Christian Democrats and Humanitarian Muslims Unite to “Shape the Geopolitical Landscape of the 21st Century”

World’s largest political network “resolves to systematically foster the emergence of a global consensus regarding key ethics and values that should guide the exercise of power”

Deputy General Secretary of Indonesia’s National Awakening Party (PKB), H. Anggia Ermarini, submitting PKB’s Resolution on ethics and values that should guide the exercise of power to the Executive Committee of Centrist Democrat International in Rome

ROME, Italy, October 11, 2019: At a ceremony rich with symbolism, a senior representative of Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party hailed the spiritual, philosophical and political achievements of Christian humanism, and pledged to work with exponents of this tradition to defend the precious legacy of a rules-based international order.

In response, the Executive Committee of Centrist Democrat International (CDI) unanimously adopted a resolution stating that “Humanitarian Islam and the diverse strands of humanist philosophy that historically emerged in the West are kindred traditions, whose spiritual and philosophical values are consonant with—and, in the case of Western humanism, helped to shape and secure the adoption of—the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).”

The resolution goes on to state: “It is our belief that the spirit of universal human fraternity that animates UDHR, Christian humanism and the global Humanitarian Islam movement represents a compelling moral, ethical, religious and, indeed, political basis for close cooperation between IDC–CDI member parties, and between people of goodwill of every faith and nation.”

In conclusion, the world’s largest network of political parties, CDI, “resolve[d] to systematically foster the emergence of a global consensus regarding key ethics and values that should guide the exercise of power, so that the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century may be characterized by a truly just and harmonious world order founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being.”

This unprecedented alliance between Humanitarian Muslims and Christian Democrats—founded upon universal ethics and values—comes at a time when the post-WWII international order is under increasing stress from a wide range of threats that include Islamist terrorism; chaos in the Middle East; ethnic tensions exacerbated by immense migratory flows; populism; and the rise of expansionist civilizational states, whose authoritarian leaders hope to fill the void left by America’s accelerating retreat from the world stage.

The Deputy General Secretary of Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party, Ms. Anggia Ermarini, represented PKB at the meeting. “In addition to adopting PKB’s resolution, CDI launched a new youth wing during its triannual Executive Committee session in Rome,” said Ms. Ermarini, who—in addition to representing PKB in Indonesia’s legislature—is also General Chairperson of Nahdlatul Ulama’s 7-million-member young adult women’s movement, Fatayat NU. “Given our extensive experience in this field, CDI’s Executive Committee asked PKB to help draft the movement’s by-laws and actively participate in its governance. I was impressed by how many young people came to Rome, from so many countries, eager to establish CDI’s youth movement.”

PKB Deputy General Secretary H. Anggia Ermarini (above, wearing a blue head covering) with representatives from 17 political parties that are founding members of the CDI youth wing

Ms. Ermarini signs a joint declaration and agreement of CDI member parties to establish YCDI

In another significant development, the CDI Executive Committee resolved to hold its next meeting in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 23 – 24 January, 2020. “It will be a great honor for PKB and Indonesia to host this event,” said Ms. Ermarini, “as the heads of political parties throughout the world will gather in our back yard. CDI has an enormous political network in Europe and Latin America. Through PKB, CDI hopes to significantly expand its presence in Asia, while cooperating with PKB, Nahdlatul Ulama and the Humanitarian Islam movement to address security threats and a wide range of other challenges confronting nations that are governed by CDI member parties.”

Representatives of CDI member parties in session during a meeting of the Executive Committee

Two weeks before the Executive Committee meeting in Rome, PKB’s Emissary to CDI—NU General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf—visited Brussels, where he discussed a wide range of issues with Antonio López-Istúriz White, General Secretary of CDI and of its European affiliate, EPP (the European People’s Party), which has enormous influence in the European Union. Mr. Staquf was accompanied by C. Holland Taylor, Deputy Chairman & COO of Bayt ar-Rahmah and Gerakan Pemuda Ansor’s Emissary to the Americas and Europe.

“Public discourse about terrorism has become polarizing and a source of enormous confusion in the West, as it is all-too-often conflated with the issues of Islamophobia and identity politics. This has paralyzed governments and blocked them from adopting an effective response to the very real threat posed by Islamist ideology and terrorism,” said the NU General Secretary.

“Acting in cooperation with CDI—and backed by the theological weight and authority of the world’s largest Muslim organization—PKB can help the West chart a clear course toward understanding and addressing these threats. This is of vital importance to Indonesia as well, for the threat posed by Islamist radicalism has assumed global proportions, and can only be resolved through international cooperation.”

Mr. López-Istúriz White expressed his admiration for Nahdlatul Ulama’s pioneering role in confronting religious extremism, and his desire to build a solid working relationship with PKB, and Indonesia, that will be mutually beneficial to all parties.

From right to left: CDI/EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz White; NU General Secretary, KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf; CDI Regional (Asia) Director, César Rosselló; and CDI Chef de Cabinet, Luis Fernando Blanco, share a light moment while discussing concrete avenues for cooperation between CDI, PKB and Nahdlatul Ulama

Resolution on the consolidation of a global consensus regarding key ethics and values that should guide the exercise of power so that the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century may be characterized by a truly just and harmonious world order

The CDI:

  • Recognizing that the spiritual, philosophical and historical origins of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) lie in the traditions of Christian humanism, and the response of Christian Democratic political movements to the profound moral and geopolitical crisis that European and Latin American nations faced after World War II, including the imminent threat posed by communism;
  • Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10th, 1948, as a concrete means to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or ” (United Nations Charter, Article 55);
  • Acknowledging the central role of the humanist tradition, and of Christian Democratic political movements, which helped inspire and secure the adoption of UDHR;
  • Affirming that this humanitarian agenda and the universal norms associated therewith represent a uniquely valuable effort to abolish the primordial cycle of hatred, tyranny and violence that has plagued humanity since time immemorial;
  • Noting that key spiritual and philosophical principles that animate Christian humanism may be regarded as universal, and have found expression in other religious traditions, including Islam;
  • Realizing that within the Malay Archipelago, this kindred tradition—rooted in the principle of ukhuwwah basyariyah, or universal human fraternity—is widely described as Islam Nusantara (“East Indies Islam”);
  • Acknowledging that the principles which underlie and animate Islam Nusantara have inspired the emergence of a global movement known as “Humanitarian Islam,” which reflects the vision and legacy of former Indonesian president and long-time Nahdlatul Ulama Chairman E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid (1940 – 2009);
  • Noting that President Wahid’s burial site in Jombang, East Java, is visited annually by millions of men, women and children, who read and absorb the significance of the words engraved upon his tombstone in Indonesian, Arabic, English and Chinese: “Here Rests a Humanist”;
  • Recognizing that Abdurrahman Wahid and other spiritual leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama established the National Awakening Party (PKB) in 1998, as a vehicle to infuse politics with rahmah (universal love and compassion), and thereby foster respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being;
  • Considering that PKB has played a crucial role in the transition of Indonesia from authoritarian rule to become the largest Muslim-majority democracy in the world today;
  • Recalling that in 2001 the CDI changed its name from Christian Democrat International to Centrist Democrat International due to the expansion of its membership base to also include non-Christian political parties;
  • Affirming that the diverse political parties that belong to the CDI embrace a common set of humane and universal values, rooted in their respective religious and cultural traditions;

The CDI states the following:

  • We believe that Humanitarian Islam and the diverse strands of humanist philosophy that historically emerged in the West are kindred traditions, whose spiritual and philosophical values are consonant with—and, in the case of Western humanism, helped to shape and secure the adoption of—the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR);
  • It is our belief that the spirit of universal human fraternity that animates UDHR, Christian humanism and the global Humanitarian Islam movement represents a compelling moral, ethical, religious and, indeed, political basis for close cooperation between CDI member parties, and between people of goodwill of every faith and nation;
  • Therefore, we resolve to systematically foster the emergence of a global consensus regarding key ethics and values that should guide the exercise of power, so that the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century may be characterized by a truly just and harmonious world order founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human

Rome, October 11th, 2019.

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