"We shared aspirations and hopes with the Saudi king. This meeting is symbolic and very important": said to Fides Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo, after the Interreligious meeting organized by the Government on the occasion of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s visit to Indonesia. King Salman is visiting Indonesia for 12 days from March 1, with a delegation of 1,500 people, including 10 ministers and 25 princes.
Jesuit Fr. Magnis Suseno, also a participant at the interreligious
meeting, told Fides: "First of all King Salman, with his appreciation
for good relations between religions in Indonesia, showed his support to
President Joko Widodo and to his non-sectarian policies which are based
on social and religious coexistence". Moreover, adds Fr. Suseno, "he
disappointed those who expected that his visit would give a boost to the
most conservative trends of Indonesian Islam".
The Saudi King expressed appreciation to the Indonesian people, example
of unity and interreligious coexistence. As Fides learns, the meeting
with 28 Indonesian religious leaders, representing faiths such as
Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Confucianism, also saw the
participation of a Catholic delegation: Ignatius Suharyo, Archbishop of
Jakarta; Antonius Subianto Bunjamin, Bishop of Bandung; Paskalis Bruno
Syukur, Bishop of Bogor; Jesuit Fr. Magnis Suseno, university lecturer
at Driyakarya university in Jakarta.
President Joko Widodo, organizer of the meeting, said: "All religions
want to protect human rights and the happiness of the people". The
President informed the king that religious leaders represent the
plurality of Indonesia: "Harmony is a landmark of Indonesian society
that lives unity in diversity. Harmony and mutual respect are
Indonesia's contribution to peace in the world".
The king also arrived on the island of Bali, a popular tourist
destination in Indonesia, for a five-day vacation. He landed in Bali,
met the Catholic priest Fr. Evensius Dewantara Boli Daton, head of the
Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Diocese of
Denpasar, who greeted the king in Arabic (having studied at the Dar
Comboni Intitute in Cairo and at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and
Islamic Studies in Rome). Contacted by Fides, Fr. Dewantara Boli Daton
said: "King Salman seems a wise person, because he made gestures of
openness and acceptance, which are very significant in the current
situation of Indonesia, where some forces tend to sectarianism".