President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called for unity among Muslims across the globe in his speech at the Arab Islamic American Summit on Sunday (21/05), according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Jokowi attended the summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, along with more than 50 leaders of Muslim nations to discuss increased cooperation to fight global terrorism and growing religious extremism.
“Unity among Muslims is key to successfully combat terrorism; let’s not waste our energy on being enemies,” Jokowi said, as quoted in the press release.
He added that terrorist financing must also be stamped out if the spread of extremist ideologies is to be halted.
“I wish that each and everyone of us will be bold enough to become part of the solution and not part of the problem in the efforts to eradicate terrorism. We must all take part in achieving world peace,” Jokowi said.
The president highlighted the importance of using both “hard” and “soft” power approaches to combat terrorism, insisting that nations cannot rely on the use of military might alone.
Jokowi shared with Muslim leaders his approach of integrating a soft power approach in the country’s deradicalization program by successfully involving religious leaders, family members and civil society institutions to combat extremism.
“In Indonesia, we have two large Islamic organizations – Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama – that are dedicated to spreading tolerant and peaceful Islam across the archipelago,” Jokowi said, calling on other leaders to enact similar approaches.
Speaking to Muslim leaders and US President Donald Trump, who also attended Sunday’s summit, Jokowi said the meeting was an important step in neutralizing the widespread perception that the United States sees Islam as a fundamental enemy to the American way of life.
Jokowi said the United States and countries across the Muslim world must increase partnerships to combat terrorism and encourage inter-religious peace across the globe.
‘Battle Between Good and Evil’
President Trump, who is on his first international trip since taking office in January, likened the fight against terrorism as a battle between good and evil, and not between civilizations – a departure from earlier polarizing rhetoric.
Trump signaled that Washington would boost financial and military partnerships with countries in the Middle East, while expecting renewed action to combat terrorism in return, Reuters reported.
In his speech, Trump urged leaders in the Muslim world to unite and “drive out” terrorists and other extremists.
Before being elected to the White House, candidate Trump popularized the notion that Muslim countries are fundamentally at odds with the United States and that inherent cultural and political differences would not be easily overcome.
In January, Trump issued an executive order banning immigration and asylum seekers from seven Muslim-majority countries. However, that order has since been blocked by US federal courts.