Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended what he called moderate Islam against the U.S. government’s new travel ban on citizens of 6 Muslim-majority countries.
Turnbull said in the war against terrorism, “Our best allies, our most important allies are Muslim leaders like Joko Widodo and the billions of Muslims who are thoroughly committed to peace.”
He also warned that demonizing Muslims will only strengthen terrorists’ propaganda that Muslims are not welcome in Ausrtralia.
Turnbull further said that the U.S. ban would not affect the agreement made under former President Barack Obama, and that the U.S. must take refugees from Manus Island and Nauru detention centers.
“No, the President has agreed to honour, continue with, the arrangements entered into with his predecessor,” he said.
The Australian prime minister, who arrived in Jakarta to attend the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) leaders’ summit, described Indonesia as “proof that Islam, democracy and moderation are compatible”.
“A quarter of a billion Muslims live in Indonesia and it is a nation where democracy, Islam as a religion of a majority of people, and moderation, tolerance and mutual respect operate hand-in-hand. It’s a great example to the world,” he said.
He also defended Australia’s Muslim population and said the vast majority of them are “patriotic, hardworking and committed to peaceful and law-abiding lives.”