Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has condemned a statement made by French President Emmanuel Macron on Islam, calling it insulting and offensive to Muslims the world over.
The President claimed that Macron's statement could spark division among different faiths at a time when the world needs unity to face the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Freedom of expression should not be exercised in ways that tarnish the honor, sanctity and sacredness of religious values and symbols," Jokowi said during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
He also condemned the deadly attacks that took place in Paris and Nice. "Indonesia asks the world to put forward unity and religious tolerance to build a better world."
He was joined by Vice President Ma'ruf Amin and representatives from various religious organizations after a meeting at the State Palace on Saturday.
Jokowi also regretted Macron's statement, which linked religion with terrorism, calling it "a big mistake".
"Terrorism is terrorism. Terrorists are terrorists. Terrorism does not have any connection with any religion," he said.
Macron has been at the center of global criticism from the Muslim community following his controversial statements insulting Islam and Prophet Mohammad. His comments have sparked protests and calls for a boycott of French products by some Muslim countries.