The Saudi king wants to meet not only Islamic figures but also interfaith leaders."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Visiting Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud will meet a number of interfaith leaders in Jakarta on Friday, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said.

"(The Saudi King) will meet interfaith leaders after Friday prayers. The meeting will be held the State Palace or at Raffles Hotel," the minister said at the State Palace on Thursday evening.

Raffles Hotel is where King Salman stays in Jakarta. King Salman is on a state visit in Indonesia from March 1 to March 3. He will leave for a vacation to Bali on March 4 and stay in the Indonesian tourist resort island of Bali until March 9.

He is travelling to Indonesia with a delegation of 1,500 people, including 14 ministers and 25 princes. Apart from Raffles Hotel, the Saudi kings party members also stay at JW Mariot and Ritz Calton.

"The President will remain to be the host who invited him. The Saudi king wants to meet not only Islamic figures but also interfaith leaders," Minister Lukman said.

On Thursday, King Salman met with a number of Islamic leaders but only three of them made statements, namely Chairman of the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) Maruf Amin, Muhammadiyah Chairman Yunahar Ilyas and Muslim Cleric Habib Luthfi from Pekalongan.

"I think it (the meeting) is very important. We hope relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia in the future will become closer," Maruf Amin said in the Presidential Palace compounds.

Maruf said the Saudi kings visit to Indonesia is monumental because he plays a role as a custodian of two Holy Mosques -- Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

He expressed the hope that Saudi Arabia will increase their investment in Indonesia as the worlds predominantly Muslim country.

"We only hope that he will pay greater attention to Indonesia and I think Saudi Arabia highly needs Indonesia which has neutral foreign policy," he said.

He likened the close relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia to relations between two brothers. The two countries established relations long before Indonesia proclaimed its independence.

Several Indonesians once became the imam of Al-Masjid al-Haram and studied in Mecca, including Syaikh Muhammad Nawawi Al-Jawi Al-Bantani, Achmad Khotib Al-Syambasi, and Syaikh Ahmad Khatib Al-Minangkabawi.

As many as 36 Indonesian Islamic figures met King Salman at the Merdeka Palace, including chairman of Muhammadiyah Islamic organization KH Haedar Nasir, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Islamic organization KH Said Aqil Siradj, chief of MUIs advisory council KH Din Syamsuddin, leader of Gontor Islamic boarding house Hasan Abdullah Sahal, leader of Walisongo Islamic boarding house KH Kholil Asad, and Islamic teachers Arifin Ilham and Yusuf Mansur.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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