lcomed the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Dr. Ahmad Al Tayyeb and members of UAE-based Muslim Council of Elders at Istana Merdeka (presidential palace) on Monday and praised them for their efforts in “spreading Islamic understanding and promoting peaceful co-existence.”
The Council, created in Abu Dhabi in July 2014, is holding its seventh meeting in Jakarta this week to “discuss efforts in confronting terrorism and to get updates from peace envoys who were sent to various countries to promote tolerant Islam.”
Dubai Grand Mufti Dr Ahmed Al Haddad added: “the Council meeting provides an impetus to Indonesian religious authorities and scholars in their crusade to ward off extremist influence.”
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country with 90 per cent of its 250 million people being Muslims, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) reported, quoting Khaleej Times.
President Widodo particularly thanked the Grand Imam for his visit and “his ceaseless” support to Indonesian students who are studying at Al Azhar University in Cairo.
There are currently around 3,500 Indonesian students at Al Azhar. The university has also produced alumni who contributed in the Indonesian struggle for independence from the Dutch and Egypt was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Indonesia in 1945.
Widodo said: “the (Indonesian) graduates who returned home are the best ambassadors of Al Azhar in Indonesia who spread the righteous religion, and enlighten the people on the risks of extremism and terrorism.”
For his part, Al Tayyeb underlined the “big role being taken by the Muslim Council of Elders in laying the foundations of harmony, love and peaceful coexistence among the nations.”
“The Council carries a message of peace to the whole world, by spreading the culture of moderation and combating extremism and terrorism,” Al Tayyeb said.
“Muslim elders and scholars have a key role to play in protecting the youth of the Islamic nation and enlightening them on the risks of falling prey under the claws of terror groups,” he added.
Al Tayyeb also paid tribute to Indonesia on its efforts in “preserving its Islamic identity.”
“Indonesian students who are studying in Al Azhar, the highest seat of learning in the Muslim world, are being taught the right religion according to the righteous moderate approach,” said Al Tayyeb.
The Grand Imam also announced the increase in the number of scholarships to be awarded to Indonesian students in the coming months “as a token of honour to the Indonesian president and the people of Indonesia.”
Meanwhile, Al Tayyeb and MCE members will visit the Islamic University of Indonesia and Al Azhar University of Indonesia and also meet with Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla on Tuesday. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)