Danish Cartoons Cited by Indonesian President

Citing Danish cartoons portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad as an example, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said seeds of world peace could start with cultural exchange programs that see people from completely different countries and cultures travel abroad to learn more of the world around them; hence should be further encouraged,  reported on August 25, 2007.
“Cultural exchange programs … (contribute) to world peace, but also offer solutions to problems around the world,” the President told detik.com after opening a seminar called Islam and the West. The event commemorated the 50th anniversary of the American Field Services exchange program.
Yudhoyono said students who took part in exchange programs would develop a respect of other countries from an early age. These programs could prevent conflicts between the West and Islam, he said, before speaking of the Danish cartoons portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Those who know Islam understand that deriding the Prophet is very hurtful,” Yudhoyono said. “And those who know the West understand that freedom of expression is important within a democracy.” He said the West and Islam did not know each other well enough yet and they needed to collaborate more to reach any harmony.

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