AMMAN — Muslims can and need to do more to empower the moderate and counter the narrative of terrorists and radical groups, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in an exclusive interview with The Jordan Times during her visit to the Kingdom on Sunday.
“Muslim countries need to work more together… Jordan and Indonesia can play a great role in these efforts,” Marsudi said.
As terrorists resort to social media and online tools to recruit militants from all over the world, Marsudi said Muslim countries need to take the initiative and use the same tools to counter their propaganda and protect youths from attempts to brainwash them and take advantage of their situation to implement terrorist plots that deliberately tarnish the image of Islam.
“More coordination and cooperation is required among the Islamic countries to take practical measures when it comes to social media,” Marsudi said, highlighting the “Indonesian Digital Initiative: Empowering Peaceful Leaders”, which was launched by Indonesian President Joko Widodo last month.
The initiative stresses on the importance of social media in responding to terrorist and radicalised movements and seeks to promote a counter narrative via social media to root out radicalism.
All Muslims need to do more work together to spread the true message of Islam, tolerance and peace, she said.
“In Indonesia, we have diversity in religion and sects and we all live in harmony, mutual respect and tolerance and this is the true message of Islam that we all need to promote,” she said.
Palestine back on radar anew
Turning to the Middle East, the foreign minister said Indonesia is keen to put the Palestinian issue back on the radar screen of the international community.
“There are so many conflicts in the region and we do not want the Palestinian issue to be overshadowed. The international community’s attention is fluid when it comes to the Palestinian issue amidst regional conflicts,” she said, noting that Indonesia last week hosted the 5th Extraordinary Islamic Summit on Palestine and Jerusalem as part of efforts to put the issue back on track.
“We have to exert efforts to stop the Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank as these settlements destroyed the Palestinian territories. This was highlighted also during the summit,” she said, stressing that East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state.
At the summit, participants not only sent an important message of their support to the Palestinians, but also stressed that the Palestinians need to be united so “we can all support them,” she said.
On Jordanian-Indonesian relations, the minister said the two countries enjoy great relations and there is room for increased collaboration in various areas of economy, tourism, education and trade.
“There has been a decline in trade exchange and the potential to boost it is great as Royal Jordanian currently operates three flights a week to Jakarta and we hope it will increase to one flight a day,” she said.
There is also a room for cooperation in areas of defence, she said, adding that Jordan and Indonesia have signed 10 memoranda of understanding between universities.
“During my visit, we discussed means to increase the number of Indonesian students studying here and also the number of Jordanians going to study in Indonesia’s universities,” she said.
The minister also added that there is a potential to tap into the tourism field in Jordan, saying that currently, some 50,000 Indonesians visit the Kingdom every year.
“My message to the Jordanian people is that you have friends in Asia and Indonesia, and we are ready to strengthen our ties in various fields including people to people areas,” said the minister.