Indonesian VP calls for unity in overcoming differences within Islam

Indonesian VP calls for unity in overcoming differences within Islam

There must be mutual respect between leaders and their people in order to fight radicalism, says Mr Jusuf Kalla at a conference of Islamic leaders in Jakarta.

JAKARTA: Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has called for unity in overcoming the differences within Islam in order to achieve a moderate Islamic world globally.

He was speaking on Monday (May 9) at a conference of Islamic leaders in Jakarta, which is being attended by participants from more than 30 countries.

Making a call for ways to promote moderate Islam, Mr Kalla emphasised the need to correct the misinterpretation of jihad or holy war, which he said many radical youths see as a "shortcut" to heaven.

Mr Kalla also said terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State were a result of failed states and he stressed that there must be mutual respect between leaders and their people to foster unity to fight radicalism.

The event is the third conference organised by Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation.

It is part of a campaign the organisation began last year called "Islam Nusantara" or "Islam of the Archipelago", which aims to promote a tolerant Islam not only in Indonesia but in other countries as well.

Other than dialogue between Islamic scholars, Nahdlatul Ulama is also looking to work with the Indonesian Foreign Ministry to push for a programme on what it is calling "cultural diplomacy" to tackle the root causes of extremism.

"Radicalism and terrorism originate from a grassroots level through people who experience problems, whether in their faith or ... with welfare and equality," said Imam Aziz, head of the organising committee of the International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders, Nahdlatul Ulama. "The cultural diplomacy efforts actually will focus on how to strengthen the civil society."

Details of the programme will be discussed further after the conference. Nahdlatul Ulama is hoping to implement it in other countries through the Indonesian embassies around the world.

The event will wrap up on Tuesday, with summit participants expected to finalise a Jakarta Declaration. The declaration will call for an internal coalition to prevent conflict carried out in the name of religion. The Indonesian government will help initiate this effort.

Source: CNA/hs

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