For the past decade, Mr. Staquf and other close friends and associates of President Wahid have been working to realize his vision on a global scale. In 2014 Mr. Staquf, together with KH. A. Mustofa Bisri, C. Holland Taylor and F. Borden Hanes, Jr., established Bayt ar-Rahmah li ad-Da’wa al-Islamiyyah Rahmatan li al-‘Alamin (Home of Divine Grace for Revealing and Nurturing Islam as a Blessing for All Creation) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to help coordinate the expansion of NU operations worldwide.
In 2016 Mr. Staquf co-authored the International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders (ISOMIL) Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration and the Global Unity Forum Declaration, which called for “qualified ulama (Muslim religious scholars) to carefully examine and address those elements of fiqh [classical Islamic law] that encourage segregation, discrimination and/or violence towards anyone perceived to be ‘non-Muslim.’”
In 2017 Gerakan Pemuda Ansor — NU’s 5-million member young adults movement — and Bayt ar-Rahmah launched the global Humanitarian Islam movement and issued the Gerakan Pemuda Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam.
In 2018 Mr. Staquf and his colleagues arranged for Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party, the NU-based PKB, to join the world’s largest political network, Centrist Democrat International (CDI), which has endorsed Humanitarian Islam and its strategic agenda in five separate resolutions unanimously adopted by the CDI Executive Committee from 2019 – 2021.
In February of 2019, 20,000 Muslim scholars gathered in Banjar, West Java, at the 2019 National Conference of Nahdlatul Ulama Religious Scholars, which abolished the legal category of kafir (infidel) within Islamic law; ruled that Muslims are not obliged to establish a global caliphate; and acknowledged the theological legitimacy of laws derived from modern political processes.
In 2020 Gerakan Pemuda Ansor and Bayt ar-Rahmah launched the Movement for Shared Civilizational Values at an event in Jakarta, Indonesia, titled “Nurturing the Shared Civilizational Values of Islam Rahmatan li al-‘Alamin, the Republic of Indonesia and the United States of America.” In remarks delivered at this event, US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo stated:
Indonesia has an incredible reach and potential as a force for good in the region and indeed throughout the entire world. . . Your very own Gus Dur helped to lead Indonesia’s transition to democracy. His profoundly humane vision and teachings inspired the birth of the Humanitarian Islam movement. His legacy lives on today in the current generation of leaders who, in 2014, launched the Islam Nusantara campaign to repudiate ISIS’ hateful and violent brand of Islam. And it lives on in the Movement for Shared Civilizational Values as well.
In 2021 Mr. Staquf co-founded the Center for Shared Civilizational Values, to serve as an institutional platform through which people of every faith and nation may cooperate to identify and strengthen values that are essential to the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order, and global civilization, in the 21st century.
Backed by Nahdlatul Ulama spiritual leaders and a decisive majority of NU provincial chapters throughout the vast Indonesian Archipelago, Mr. Staquf’s election as General Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board constitutes a broad-based endorsement of his strategy and consistent efforts to promote Islam as a source of rahmah (universal love and compassion) worldwide.
A wide range of Muslim and non-Muslim figures responded to Mr. Staquf’s election with enthusiasm. Talib Shareef, Imam of The Nation’s Mosque in Washington, DC and a prominent figure within the African-American Muslim community, wrote:
Alhamdulillaah! The complete perfect praise and thanks to Allah. . . This important election gives wind beneath the wings of the Nusantara Statement and The Nation’s Mosque Statement, and continues the trajectory of a progressive moderate path of Islam in the destiny of Indonesia on the world stage. Please convey our regards to all and we plan to share this in our Muslim Journal and other mediums across our community.
Imam Yahya Pallavicini — head of the Islamic Religious Community of Italy (COREIS) and ambassador of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) for dialogue among civilizations — wrote: “Congratulations to our chairman Pak Yahya. We prayed for his success during our Friday salat al-jama’ah (congregational prayer).”
Rabbi David Saperstein — long-time Director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center and former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom — wrote: “Congratulations! Much success in pursuing your vision of interfaith understanding, respect and cooperation.”
Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General and CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, wrote a letter (reproduced below) to Mr. Staquf in which he said: “It was a joyful and unexpected Christmas gift to me and to the World Evangelical Alliance to learn of your election as General Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama on 24 December 2021.”