Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas urged Indonesian santris, or students of Islamic boarding schools, and diaspora in South Korea to preserve the positive image of Indonesia while mingling with members of their communities.

"Do not embarrass Indonesia. We need to preserve the name and image of Indonesia in front of the world," Qoumas noted, as per the statement here on Monday.

The minister's remarks were made while attending the Santri Day commemoration organized by Indonesian major Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama's South Korea special branch executives, with attendees comprising Indonesian santris and diaspora residing in South Korea.

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do" proverb is a reminder for the Indonesian diaspora abroad to respect local customs and preserve the image of the nation, according to Qoumas.

Qoumas also highlighted the need to be vigilant against splinter groups seeking to capitalize on religious values for political purposes to vilify Indonesia and undermine the legitimate government.

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"Be vigilant against any groups seeking to undermine Indonesia's positive image. I lament that some religious groups are still promoting a Sharia Indonesia, advocating for a caliphate, and other things," the minister stated.

Indonesia's national foundation is final, and the Indonesian nation is founded with diversity as its basis, which means Indonesia recognizes that it has various ethnic groups, religious faiths, and customs.

He also urged Indonesians in South Korea to not adhere to and accept any narratives from splinter groups advocating religious regimes over Indonesia.

"I always remind everyone that Indonesia will not exist if there are Javanese, Sundanese, Batak, Minang, Aceh, and other people (from various ethnic groups). There is no Indonesia without Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddha, Hinduism, and Confucian faiths. Indonesia exists because of its differences, and our differences instead strengthen us," Qoumas affirmed.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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