JAKARTA: Former United States President Barack Obama has called on the world to stand up for tolerance, moderation and respect for others, while warning that sectarian politics could lead to chaos and violence.
In a freewheeling speech in Indonesia on Saturday, the 44th US president born to a Kenyan father and an American mother made a point about being accepting of different religions, by using his Muslim stepfather as an example.
Obama said when he was six, his family moved to Jakarta in 1967 and stayed for four years.
“My stepfather was raised a Muslim but he respected Hindus and he respected Buddhists and he respected Christians,” he noted.
“If you are strong in your own faith then you should not be worried about someone else’s faith.”
Obama said some countries had adopted “an aggressive kind of nationalism” and “increased resentment of minority groups”, The Guardian reports.
“It’s been clear for a while that the world is at a crossroads. At an inflection point,” Obama said, telling a Jakarta crowd stories of how much the capital had improved since he lived there as a child, in what could be seen as a commentary on the US as well as Indonesia.
“If we don’t stand up for tolerance and moderation and respect for others, if we begin to doubt ourselves and all that we have accomplished, then much of the progress that we have made will not continue,” he added.