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Top US envoy John Kerry visits largest mosque in South-east Asia

Published on Feb 16, 2014 3:39 PM
US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) tours the Istiqlal Mosque with Grand Imam K.H. Ali Mustafa Yaqub in Jakarta , Feb 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry visited South-east Asia's largest mosque during his visit to Indonesia on Sunday, paying tribute to Islam in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

After removing his shoes outside the Istiqlal mosque in the heart of Jakarta, Mr Kerry walked through the vast building accompanied by grand imam Kyai al-Hajj Ali Mustafa Yaqub.

Calling it an "extraordinary place", the top US diplomat told Indonesian reporters: "I am very privileged to be here and I am grateful to the grand imam for allowing me to come."

The administration of US President Barack Obama has worked hard to try to repair relations with the Muslim world, which were badly frayed under the previous administration with the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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