2014_12_09_Bayt ar-Rahmah
(Home of Divine Grace)

Leaders of the World’s Largest Muslim Organization Launch Global Effort to “restore the majesty of Islamic teachings as a source of universal love and compassion (rahmatan li al-‘alamin)”

Bayt ar-Rahmah is incorporated in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which was established in the mid-18th century by German-speaking immigrants who traveled to the new world in search of religious freedom.

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina, USA: On December 9, 2014, Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri, Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council and KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf—the NU’s Secretary for International and Political Affairs—joined with American businessmen C. Holland Taylor and F. Borden Hanes, Jr. to legally establish Home of Divine Grace for Revealing and Nurturing Islam as a Blessing for All Creation (Bayt ar-Rahmah li ad-Da‘wa al-Islamiyah Rahmatan li al-‘Alamin), a U.S.-based religious corporation that will serve as a hub for the expansion of NU operations worldwide. Nahdlatul Ulama is the world’s largest Muslim organization, with over 50 million members and 14,000 Islamic boarding schools, or madrassahs.

Bayt ar-Rahmah is part of a global effort conceived by Indonesia’s first democratically-elected head of state, H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid (1940 – 2009), to help realize Indonesia’s strategic potential as an engine of civilizational progress for all humanity. In 2003, President Wahid established LibForAll Foundation with his close friend and associate, North Carolina native C. Holland Taylor, to help meet international peace and security needs in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the first Bali bombing. Under President Wahid’s and Mr. Taylor’s leadership, LibForAll quickly became “a model of what a competent public diplomacy effort in the Muslim world should look like” (Wall Street Journal), achieving a string of notable successes that would ultimately result in the foundation of Bayt ar-Rahmah. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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POLITICAL COMMUNIQUÉS – 2015

2015_08_30_Historic Nahdlatul Ulama Congress a Battleground Between Opposing Forces

Wide Range of Human Nature, and “Religious Impulse,” on Display

“In Indonesia, the congress was a major event. It opened with a speech by the country’s president; each day it was the lead item on TV news and in national newspapers. But apart from the presence of diplomats at the opening and reporting by specialized academics, it mostly passed unnoticed in the West.

“This is tragic, since a few days spent at the congress of the world’s largest Muslim organization would reshape most Westerners’ perception of Islam. While groups such as ISIS demand a many-sided, including military, response, long-term antidotes to growing Islamic extremism can only be found in organizations such as NU.

“Historically, NU, like Indonesia, has rarely sought a bigger place on the Islamic or world stage. But now, with the nation’s economy the largest in the Muslim world, and after eight successful democratic elections, both are reaching out, sponsoring reconciliation and educational programs in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. There are even NU branches in the United States.

“As we continue to struggle with bloody chaos in much of the Middle East, Indonesia, and especially Indonesian Islam, needs our careful attention.” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2015_11_26_Ansor Congress and Film Launch

From Indonesia, a Muslim Challenge to the Ideology of the Islamic State

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — On the morning of November 26, 2015, the 15th National Congress of the world’s largest Muslim youth organization, GP Ansor (established 1934), opened with the screening of a film (The Divine Grace of East Indies Islam) that the New York Times hailed as “a relentless religious repudiation of the Islamic State and the opening salvo in a global campaign by the world’s largest Muslim group to challenge the ideology of the Islamic State head-on.” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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POLITICAL COMMUNIQUÉS – 2016

2016_05_10_ISOMIL Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration

Nahdlatul Ulama Convenes International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders (ISOMIL) and Issues Historic Declaration

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: On May 9 and 10, 2016, approximately 400 traditional Muslim scholars from 30 nations gathered to attend an International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders sponsored by the world’s largest Muslim organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), and its affiliate Bayt ar-Rahmah. At the Summit’s conclusion, the NU Central Board promulgated a 16-point declaration that affirmed the mainstream nature of the NU’s understanding and practice of traditional Sunni Islam; identified the salient factors driving Islamist extremism and terror worldwide; and committed the NU to develop a global alliance capable of addressing the twin threats of Sunni and Shi’ite extremism. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2016_05_12_Global Unity Forum and Ansor Declaration

Nahdlatul Ulama Youth Movement Hosts Global Unity Forum — Urges Reform of Classical Islamic Law

Abdul Aziz Wahid, Virginia Gray Henry, KH. M. Luthfi Thomafi

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: On May 12, 2016, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders gathered to attend a Global Unity Forum co-sponsored by the world’s largest Muslim youth organization, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, and Bayt ar-Rahmah. At the Forum’s conclusion, GP Ansor issued a 3-page declaration that includes “The GP Ansor Call… for an end to conflict in the name of religion, and 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 those perceived to be ‘non-Muslim.’” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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POLITICAL COMMUNIQUÉS – 2017

2017_03_30_Humanitarian Islam

World’s Largest Muslim Organization Launches Global Effort to Recontextualize (i.e., Reform) Classical Islamic Law
Indonesians Seek to Export a Modernized Vision of Islam

Members of Nahdlatul Ulama in Jakarta in 2011, during a commemoration of the group’s founding in Indonesia in 1926. Its youth wing is making a global push to bring Islamic law into line with modern norms. Credit: Supri/Reuters

JAKARTA, Indonesia: On March 30th, 2017, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor (the Nahdlatul Ulama Young Adults Movement) announced the launch of a concerted effort to promote Humanitarian Islam (al-islam li al-insaniyyah), by developing and operationalizing a global strategy to recontextualize the teachings of orthodox, authoritative Islam and thereby reconcile certain problematic elements of classical Islamic law (fiqh, aka shari‘ah) with the reality of contemporary civilization, whose context and conditions differ significantly from those in which classical Islamic law emerged. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2017_04_18_National Security Agenda

Gerakan Pemuda Ansor’s View Regarding the Republic of Indonesia’s Strategic Interests and National Security Agenda

JAKARTA, Indonesia: On April 17 – 18 2017, representatives of the world’s largest Muslim young adults movement, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor (est. 1934), gathered for the organization’s XXIst National Conference. Regional and provincial leaders discussed a number of geopolitical developments that pose a grave threat to Indonesia’s security. These include “the brutal conflicts raging in the Middle East and other hot spots; the rampant social turbulence that prevails almost everywhere in the Muslim world; the spread of religious extremism and terrorism, which pose a global security threat; and a rising tide of Islamophobia among non-Muslim populations, in response to these developments in the Muslim world.” Conference delegates also discussed “the threat posed by the political and military agenda of the People’s Republic of China, as it seeks to achieve regional hegemony in East and Southeast Asia.” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2017_05_22_Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam

World’s Largest Muslim Youth Organization Publishes Detailed Road Map for the Reform of Islamic Orthodoxy: “Let us Honestly Acknowledge, and Address, the Primary Cause of Islamist Terrorism”

KH. Abdul Ghofur Maemun (Vice Chairman, NU Supreme Council); KH. Masdar Mas’udi (Vice Chairman, NU Supreme Council): KH. Abdul A’la (Rector, Sunan Ampel State Islamic University); Dr. Hamdi Murad (Jordan)

JOMBANG, Indonesia: On 21 – 22 May 2017, over 300 Indonesian religious scholars gathered with colleagues from South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America to address “obsolete tenets of classical Islamic law, which are premised upon perpetual conflict with those who do not embrace or submit to Islam.” The event was held at PP (Madrasah) Bahrul ‘Ulum in Jombang, East Java—birthplace of the Nahdlatul Ulama and its 5-million-strong youth movement, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2017_07_18_Presentation to EU Council TWP (Terrorism Working Party)

NU General Secretary to the European Union and Its 28 Member States: “You cannot win if you do not fight back”

BRUSSELS, Belgium: On Tuesday 18 July 2017, Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council—delivered a video address to senior EU officials and representatives of 28 Member States at the headquarters of the European Council, which defines the EU’s overall political direction and policies. His address was part of a broader expert presentation on risk assessment hosted by the government of Estonia, which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the EU Council. Member States holding the rotating Presidency work together in groups of three to set long-term goals and prepare a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over an 18-month period. The presentation was delivered to the Terrorism Working Party (TWP), which leads and manages the Council’s agenda on counter-terrorism. Attended by law-enforcement and security officials of the 28 EU Member States, TWP is also responsible for exchanging information and assessments of terrorist threats; countering radicalization and recruitment of potential terrorists; and carrying out peer evaluations of Member States’ best practices in the fight against terrorism. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2017_08_19_Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

NU General Secretary to Europe’s Intellectual and Political Elites: “The West must stop equating a rational critique of Islamist terrorism with Islamophobia”

Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf

FRANKFURT, Germany: In the wake of yet another devastating terror attack in Europe—which killed or injured over 140 on the streets of Barcelona—Germany’s leading newspaper published a lengthy interview with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) General Secretary Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf. Headlined “Terrorism and Islam are Intimately Connected,” the interview was placed on the front page of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s widely-read Feuilleton (arts and culture) section, which also addresses moral issues that transcend partisan politics. Within hours of its publication, the interview was trending as one of the most popular articles shared in Germany. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2017_10_19_Impact Analysis

Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary’s “Message to Europe” Helped Shape Public Discourse Amid the Heat of Germany’s 2017 National Election Campaign

Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf

On May 22nd, 2017 the world’s largest Muslim young adults movement, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, issued an historic declaration calling for the reform of problematic tenets within Islamic orthodoxy “in order to bring about a world in which Islam, and Muslims, are truly beneficent and contribute to the well-being of all humanity.” The Gerakan Pemuda Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam provides a concrete strategy and road map explicitly designed to address “obsolete tenets of classical Islamic law, which are premised upon perpetual conflict with those who do not embrace or submit to Islam” (point 42). Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2017_11_17_Saudi Mosque in Brussels

Scholar Cites Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary’s Role in Debate Over Saudi Mosque in Brussels

Dr. James M. Dorsey—a widely-recognized expert on the Middle East and senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore—recently published an in-depth analysis of the controversy raging over an attempt by “Belgium’s Parliament… to wrest control from Saudi Arabia of Brussels’ downtown Grand Mosque after three years in which Belgians played a prominent role in Islamic State attacks in the Belgian capital as well as Paris.” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2017_11_25_NU National Assembly and Conference

Nahdlatul Ulama Targets the Weaponization of Religion for Political Purposes

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (third from right) opens the National Assembly of Ulama with the traditional beating of drums

MATARAM, Lombok, Indonesia: From 23 – 25 November 2017, the world’s largest Muslim organization convened 1,200 religious scholars for a National Assembly of Ulama and Major Conference, whose primary agenda was to strengthen the values of nationalism, counter religious extremism and improve the economic welfare of all sectors of Indonesian society. Attendees included Indonesia’s President and Vice President; the chiefs of Indonesia’s military, national police and state intelligence agency; numerous cabinet ministers; and foreign emissaries, including ambassadors from Iran and Saudi Arabia. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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POLITICAL COMMUNIQUÉS – 2018

2018_01_01_Strategic Review

Maneuvering within Islam’s Narrative Space: The Key to Defeating Islamist Extremism and Terror

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kansas and MAGELANG, Indonesia: On January 1, 2018, Strategic Review—“The Indonesian Journal of Leadership, Policy and World Affairs”—published a two-part cover story titled “Maneuvering within Islam’s Narrative Space.” The authors are LTC Brian Steed, Assistant Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and C. Holland Taylor, Chairman & CEO of LibForAll Foundation, which he established in 2003 with former Indonesian President H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid. Mr. Taylor also represents the world’s largest Muslim youth organization, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, and works closely with senior figures within the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)—including its spiritual leader and former Chairman, Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri, and KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, the current General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council—to expand NU and Ansor operations worldwide. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

Read the Strategic Review cover story, “Maneuvering within Islam’s Narrative Space.”

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2018_02_11_Civilizational Nobility

Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary Issues Call to Embrace Nobility of Character as the Unifying Attribute of an Emerging Global Civilization
JAKARTA, Indonesia—On February 11, 2018, KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization—received a standing ovation after delivering a keynote address to representatives of think tanks from over 20 nations throughout the Asia Pacific region, who gathered in Jakarta for the 2018 Asia Liberty Forum, co-hosted by the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies and the Atlas Network. The Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary outlined his vision for establishing a common platform—inspired by the universal, humanitarian principles embedded within the preamble to Indonesia’s 1945 Constitution—to manage ideological, religious, ethnic, cultural and political differences that jeopardize international peace and security, and threaten to rip asunder the very fabric of modern civilization. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_04_30_TIME 100

Ibu Sinta Nuriyah Wahid Lauded for Her Contributions to Humanity
NEW YORK CITY – April 30, 2018. TIME magazine has named Ibu Sinta Nuriyah Wahid—widow of Indonesia’s fourth President, H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid—as one of “The 100 Most Influential People of 2018.” Continue reading full communiqué with image. . .

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2018_05_22_The Jakarta Post

The Enduring Threat of Islamist Politics in ‘Reformasi’ (Post-Soeharto) Indonesia and its Global Ramifications
JAKARTA, Indonesia: On May 22nd, 2018, Indonesia’s leading English-language daily, The Jakarta Post, published a collection of articles that analyzed the progress and prospects for reform in the world’s largest Muslim-majority democracy, twenty years after the fall of Soeharto. Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council, contributed an 1,800-word essay in which he examined the perennial Islamist threat to Indonesia and its roots within Islamic orthodoxy. Continue reading full communiqué with image. . .

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2018_05_17_VPOTUS

White House Declares Support for @NahdlatulUlama
WASHINGTON, DC: On Thursday May 17th, 2018, the Vice President of the United States (VPOTUS), Michael R. Pence, invited NU General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf to the White House, where they discussed the pressing need for religious freedom and for decisive action to bring this about. VPOTUS was accompanied by a senior advisor and by Reverend Johnnie Moore, who was recently appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_05_31_Presidential Advisory Council

President Jokowi Appoints KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf to Key Position
JAKARTA, Indonesia: On May 31st, 2018—at a public ceremony attended by the Vice President, ministers and other state officials—Indonesian President Joko Widodo administered the oath of office to Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, who will officially advise the President on religious, domestic and international affairs. Mr. Staquf joined the 9-member Dewan Pertimbangan Presiden (Presidential Advisory Council), a constitutionally-authorized body whose members may attend cabinet meetings and are accorded a rank equivalent to Minister of State. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_06_29_Jerusalem

Indonesian Muslim Leader Delivers a “Message of Compassion,” and Reconciliation, from the Holy City of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, the spiritual heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Following a high-profile visit to the United States in May of 2018—which entailed substantive meetings with VPOTUS and other senior U.S. government officials—the General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), elicited widespread praise and a firestorm of controversy by visiting Jerusalem from 9 – 15 June 2018, where he delivered a message of rahmah (universal love and compassion) in a series of public speeches and meetings with senior Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_07_25_Impact Analysis

NU General Secretary’s Historic Visit to Jerusalem Helped Shape Public Discourse Amid the Heat of Indonesia’s 2018 Regional Election Campaign

JAKARTA, Indonesia: A firestorm of controversy over how the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and democracy should respond to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unexpectedly dominated Indonesia’s print, broadcast and social media during the decisive final weeks of that nation’s 2018 regional election campaign, which many experts view as a bellwether for national legislative and presidential elections to follow in 2019. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_10_09_Asia Society Game Changer Award

Spreading Unity through Song in One of the World’s Most Divided Cities

Award-winning music video created in honor of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) General Secretary’s visit to Jerusalem is part of a comprehensive, global campaign to transform religion from a political weapon into a source of universal love and compassion

JERUSALEM and NEW YORK CITY: On October 9, 2018, the Asia Society—founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III—honored the social music initiative Koolulam with its coveted “Game Changer Award,” in recognition of the group’s collaboration with Bayt ar-Rahmah, Jerusalem.com and the Tower of David Museum, which allowed its site in Jerusalem’s old city to be used free of charge in the production of an historic music video. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_10_25_Nusantara Manifesto

Nusantara Manifesto Initiates the Renewal of Islamic Teachings through the Recontextualization (i.e., Reform) of Obsolete Tenets within Islamic Orthodoxy

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: For the first time since the late Middle Ages, a large body of Sunni Muslim authorities are engaged in a wide-ranging, concerted and explicit project of theological renewal (i.e., reform). In the words of KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council, “This effort will address obsolete tenets within Islamic orthodoxy; realign these problematic tenets with 21st century ‘civilizational reality’; block their political weaponization; and curtail the spread of communal hatred by fostering the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order, founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being.” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_10_26_Second Global Unity Forum

Multi-Faith Vanguard Unites to Adopt Nusantara Statement and Join Global Humanitarian Islam Movement

The signed Nusantara Statement

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: A coalition of international religious and political figures joined leaders of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)—the world’s largest Muslim organization—in signing the Nusantara Statement at the Second Global Unity Forum (GUF II), held on October 25 – 26, 2018 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Signatories “call[ed] upon people of goodwill of every faith and nation to join in building a global consensus to prevent the political weaponization of Islam, whether by Muslims or non-Muslims, and to curtail the spread of communal hatred by fostering the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order, founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being.” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_11_22_President Joko Widodo and Gerakan Pemuda Ansor move to block the political weaponization of Islam

“The true spirit of Indonesia”
Ansor promulgates the Nusantara Statement at a mass gathering heavily covered by Indonesia’s print, broadcast and internet media

Ansor Chairman H. Yaqut Qoumas presents a copy of the Nusantara Statement to President Jokowi

PEKALONGAN, Indonesia: November 22, 2018. One month after Gerakan Pemuda Ansor and its international affiliate, Bayt ar-Rahmah, hosted the Second Global Unity Forum in Yogyakarta, Ansor Chairman H. Yaqut Qoumas announced the adoption of the Nusantara Statement at a mass rally of over 100,000 Ansor members, and presented a commemorative steel plaque engraved with the Statement to Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

The Statement conveys the essence of the historic Nusantara Manifesto, through which Gerakan Pemuda Ansor and  Bayt ar-Rahmah have officially launched a process of systematically recontextualizing (i.e., reforming) obsolete and problematic tenets within Islamic orthodoxy. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2018_11_22_President Joko Widodo’s Pekalongan Address

Commemorating the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad in Pekalongan, President Jokowi Urges the Muslim Community to Follow the Example of God’s Messenger

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo attended an event commemorating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) and National Heroes’ Day at the Great Square of Kajen, Pekalongan Regency, Central Java, on the evening of Thursday the 22nd of November.

From right to left: First Lady Iriana Widodo; President Joko Widodo; GP Ansor Chairman H. Yaqut Qoumas; Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Association of Sufi Orders Habib Luthfi bin Yahya; and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung

The President used this opportunity to express his pleasure to be in the midst of the Gerakan Pemuda Ansor family, because GP Ansor is always in the forefront safeguarding Pancasila; preserving the spirit of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (“Unity Amid Diversity”); guarding the Republic of Indonesia and its 1945 Constitution; and protecting Indonesia from separatism and terrorist acts.

“Gerakan Pemuda Ansor is living proof that our nation stands heir to the courage of warriors and the sincerity of heroes. GP Ansor is not easily intimidated; that is the true spirit of Indonesia. [Like Ansor,] we must all bravely demonstrate that Pancasila is the foundational ideology of the Indonesian nation state and cannot be replaced by other ideologies, including imported ideologies [propagated by transnational Islamist movements].” Continue reading President Joko Widodo’s full Pekalongan address with images. . .

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2018_11_22_H. Yaqut Qoumas’
Pekalongan Address

Speech by H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, General Chairman of the Gerakan Pemuda Ansor Central Board, Delivered Before the President and First Lady of the Republic of Indonesia, Assembled Kyais (Nahdlatul Ulama Religious Scholars) and 100,000 Banser (i.e., Ansor Militia) Cadres Mustered in Pekalongan, Central Java, to Commemorate the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) and National Heroes’ Day

Thursday 22 November 2018

H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Chairman of the GP Ansor Central Board

Mr. President, beloved kyais and respected members of our audience: the events we see unfolding in the Middle East and beyond—where conflict in the name of religion, and especially Islam, has caused immense human suffering—is a matter of profound concern to us. Above and beyond our sympathy for the people of these regions, we are acutely aware that the mindset on display in the Middle East has begun to penetrate our beloved country. Conscious of the virulent threat that confronts us, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor always and explicitly rejects those [Sunni radicals] who claim to possess a monopoly on religious truth while condemning the beliefs of others, who constitute the majority of Indonesia’s citizens. Gerakan Pemuda Ansor also rejects the weaponization of religion as a political tool to acquire worldly power, which the tragic example of the Middle East and other regions proves to be a source of bitter conflict and division—by deliberately inciting the inhabitants of a nation to despise, reject and even seek to destroy their fellow citizens. Continue reading H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas’ full Pekalongan address with images. . .

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2018_12_17_Ljubljana Address

Muslim Emissary Warns Europe from its Balkan Faultline: “Act Now to Address Islamist Extremism, Terror and Migration, or Face Mass Upheaval”

Panel, from left to right: Aleš Hojs (President, VSO and Former Defense Minister); Boštjan Perne (Former Director of the Intelligence and Security Service); Yahya Cholil Staquf (General Secretary, Nahdlatul Ulama); Security Expert (The Asimetric Group); Janez Janša (Former Prime Minister and Chairman, SDS), Marjan Podobnik (Chairman, SLS)

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia: On December 17, 2018, Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization and Emissary of Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party (PKB)—addressed the Slovenian nation at the invitation of its former Prime Minister, Janez Janša. The address, delivered at a heavily-attended public forum in the capital Ljubljana, on the topic of “Migration, Terrorism [and] Freedom of Speech,” came three years after a mass influx of largely Muslim migrants flooded through Slovenian territory into Central and Western Europe, triggering continent-wide social and political upheaval; a wave of Islamist terrorism; and the resurgence of populism as a potent political force for the first time since the Second World War.

In his speech—hosted by the Slovenian Democratic (SDS) and Slovenian People’s (SLS) parties—Mr. Staquf warned that among the consequences of this laissez faire approach to immigration is the re-emergence of supremacist ethno-religious identities that many Europeans pride themselves on having left behind, but are now once again threatening European stability, social harmony and the respect for human rights embraced by its political mainstream. Continue reading the full communiqué with images. . .

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POLITICAL COMMUNIQUÉS – 2019

2019_01_03_Towards an Islamic Jurisprudence Suitable to Our Emerging Global Civilization

Leading Muslim Scholars Encourage the Reform of Problematic Tenets Within Islamic Orthodoxy: “Shall We Remain Silent, or Confront Tyranny?

Forum participants (photo courtesy of Sofian J. Anom)

REMBANG, Central Java, Indonesia: On January 3, 2019, one of the most respected Islamic boarding schools in Southeast Asia—PP Raudlatut Thalibin—hosted an all-day forum to examine the necessity of recontextualizing (i.e., reforming) obsolete tenets of Islamic orthodoxy that constitute the center of gravity for a wide range of Islamist movements, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir. Entitled “GP Ansor’s Nusantara Manifesto: Towards an Islamic Jurisprudence [Suitable to Our] Emerging Global Civilization,” over 70 Islamic scholars from throughout Indonesia attended the event, co-sponsored by the 5-million-member Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) young adults movement, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, and its theological wing, Rijalul Ansor.

In his opening remarks, Rijalul Ansor Director KH. Aunullah Habib stated that, “Today, the world is facing chaos because of attempts by Muslim extremists to implement elements of fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence] that are no longer compatible with 21st century reality. The catastrophic violence and human misery that result from these attempts are most visibly on display in the Middle East but threaten the entire world, presenting each of us with a profound moral choice: shall we remain silent or follow the example of the noble prophets in confronting tyranny?” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_01_25_Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Recognizes the Contribution of Indonesian Islam to Peace and Democracy

“A Worthy Model for the World to Emulate”
Former Muhammadiyah Chairman, Dr. Syafii Maarif:
“An Antidote to the Disease, and Civilizational Decay, Afflicting the Middle East”

H.E. José Ramos-Horta

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: On January 17 and 25, 2019, Gadjah Mada University (UGM)—Indonesia’s preeminent institution of higher learning—held a pair of high-profile events to accompany the launch of a global campaign to nominate the world’s largest Muslim organizations for the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of their unique contributions to Islamic democracy and global conflict resolution.

H.E. José Ramos-Horta—who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996; led East Timor’s independence movement; and served as its president from 2007 – 2012—joined UGM and an international assembly of scholars to discuss Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah’s historic achievements and their nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Both groups’ contributions to Indonesian democracy played an essential role in granting independence to East Timor in 1999, following 24 years of Indonesian military occupation. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_02_01_World’s Largest Muslim Organization Promotes European Unity

Leader of massive, grassroots Islamic movement urges Europe’s political center to unite
“Engage in honest discourse about Islam, to end the cycle of religious supremacism, separatism and terror that has polarized European societies, and may trigger widespread civil unrest”

Portuguese Socialist MEP and Chair of the Indonesia–European Parliament Friendship Group, Ana Maria Gomes, greets KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, BRUSSELS: On January 31 and February 1, 2019, Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, and Emissary of Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party, PKB—led an official delegation to address the European Parliament’s center-left and center-right political groupings at the invitation of Portuguese Socialist Party MEP Ana Maria Gomes and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

Visiting in his capacity as a member of Indonesia’s Presidential Advisory Council, with a protocol rank equivalent to Minister of State, Mr. Staquf delivered a heavily-attended speech urging Europe’s centrist politicians to halt the rapidly accelerating polarization of European societies by acknowledging and addressing legitimate concerns raised by populist forces about the nexus of national and international security threats linked to Islam, terrorism and migration. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_03_22_Nahdlatul Ulama-Based PKB Joins Centrist Democrat International

Indonesia’s Largest Islamic Political Party, PKB, to Project “Soft Power” Globally

Muhaimin Iskandar and César Rosselló at a press conference in Jakarta, displaying a document that welcomes PKB to full membership in CDI. They are flanked by Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary and Presidential Advisor KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf (wearing a white shirt) and members of PKB’s Central Board.

JAKARTA, Indonesia: On March 22, 2019, a delegation representing the world’s largest political network—Centrist Democrat International (CDI), with over 100 affiliated parties in more than 70 nations—visited Jakarta, where they met with the Central Board of Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party. H. Muhaimin Iskandar, Chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB) and Deputy Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), greeted the delegation, headed by César Rosselló, CDI’s General Coordinator for Asia Pacific and Latin America. CDI—originally, an exclusive coalition of Christian Democrat parties—approved PKB’s accession unanimously and in record time at a meeting of its Executive Committee in Cape Verde on November 27, 2018.

Indonesia’s print and broadcast media heavily covered the event, providing widespread favorable publicity for PKB in the midst of a national election campaign. The nation’s presidential and legislative elections will be held on April 19, 2019. PKB is allied with President Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) of Indonesia and the party controls four cabinet posts in the current Jokowi administration. The nation’s leading newspaper, Kompas, reported that PKB—the first Indonesian political party to join an international network—was swiftly granted full membership status by CDI “due to its party ideology, which is based on democracy, moderation and anti-radicalism.” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_03_22_Japanese Communist Party Showcases Islamic Mass Movement

Official Newspaper of One of the World’s Oldest and Largest Non-Governing Communist Parties Highlights the Role of Nahdlatul Ulama in Defending Indonesia’s Democracy from Extremists

JAKARTA, Indonesia: On March 22, 2019, Red Flag (Shimbun Akahata)—the official newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), with a distribution of 1.2 million copies—published an extensive interview with Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). Entitled “Islam Needs Tenets that Reflect Contemporary Reality,” the article examines the role of the NU in defending Indonesia’s pluralistic, tolerant and multi-religious nation state from Islamist extremists motivated by obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy. The last in a 5-part series on Indonesia’s April, 2019 presidential and legislative elections, the interview with Mr. Staquf underscores rising concern among traditional leftist political movements about the weaponization of ethnic, religious and political identities worldwide.

Like Nahdlatul Ulama (est. 1926), JCP traces its heritage to the anti-colonialist struggle of the 1920s, and has a history of fighting for the principles of popular sovereignty, anti-sectarianism and self-determination. One of the oldest and largest non-governing Communist parties in the world, it was founded in 1922 and claims a membership of over 300,000. Anti-imperialist and anti-militarist, JCP was the only Japanese political party to actively oppose Imperial Japan’s invasion of China and its entry into World War II, and seeks to turn Japan into a non-aligned nation. The pacifist international order to which the party aspires, however, is increasingly threatened by a rising tide of ethnic and religious hatred, discrimination and violence, fueled in large part by widespread perceptions that Islam threatens non-Muslims, and is synonymous with terrorism. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_03_25_Don’t weaponize the term Islamophobia

To prevent another Christchurch, Islam must confront the attacks in its name that have radicalised the West

YAHYA CHOLIL STAQUF    |    25 MARCH 2019

How can we prevent another atrocity like the one in Christchurch? CREDIT: REUTERS

How can we – Muslims and non-Muslims together – prevent another atrocity like the one in Christchurch? As I have watched New Zealanders of all faiths mourn, this has been the question on my mind. So far, few of the answers offered have come close to the truth.

What the massacre revealed was the need for a clear understanding of the weaponisation of ethnic, religious and political identities that is going on throughout the world. This was Brenton Tarrant’s evil aim: to contribute to a polarisation of the West – and to a parallel phenomenon in the Muslim world. His actions, which eerily resemble those of Isil and other Islamist terror groups, were calculated to intensify the hostility and suspicion that already exist towards Muslims in the West. They were also designed to elicit a response from Islamists and so encourage a cycle of retaliatory violence.

We must not let him, or anyone else, succeed. Solidarity across racial, religious, cultural and political lines to address this global crisis is the only answer. But this means resolutely acknowledging the causal factors of the violence that we are seeing in so many parts of the world. As a Muslim, this leads me to questions that require difficult but honest answers. Continue reading this article with images. . .

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2019_04_10_World’s Largest Political Network Embraces Humanitarian Islam

Centrist Democrat International Adopts PKB Resolution, Signaling a Profound Shift in Global Discourse Regarding Extremism and Terror

BRUSSELS, Belgium: On April 10, 2019, the Executive Committee of Centrist Democrat International (CDI)—the world’s most extensive political network, with over 100 affiliated parties in more than 70 nations—unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the “universal principles and aspirations” of the global Humanitarian Islam movement, and calling for the “widespread dissemination and study” of its foundational texts.

A “Resolution on acknowledging that universal human fraternity is essential to the emergence of a global civilization founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being,” was drafted and presented to the Committee by the National Awakening Party (PKB), Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party. The resolution commends Nahdlatul Ulama—the world’s largest Muslim organization—for its “groundbreaking” role in having “first articulated the concept of universal human fraternity as a shari‘ah basis for legal equality between Muslims and non-Muslims” at its National Congress held in Situbondo, East Java, in 1984. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_04_17_Muslim Scholar’s Call for “Honest Discussion” Elicits Global Response

Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary’s Appeal to “Renounce the Practice of Weaponizing Islam for Partisan Advantage” Praised for Offering a “Way Forward” in the Aftermath of Christchurch Terror Attacks

On March 25, 2019, Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the world’s largest Islamic organization—Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), with over 50 million followers—responded to the brutal slaughter of 50 Muslims at prayer in Christchurch, New Zealand. Writing in The Telegraph, a prestigious newspaper with close links to Britain’s governing Conservative Party, Mr. Staquf urged people of all faiths and none to go through the “uncomfortable” process of “resolutely acknowledging the causal factors of the violence that we are seeing in so many parts of the world,” and summon the courage to ask “questions that require difficult but honest answers.” The article, entitled “To prevent another Christchurch, Islam must confront the attacks in its name that have radicalized the West,” was welcomed by policy experts, journalists, opinion leaders and government officials for encouraging discourse about a highly-fraught and complex phenomenon that threatens all humanity.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center—a human rights organization that seeks to prevent hatred, discrimination and genocidal violence—noted in the Times of Israel that, “we won’t defeat burgeoning hate by embracing soothing but dishonest political correctness. . . Muslims, Jews, and Christians should take their cue from Yahya Cholil Staquf.” Rabbi Cooper’s article, co-authored with historian Dr. Harold Brackman, examined how many commentators exploited outrage at the Christchurch massacre, and solidarity with its Muslim victims, to shut down discourse and thereby obstruct an honest public discussion of causal factors, while rabid anti-Semites promoted conspiracy theories, some of which claimed that Mossad or other Jews were responsible for the terrorist atrocity. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_04_25_Calls for U.S. to Engage with Nahdlatul Ulama in the Wake of Indonesia’s Presidential Election

Professor, Policy Expert and Religious Freedom Advocate A.J. Nolte: “NU. . . represents one of the few genuinely influential, well-organized, and politically powerful voices of moderate Islam” 

President Jokowi reaching out to voters in the world’s largest Muslim-majority democracy

United States diplomats, government departments and foreign policy practitioners are being encouraged to engage with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)—the world’s largest Muslim organization, with over 50 million followers—after NU-oriented voters from the heavily-populated island of Java, which constitutes the geographic, political and economic center of Indonesia, proved “decisive” in re-electing moderate Muslim leader Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to his second and final term in office. Writing in Christian foreign policy journal Providence, A.J. Nolte—assistant professor of politics at Regent University’s Robertson School of Government—noted how “Jokowi’s winning coalition was based almost entirely on support from areas of East and Central Java dominated by the Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama.”

“Indonesia may be undergoing a kind of electoral ideological sorting into three camps, whose differing views on the relationship between Islam and the state will have a huge impact on the country moving forward,” observes Nolte. Whilst the heavily-Javanese NU supports religious toleration, a second emerging bloc, which voted overwhelmingly for Jokowi’s rival Prabowo Subianto, represents “an ominous trend worth watching.” This bloc is “committed to a rigid application of political Islam in Indonesia” and consists of “two groups: West Javanese, whose version of Islam is influenced by Wahhabi teachings brought back to Indonesia from Mecca, and Malay Muslims from the so-called ‘out-islands,’ who have generally been somewhat more rigid in their orthodoxy than their Javanese counterparts for centuries.” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_05_15_Prominent Jewish Figures Warn About the Perils of Weaponizing Identity

Muslim Leader Concurs: “Overcoming White Supremacism, Antisemitism and Islamist Extremism Will Require Courage, Honesty and Compassion”

Saint Sebastian’s Church in Columbo, Sri Lanka following an attack on April 21, 2019

In the weeks following white supremacist Brenton Tarrant’s live-streaming of his brutal slaughter of Muslims at prayer in New Zealand, Jews, Muslims and Christians have all fallen victim to shocking acts of terror. In response to these tragedies, a number of prominent Jewish figures have joined Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization—in urging religious, cultural and political elites to end the practice of weaponizing identity, which exacerbates communal hatred and short-circuits analysis of the complex phenomena that contribute to ethnic and religious violence. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_05_15_Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama Helps Shape British Government Policy Through High Profile Commentary and Policy Exchange Report On Islamophobia

General Secretary of the World’s Largest Muslim Organization Warns Europeans Against the Horrors of Weaponizing “Tribal Identity”
Joins UK center-left and center-right opinion leaders in derailing a concerted effort “to strip Western societies of the freedom of speech required to challenge ethnic and religious supremacism”

LONDON, United Kingdom: On May 15, 2019, the British government rejected calls to adopt a vague yet sweeping definition of the term “Islamophobia,” that would undermine counterterrorism policy, empower Muslim extremists, enable media censorship and open the door to criminalization of frank discourse about Islam, including the crystal-clear links between jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy and certain problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy and its historic practice.

The move follows a series of high-profile interventions in continental Europe and the UK by Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). In his latest intervention, Mr. Staquf supported a broad cross-section of British civil society and its political establishment, who warned the British government not to adopt the policy recommendations of an informal grouping of UK parliamentarians—the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (APPG)—that seeks to weaponize a highly problematic definition of Islamophobia as “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_06_12_“Reforming the Faith”

Award-winning Journalist and Scholar Chronicles Global “Battle for the Soul of Islam”

Veteran foreign correspondent, Middle East expert and Senior Fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Dr. James M. Dorsey, has written a comprehensive, 22-page analysis of Humanitarian Islam—a global, multi-faith movement guided by the spiritual leadership of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). The movement seeks to reform obsolete and problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy that enjoin religious hatred, supremacy and violence. Titled “Reforming the Faith,” Dorsey’s wide-ranging article examines the history, challenges and potentially far-reaching consequences of the NU leaders’ effort to block the weaponization of Islam for political purposes, which fuels Islamist extremism and terror worldwide. In his conclusion, Dr. Dorsey observes that:

“Nahdlatul Ulama’s campaign amounts to more than simply confronting ultra-conservatism and militancy. It is a pushback against the notion that secularism and pluralism are expressions of a Western conspiracy to undermine Islam. . . If successful, Nahdlatul Ulama’s strategy could have far-reaching consequences. For many Middle Eastern autocrats, adopting a more tolerant, pluralistic interpretation of Islam would mean allowing far greater social and political freedoms and embracing concepts of pluralism. That would likely lead to a weakening of their grip on power.”

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