Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has appealed to the country`s Muslims to make the Prophet Muhammad`s birthday a momentum to increase tolerance, togetherness and true understanding of religious teachings.

"I call on the country`s Muslims to be wise in bridging differences. There should be no egoism and high-handed actions. We have to respect the rights of fellow citizens regardless of their faith, religions, race or ethnicity," the president said at a function to observe the Prophet`s birthday at the state palace here on Monday evening.

He said the Indonesian people should be able to show their identity and morality as a respectable nation by way of eliminating differences caused by group egoism.

"Let us ban spiteful envy and slander, instead hand in hand build harmony and unity," he said.

The president said that at present misunderstanding of Islamic teaching by many sides had taken place not only outside the Muslim community but also within the community itself. This could be seen in the behavior and deeds of members of the Muslim community that were against the Prophet Muhammad`s teachings.

This smeared the image of Islam as some generalized their behavior and deeds as being based on Islamic teachings, he said.

"Therefore, on this occasion of celebrating the Prophet`s birthday I call on all the country`s Muslims to free this nation from behavior and deeds which deviate from Islamic teachings," the president said. (*)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
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