Pence holds inter-faith dialogue with religious figures at Istiqlal Mosque

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President of the United States Mike Pence held an inter-faith dialogue with several religious figures during his visit to Indonesias biggest mosque Istiqlal in Jakarta on Thursday.

Vice President Pence met several religious figures of Indonesia such as Yenny Wahid, who is the daughter of the late Abdurrahman Wahid, former leader of Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama, and Din Syamsuddin, former chairman of Muhammadiyah in a dialogue session closed for journalist at the mosque.

Indonesia is often lauded as a model of Muslim democracy as around 90 per cent of its 250 million people are Muslim, but it has a secular government, who live harmony with Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities.

However, Indonesia, a country with the largest Muslim population in the world is not listed into into the list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens face a temporary US travel ban.

The US has a particular interest in Indonesia as the Southeast Asian country has suffered from attack of international terrorist network.

Indonesia and the US has been partnering, since the Bali bombing incident in 2002, in countering terrorism.

Earlier this morning, before arriving at the Istiqlal Mosque, US Vice President Pence paid a state visit and welcomed by President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta.

Soon after Widodo welcomed Vice President Pence, the president invited him to the palaces terrace for one of his veranda talks.

The two leaders held a conversation in a relaxed atmosphere for 10-15 minutes.

The US vice president also held a bilateral meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Jusuf Kalla at the Vice Presidential Palace to discuss cooperation in five strategic areas.

The five areas of strategic partnership are intensifying cooperation in the fields of economy and investment; maritime; counterterrorism; mutual understanding in the context of religious tolerance and moderate Islamic values; and the sustainability of US engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in Southeast Asia.(*)