauzi.

“The Indonesian Embassy will support them in any way possible during their stay in Egypt,” Helmy said in a statement sent to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Hakam said the biggest challenge they faced during the journey was the language barrier, especially when traveling through small towns where the residents did not speak English.

Hakam Mabruri (center) and his wife Rofingatul Islamiah (left), accompanied by Indonesian Ambassador to Egypt Helmy Fauzi (right), speak to Indonesians residing in Egypt.Hakam Mabruri (center) and his wife Rofingatul Islamiah (left), accompanied by Indonesian Ambassador to Egypt Helmy Fauzi (right), speak to Indonesians residing in Egypt. (Courtesy of Indonesian Embassy in Cairo/file)

He shared one experience where the couple was denied entry into Myanmar because of visa restrictions. They then had to cycle 560 kilometers back to Bangkok to get visas from the Myanmar Embassy.

But Hakam said most of the locals they met had been very welcoming. Often, they received free food and accommodation.