King Salman radiates religious tolerance

King Salman radiates religious tolerance

The airplane of Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud approaching Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali, Saturday (March 4). King Salman visits Bali for five days along with 1,500 delegations. (ANTARA FOTO/Nyoman Budhiana/foc/17)

A proof that Islam he represents is not against other religions
Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) - The people of the Hindu predominated Bali warmly welcome Saudi King Salman bin Abdulazis al Saud, now visiting the countrys tourist island.

The Balinese see the Guardian of two Islamic holy cities Mecca and Medina both as a state and religious leader.

Aro Wibisono, a senior high school student in Bali said he was pleased with the visit of the King with his big entourage including princes and ministers as well as business leaders.

Aro said Balinese were surprised by the Kings visits as he said no such great Islamic leader has ever visited Bali before.

Meanwhile, Agus Susanto, a member of Islamic community of Ibnu Batutah Mosque in Nusa Dua said the visit of King Salman showed his great tolerance.

"The guardian of two Islamic holy cities visiting a place of Hindu people is a proof that Islam he represents is not against other religions," Agus said.

Mosque Ibnu Batutah located in Puja Mandala, Bali. (ANTARA News/Yashinta Difa)

On the other hand the warm welcome given by the Balinese to the King and his entourage is also a reflection of tolerance of Hindu to non Hindu religions, he said.

Earlier when the aircraft that brought King Salman to Bali arrived at the Ngurah Rai airport , six religious leaders were among the group welcoming him as he came out of the aircraft.

One of the religious leaders, Preacher Evensius Dewantoro of the Catholic Church of Maria Bunda Segala Bangsa, surprised the King when he spoke to him in Arabic.

"Ahlan wa sahlan ya malik" the preacher said and the King smiled looking pleased and touched the robe of the preacher.

All who were allowed to come close to the king and speak to him were impressed by his warm personality.

The King readily receives, embraces and communicates with anyone regardless of their religions, Preacher Evensius Dewantoro said.

"King Salman has brought with him the face of true Islam as a peaceful religion," he said.

The King even had a brief dialog with the religious leaders.

"He asked me if I was a Catholic," the preacher said, adding he was pleased with the opportunity to meet the King and shake hand with him.

The visit of King Salman to Bali, which is dominated by Hindu people showed his high tolerance accepting difference in religious faith, he said.

The King has come with a clear message that diversity is fact that has to be accepted, a benefit if properly utilized.

Before flying to Bali, King Salman also had a dialog with religious leaders of different faiths on the sidelines of his state visit in Jakarta.

50 girls training Pendet Dance to welcome King Salman's visit in Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali. (ANTARA Foto/Wira Suryantala)

Symbol of tolerance in Bali

Religious tolerance is reflected in the complex of houses of worship in Puja Mandala , Nusa Dua, Bali.

Puja Mandala occupies a land plot of three hectares with five houses of worship of five different religions - Mosque Ibnu Batutah, Catholic Church Maria Bunda Segala Bangsa, Vihara Buddha Guna, Protestant Church of GKPB Jemaat Bukit Doa, and Temple of Jagat Natha.

A local people Lilis Dewanto said he hoped that the King would visit Puja Mandala to see the symbol of tolerance. Lilis, a Catholic, said the visit of King Salman to Bali would strengthen tolerance in the country including Bali.

The Puja Mandala complex was built in the 1990s. It is always crowded with worshipers from the five different religious faiths.

Mosque Ibnu Batutah has a capacity to accommodate up to 5,000 Islamic worshipers and it was always full during Friday prayers.

The Catholic Church Maria Bunda Segala Bangsa in Puja Mandala, Bali. (ANTARA News/Yashinta Difa)

The Catholic Church Maria Bunda Segala Bangsa has a capacity of 3,100 people.

Tolerance is reflected in Puja Mandala when the different religions hold ritual on the same day. The religious leaders coordinate with each other to arrange the time otherwise the worshipers would face problem in limited space of the parking place.

Catholics High Mass could be delayed until Islamic Friday prayers at the Mosque Ibnu Batutah, Dewanto cited.

After the Friday prayer is over the Muslims would hurry to leave the place to allow the Catholics to prepare for the High Mass ritual.

Puja Mandala has never seen incident of intolerance or disapproval despite in the limited space.

Muslims, Catholics, Hindus , Protestants and Buddhists respect each other and appreciate each other religious faith.

The Saudi King and his princes are on a vacation in Bali from March 4 to 9, after paying a state visit in Jakarta from March 1 to 3.