I'm astonished that an Ambassador could be so ignorant of his host country.I am perfectly well aware of what "Assalamualaikum" means (I would humbly submit that I have a somewhat greater knowledge of Islam and Muslim society than you do, but I will not engage in a silly pissing competition), that was my point, he didn't say that but in fact quoted the entire, full-length Islamic verse, which is a prayer used by one particular religion and not simply a greeting.
Furthermore, if the UK ambassador to Indonesia wished to demonstrate his linguistic skills to an Indonesian audience he would have said something along the lines of "Bapak-bapak, ibu-ibu, apa kabar? Selamat datang di pesta ini merayakan ulang tahun di Ratu Elizabeth".
Why? Er, because that's the language of Indonesia. Are you beginning to get it now? Indonesia has its own vibrant language, spoken by 280 million of its citizens a substantial proportion of whom are not Muslims, Arabic is not the language of Indonesia. By choosing to address his Indonesian audience in Arabic using an Islamic prayer (not greeting) he was imposing a sectarian religious element on what should have been a non-religious event.
I hope these "ramblings" have sufficiently elucidated for you the subtleties of the situation and your own ignorance about the situation in Indonesia.
Do I have to repeat myself? Indonesia, whilst it is a Muslim-majority country is not an Islamic state, it has five state-recognised religions.
Therefore, even if it was simply a random selection of Indonesians in the audience the ambassador would have been imposing a Muslim imprint on a secular event which would exclude some 12 percent of the invited guests, something I am pretty sure Her Majesty would not approve of.
However, it wasn't a random selection of Indonesians, it was a UK embassy event, the invited guests were from many nationalities, they were of all religions and none, by insisting on opening the occasion with a very specific Muslim prayer (for prayer is what it was, not a simple greeting) the ambassador was emphasising his religion, and the religion of perhaps a majority of his guests to the exclusion of those guests who had to shuffle awkwardly rather than try to recite the correct religious response.
Do you understand now?
To make it clearer, would you approve of a Catholic UK ambassador opening an event for a mixed party of guests with a recital of the Hail Mary that he expected his guests to follow? Merely to ask the question shows the sectarian rudeness of the ambassador on this occasion. Like I say had it been an Eid dinner or other religious event I would have had no problem whatsoever. It was the Queen's birthday and I do not expect the Queen's representative to impose an exclusive sectarian imprint on an even that should be welcoming to all.