President Jokowi Receives a Visit from Grand Sheikh Al Azhar in Jakarta

President Jokowi welcomes the visit of the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, Prof. Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Al-Thayeb, at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Tuesday (09/07/2024). (Photo: Regency Secretariat Public Relations/Rahmat)

Jakarta, MINA – Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) welcomed a visit from Grand Sheikh Al Azhar, Prof. Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Al-Thayeb, at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta on Tuesday.

Following the meeting with President Jokowi, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi explained that this was the third visit by the Grand Sheikh to Indonesia, following previous visits in 2016 and 2018, aimed at promoting moderate Islam and interfaith dialogue.

“During the meeting, President Jokowi conveyed that the visit of the Grand Sheikh, along with the upcoming visit of the Pope in September, will deliver a strong message on the importance of peace and tolerance,” said Minister Retno.

President Joko Widodo discussed three important matters with the Grand Sheikh: firstly, regarding the relationship between Indonesia and Egypt, particularly in the field of education. The President emphasized that 95 percent of Indonesian citizens in Egypt are students.

“Grand Sheikh mentioned that Indonesian students are generally well-behaved and he has never received complaints about them, indicating their good character,” added Retno, noting that President Jokowi also supported the establishment of an Indonesian branch of Markaz Tatweer Al Azhar.

The second issue addressed by President Jokowi was the importance of peace and tolerance. He highlighted ongoing conflicts such as in Gaza, stressing the need for ceasefires, humanitarian aid access, and immediate peace efforts.

“In response, the Grand Sheikh strongly agreed with President’s view that wars must end efficiently and peace must be realized. Therefore, global unity is necessary; all countries should promote peace in Gaza and for the Palestinian people, including unity among Muslim nations,” she explained.

Thirdly, President Jokowi emphasized the importance of strengthening interfaith dialogue, describing Indonesia as a nation of diversity where tolerance is ingrained.

“President explained about Pancasila (the state ideology), Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity), and how Indonesia follows Al Azhar’s role and reputation in promoting tolerance and moderation. He stressed the importance of joint efforts to enhance tolerance and peace through interfaith dialogue to prevent the growth of extremism and Islamophobia,” elaborated Minister Retno. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)