President Jokowi Receives Courtesy Call from Grand Sheikh Al Azhar

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 9 Juli 2024
Category: News
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President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo receives Grand Sheikh Al Azhar Prof. Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Al-Thayeb, at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Tuesday (07/09). (Photo by: PR of Cabinet Secretariat/Rahmat)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo Tuesday (07/09) received a courtesy call from Grand Sheikh Al Azhar, Prof. Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Al-Thayeb, at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta.

This visit is a part of the Grand Sheikh’s broader tour across Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Thailand.

On that occasion, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi explained that the visit marked the Grand Sheikh’s third time in Indonesia, following earlier visits in 2016 and 2018. She added that the main purpose of these visits is to promote moderate Islam and facilitate interfaith dialogue.

“During the meeting, the President highlighted that the Grand Sheikh’s current visit along with an upcoming visit from the Pope in September, insyaAllah, will convey a powerful message on the significance of peace and tolerance,” the Minister said.

The President also addressed three key topics. First, related to bilateral relations between Indonesia and Egypt, particularly in the field of education. The President underscored that 95 percent of Indonesian citizens (WNI) in Egypt are students.

“The Grand Sheikh conveyed that Indonesian students generally perform satisfactorily, and he has not encountered any complaints from them. He appreciates the positive character of Indonesian students,” Retno said, adding that the President encouraged the establishment of a branch of Markaz Tatweer Al Azhar in Indonesia.

The President further highlighted the importance of peace and tolerance, noting that amidst widespread conflicts, including in Gaza, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize efforts for a permanent ceasefire, ensure humanitarian aid access, and pursue peace urgently.

“The Grand Sheikh strongly aligned with the President’s stance on ending the conflict promptly and achieving peace. Global unity is crucial. He called upon all nations, especially Muslim countries, to actively promote peace in Gaza and foster unity among the Palestinian people,” Retno stressed.

On that occasion, the Head of State underscored the importance of enhancing interfaith dialogue. According to him, Indonesia’s rich diversity and tolerance is deeply ingrained in the nation’s ethos.

“The President elaborated on Pancasila and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, highlighting Indonesia’s ongoing dedication to aligning with Al Azhar’s role and reputation in promoting tolerance and moderation. He also mentioned the crucial importance of collaborative efforts to strengthen the values of tolerance and peace through interfaith dialogue to prevent the spread of extremism and to curb Islamophobia,” the Minister remarked. (BPMI of Presidential Secretariat/AIT) (RIF/LW)

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