The Islamic spirit of standing in awe of the supreme God, upholding peace and justice, helping the weak and the poor, promoting social stability, being content with what one is and working hard is what Taiwan needs most at present, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.
Chen urged Muslims in Taiwan to introduce the doctrine and spirit of Islam to their compatriots to enhance exchanges between the Islamic community and various other sectors of society.
The president made the remarks during a meeting with a Taiwanese Muslim delegation which recently concluded an annual pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Chen said that this is the fourth consecutive year that he has met the returning Muslim pilgrims and said that through the meeting, he hopes to express the government's concern for the development of Islam to promote religious harmony.
Chen said that the government always pays great attention to religious development and encourages all religions in Taiwan to communicate with one another to promote mutual tolerance and respect and to serve as a driving force for stability, peace and prosperity.
Although there are only 50,000 to 60,000 Muslims in Taiwan, the minority religion is respected and enjoys full protection under the country's laws, he said.
With more than 2.5 million Muslims from over 170 countries making the pilgrimage to Mecca this year, and after hundreds of people were killed in a tragic stampede, it is fortunate that all the pilgrims from Taiwan returned home safe and sound, he said.
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