The Australian ambassador to Indonesia has said that Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in his country, and that the faith contributes significantly to Australia’s success and contemporary culture.
Greg Moriaty, the Australian ambassador made the comments in a statement released to mark the arrival of three Muslim leaders from Indonesia to Australia earlier this week.
The visit by the Muslim delegation is part of an exchange program between the two countries aiming to build relations between the two countries.
According to ABNA, Moriaty said in the statement that he hoped to show the delegation the cultural diversity of Muslims in Australia, which consists of 70 different ethnic backgrounds, including from Indonesia.
The delegation will visit Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra to meet with various community leaders and religious representatives, and hopes to show Australia as a diverse accepting society.
It is hoped the meeting will help build relations for governmental and non-governmental organizations to communicate and make exchanges for the future, ABNA has reported.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says on its website “Muslims in Australia have a long and varied history that is thought to pre-date European settlement. Some of Australia’s earliest visitors were Muslim, from the east Indonesian archipelago. They made contact with mainland Australia as early as the 16th and 17th centuries.”
Australia has no official state religion and the Australian constitution protects freedom of religion. Christianity is the largest religion listed on the national census in 2006, with 63.9 percent of Australians listed as Christian. Islam is the fourth largest religious group in the country with just 1.7 percent listed as Muslim in the 2006 census.