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Accommodation and harmony possible

Feb 26,2014 - Last updated at Feb 26,2014

During His Majesty King Abdullah’s official visit to Indonesia, the second and final stop on his trip to Southeast Asia, where he held talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other high officials, a wide range of issues were on the agenda.

The King was accompanied by a large delegation, reflecting the importance attached to the relations with this archipelago country made up of 17,508 islands populated by over 240 million, of which about 87 per cent are Muslims.

The country’s population comprises some 300 distinct ethnic groups that speak some 740 languages and dialects.

This ethnic, religious and language diversity made, so appropriately, the country’s motto: “Unity in diversity!”

Indonesia, then, can offer many lessons in how to maintain national unity and promote harmony even in the presence of an array of religions, ethnicities and languages.

In 2010, the country established the Sunni-Shiite Council to promote harmony and understanding between this two primary Muslim sects in the country.

Such inter-ethnic and interfaith dialogue needs to be carefully studied and lessons drawn from the successes registered, particularly at a time our region is witnessing more and more conflicts along ethnic lines.

No less important is the size of the economy of Indonesia, which is the world’s 16th and which makes the country a key member of the G-20 major economies of the world.

The King’s talks in Jakarta covered, among others, the flashpoints in the Middle East, on top of which are the Palestinian and Syrian conflicts.

Economic cooperation also figured high in the talks during which it was decided to increase the volume of trade between the two countries and encourage Indonesian investment in the Kingdom.

Jordan has long promoted interfaith dialogue and issued the “Amman Message” to promote a better understanding of the true teachings of Islam, which preaches tolerance and religious harmony among all faiths, and peace.

As such, the two countries can share and compare experience in their shared efforts to promote religious harmony among faiths and sects of Islam.

In this connection, the King delivered a historic speech in the Indonesian capital on the importance of interfaith dialogue and the role of Islam in promoting such dialogue.

The King also warned about the increase in sectarian, ethnic and racial conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, conflicts that do not benefit but the very few with selfish agendas.

Efforts to promote harmony and understanding among various religions, racial and ethnic groups must be pursued more vigorously, said the Monarch.

Indonesia and Jordan can certainly pool their resources in this endeavour, having already contributed a great deal to this noble purpose.

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