"The Indonesian stability is the fruit of the tolerant spirit and peaceful co-existence among all layers of the Indonesian population. We should be able to cooperate to maintain communication by holding dialogues among adherents of different faiths to strengthen tolerance values," King Salman said at a meeting with 28 figures of different faiths at the Raffles Hotel here.
President Joko Widodo, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and representatives of Islam, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucians also attended the meeting.
"All religions try to protect the rights and happiness of human beings and therefore, it is important to fight against radicalism and extremism," the Saudi King said.
President Widodo introduced figures of different faiths to King Salman.
"His Majesty, the leaders of different faiths are models for their congregation in developing the spirit of tolerance and mutual respect, which is an essential thing in the relations among adherents of different faiths in Indonesia. This is a valuable asset for the Indonesian nation in contributing to peace, particularly global peace," the President said.
The Chairman of the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) Mgr Ignatius Suharyo expressed gratitude towards the Indonesian government for initiating the interfaith dialog.
Buddhist leader Suhadi Sanjaya said he hoped that King Salman would take an active part in creating peace and happiness for all mankind.
Uung Sendana representing the Confucian community said he hoped that a similar meeting would be held in the future. "The initiative to hold such a meeting came from His Majesty and received support from the Indonesian government. It really touches the heart of all of us. It inspires all people, so not only Saudi Arabia-Indonesia relations, but inter-religious relations will also become closer," he said.
Former Rector of the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN), Azyumardi Azra, hailed King Salmans call to fight against radicalism and extremism.
The Saudi king arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday for a nine-day visit. While in Indonesia, he will also visit Bali.
He has come to Indonesia with a 1,500-strong delegation, including 10 ministers and 25 princes.(*)