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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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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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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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”