Jakarta. With just a few days to go until Barack Obama arrives in Indonesia, a prominent American Islamic scholar has called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to show the Western world the true face of Islam.
“The real battleground is between the moderates of all religions against the radicals of all religions,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder and chief executive of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and leader of the Al-Farah mosque in New York, said at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Friday.
Feisal was giving a lecture to Yudhoyono and his cabinet as part of the series of presidential lectures held regularly at the palace.
During the talk, Feisal said the president’s meeting with Obama next week presented an opportunity to promote cooperation and change negative perceptions of Islam.
“By working together, we can help break the cycle of fear, of misunderstanding and of violence that threatens the stability of the world,” he said.
“You will have the opportunity to discuss with my president in the next few days … how we can work together and cooperate together to create this kind of momentum — global momentum.”
Feisal said Muslims should be responsible to help change negative attitudes toward Islam by intensifying interfaith dialogue and fighting radicalism.
Radicalism, he said, was now one of the top three issues threatening world security, alongside weapons of mass destruction and global warming.
“I am convinced that with the right behavior, the right ethics, we will change the hearts and minds of people in America toward Islam,” he said.
“We will be an architect of a global movement of peace, bridge what divides us as human beings.”
“The Muslim believes that the Qu’ran offers the absolute and complete truth, the archbishop said, “he comes to dialogue with a sense of superiority.” More ominously, he continued, the Qu’ran “commands the imposition of religion through force—with the sword.” As a result, the archbishop said, Muslims are unlikely to recognize religious freedom.”
Come on Rauf, just let it go