Hajj and Umrah have been paramount in deepening relations between Saudi Arabia and IndonesiaJakarta (ANTARA) - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's call on promoting moderate Islam received an immediate, warm welcome from Indonesia, according to Indonesian Consul General in Jeddah Dr Mohamad Hery Saripudin.
As a guest of honor at the Arab News annual ifthar held at Assila Hotel in Jeddah on Sunday, Saripudin remarked that the crown prince’s vision of moderate Islam is in accordance with Indonesia’s concept of Islam Wasatiyyah.
"We believe in Islam Wasatiyyah (moderate Islam) in following moderation in the practice of the Islamic faith to fight the spread of extremism," Saripudin emphasized.
He noted that Indonesia had close relations with Saudi Arabia.
"Indonesia annually sends the largest number of Muslims on Hajj. This year, 231 thousand Indonesians will perform Hajj. Last year, Indonesia came second after Pakistan, for the number of Umrah pilgrims it sent, with the figure reaching some 1.2 million," he stated.
Saripudin pointed out that some 100 thousand Indonesians visit Jeddah, Makkah, and Madinah on a monthly basis. In the meantime, a total of 221 thousand Umrah pilgrims had performed Hajj last year.
"Hajj and Umrah have been paramount in deepening relations between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia," he remarked.
The principle of people-to-people relations is a crucial foundation of a sound relationship, Saripudin noted.
"Indonesian pilgrims have played a vital role in intensifying relations. They spent nearly 70 days to interact with the local people. This enhances the relations between both nations,” he emphasized.
He pointed out that Indonesians generally purchased souvenirs from Saudi Arabia during Hajj and Umrah for their families and relatives in Indonesia.
Saripudin stated that bilateral relations between both nations were deeply rooted in history.
"Long before King Salman's historic visit to Jakarta in March 2017, Saudi Arabia was among the first nations in the world to have recognized Indonesia's independence," Saripudin noted.
"We welcome the Shoura Council's clearance of the green card (residency) system. We received several queries from our businesspersons and Indonesian expatriates regarding the new incentives being offered by Saudi Arabia that will boost business. The new green card system is a major milestone in improving relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia," he stated.
The vast number of Indonesian citizens and those of Indonesian descent in the Kingdom have acclimatized optimally to the Saudi culture, thus serving as a potent bridge in deepening the bilateral relations, he stated.
"We invite Arab News to help us trace the footprints of the Saudi-Indonesian diaspora in both nations," Saripudin remarked.
He believes that media constitute a critical component in enhancing relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.