2021_09_14_G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy

Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs sets agenda for the G20 Interfaith Forum to be held in 2022

Urges religious leaders to “act decisively to ensure that religion is no longer ‘part of the problem,’ and instead becomes ‘part of the solution’”

BOLOGNA, Italy, September 12 – 14, 2021: Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs, H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, has delivered a landmark address setting the agenda of the world’s largest Muslim majority nation and democracy for its chairmanship of the G20 Interfaith Forum (IF20), to be held in 2022.

The video address — delivered to political and religious leaders gathered from around the globe at the historic Salone del Podestà in Bologna’s 13th-century Palazzo Re Enzo — outlined Indonesia’s strategy to mobilize the world’s great faith traditions to preserve and strengthen the post-WWII rules-based international order at a time of increasingly unimpeded violations of international law and rising human rights abuse. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_09_11_9/11: A 20-Year Retrospective

Regent University, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, welcomes Indonesian Muslim leader on the eve of 9/11 anniversary

U.S. evangelicals endorse General Secretary of the world’s largest Islamic organization
Praised as “a leading Muslim voice” who seeks “to reform obsolete tenets of Islamic orthodoxy that enjoin religious hatred, supremacy and violence”

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia, September 9, 2021: Regent University — which, together with the Christian Broadcasting Network, may be said to represent “the beating heart of evangelical Christianity in the U.S.” — invited Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization, to deliver a keynote address at Regent’s commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The invitation may signal a major shift in evangelical attitudes towards Islam and Muslims, inspired by Nahdlatul Ulama’s willingness to acknowledge and address certain tenets of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie and animate Islamist extremism worldwide. These tenets are often employed by groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram to condemn those they regard as infidels, thereby legitimizing the widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_09_09_Taliban perpetuate Muslim world’s failed governance paradigm

Al-Arab:
“The Taliban’s control of Afghanistan spotlights the failed model of government in Muslim states”

Nahdlatul Ulama represents a unique exception to the mosque–state alliance perpetuated by Middle East autocrats

SINGAPORE, September 9, 2021: In a hard-hitting article published on the eve of the 9/11 attacks’ 20th anniversary, veteran foreign correspondent and Senior Fellow at National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, Dr. James M. Dorsey, argued that Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama constitutes a unique exception to the cycle of authoritarianism, underdevelopment and violence that afflicts so much of the Muslim world.

Dr. Dorsey wrote:

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan perpetuates a paradigm of failed governance in the Muslim world based on a centuries-old alliance between Islamic scholars and the state that, according to scholar Ahmet T Kuru, explains underdevelopment in many Muslim-majority states and authoritarianism in most.

The takeover also highlights that, in a twist of irony, a majority of competitors for Muslim religious soft power, leadership of the Muslim world, and the ability to define Islam have as much in common as they have differences. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_09_08_Muslim–Christian Relations: Becoming Good Neighbors

Evangelical Podcaster John W. Morehead:

“Two of the most important religious leaders in the world, an evangelical and a Muslim, neither of whom are Americans, came together in Washington, D.C. to launch a book.”

Why?

“Because what happens on the borderline between religion and politics in the United States affects the whole world.”

SYRACUSE, Utah: In July of 2021, U.S. evangelical leader John Morehead introduced his audience to the Humanitarian Islam movement in conjunction with the launch of a book published in honor of Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, which represents 600 million Protestants in 140 countries.

Over the course of a one-hour discussion with Reverend Dr. Thomas K. Johnson and C. Holland Taylor — who co-edited the book God Needs No Defense: Reimagining Muslim–Christian Relations in the 21st Century — Reverend Morehead and his guests discussed the nature and ramifications of an unprecedented alliance that has emerged between the world’s largest Protestant and Muslim organizations.

During the course of the interview, Reverend Morehead explored the genesis of the book as well as its structure and contents, asking “What can readers look forward to in this volume?”  Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_08_17_Independence (Day) Prayer

Indonesians reaffirm shared moral and spiritual values in nationwide ceremony

Minister of Religious Affairs delivers prayer composed
by KH. A. Mustofa Bisri:
“Illuminate us with Your Light, oh Light of Lights,
that we may perceive the beauty of truth
and follow it.
That we may perceive the ugliness of falsehood
and distance ourselves from it.
That we may perceive the beauty of honesty
and fully embrace it. 
That we may perceive the evil of lies
and guard against them.”

“Remembering Indonesia’s Declaration of Independence 76 years ago:
Live broadcast on Tuesday, 17 August, 2021 at 09:00 a.m.”

JAKARTA, Indonesia, August 17, 2021: During a ceremony broadcast throughout the Indonesian Archipelago, Minister of Religious Affairs H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas read a prayer composed by Nahdlatul Ulama spiritual leader and Humanitarian Islam co-founder Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri.

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, tens of millions of Indonesian school children, parents and other adults stood to attention in their homes as they watched an elaborately staged celebration of the nation’s independence broadcast from Istana Merdeka (Independence Palace) in downtown Jakarta. President Joko Widodo and his cabinet ministers, wearing traditional attire, solemnly presided over the ceremonial raising of Indonesia’s red-and-white flag. From 1945 – 1949, Indonesian Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists alike waged a bloody four-year struggle to prevent the re-imposition of Dutch colonialism following Imperial Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_08_12_God Needs No Defense

God Needs No Defense:
Reimagining Muslim–Christian Relations in the 21st Century

Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri:
“We wish to submit to the dictates of conscience”

WASHINGTON, DC, July 13, 2021: Spiritual leaders of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) have published a Festschrift, or collection of essays, honoring Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, the newly appointed Secretary General & CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).

“We hope this book will mark the beginning of a long and important journey of these two religions [Islam and Christianity] towards a more harmonious relationship, characterized by peaceful co-existence,” NU General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf told an audience of nearly 1,000 religious freedom activists and government leaders gathered at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, for the 2021 International Religious Freedom Summit. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_08_09_Fundamental Principles of Nahdlatul Ulama

Historic speech, published in English for the first time, offers a stark reminder to the West 

“Social unity is the highest virtue and most powerful instrument for promoting the common good”
“Division has been the cause of weakness, defeat and failure throughout the ages”

“A house divided against itself cannot stand” ~ Abraham Lincoln

WASHINGTON, DC, August 9, 2021: The world’s largest Muslim organization, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has made a century-old speech by one of its founders, KH. Hasyim Asy’ari, available for the first time in English. The publication of this speech — titled Introduction to the Fundamental Principles of Nahdlatul Ulama — is part of a larger effort by the 90-million-member NU to promote shared civilizational values and discourage the political weaponization of identity.

The speech, which was delivered at the inaugural meeting of Nahdlatul Ulama in 1926, warns that social divisiveness “is the root of destruction and bankruptcy, the source of collapse and ruination, and the agent of humiliation and chaos.” Nearly a century after its delivery, this address, which articulates the ethical and theological framework embraced by the world’s largest Muslim organization, remains the foundational document of Nahdlatul Ulama. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_07_26_Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“The Voice of Moderate Muslims”

“Indonesia is a model for the transition from an autocratic to a democratic system”

Indonesian Muslims at prayer

FRANKFURT, Germany / July 26, 2021: One of Germany’s leading experts on the contemporary Middle East has written a penetrating analysis of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and its “credible” efforts to reform obsolete and problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy, such as the legal concepts of kafir (infidel) and dhimmi (conquered and subordinate non-Muslims).

The article examines NU’s engagement with the World Evangelical Alliance, which has officially “recognized [Nahdlatul Ulama’s] pioneering work. The most populous Islamic country has thus acquired a ‘points advantage’ within the intra-Islamic competition to become the leading religious ‘soft power’ in the Muslim world.” Continue reading full communiqué. . . 

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2021_07_15_International Religious Freedom Summit

Nahdlatul Ulama leader on “The Rise of Religious Nationalism”:

“We need to address obsolete values within our own traditions, which prevent peaceful coexistence”

WASHINGTON, DC, July 15, 2021: Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf delivered a keynote address to nearly 1,000 civil society and government leaders at the 2021 International Religious Freedom Summit, during a five day visit to the United States. His topic was the complex and often controversial subject of religious nationalism.

Mr. Staquf is co-founder of the global Humanitarian Islam movement and the Center for Shared Civilizational Values, which seek “to prevent the political weaponization of identity; curtail the spread of communal hatred; promote solidarity and respect among the diverse peoples, cultures and nations of the world; and foster 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. . .

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2021_07_14_Religious Freedom and a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

Indonesian and U.S. Statesmen agree that “shared civilizational values” are essential building blocks of a rules-based international order
Former Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo:
“The places where we can build peace, the places where we can identify overlapping interests will always revolve around shared values.”
NU General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf:
“We need to mobilize civil society actors and mass-based organizations to foster societal consensus regarding fundamental values, if a rules-based international order is to endure.”

Yahya Cholil Staquf, Kenneth Weinstein and Michael R. Pompeo

WASHINGTON, DC: On July 14, 2021, Hudson Institute Distinguished Fellow Kenneth Weinstein moderated a discussion between Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, and Hudson Distinguished Fellow and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency/U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. It was the first time the Indonesian and U.S. statesmen had met face-to-face since Secretary Pompeo addressed leaders of the Humanitarian Islam movement in Jakarta on October 29, 2020, days before the U.S. presidential election.

Their wide-ranging discussion covered a variety of topics including: Indonesia’s and America’s founding values; mobilizing public support for a sustainable rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific that is resilient and adaptable to the great power realities of the 21st century; the future of the post-World War II human rights project; the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities; threats posed by the political weaponization of identity; genocide; the role of sovereign nation states, and civil society, in preserving and strengthening the rules-based international order; and the need to maintain a stable balance of power within the Indo-Pacific region. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_07_13_The Nation’s Mosque Statement

Leaders of the world’s largest Islamic and Evangelical organizations establish alliance with African American Muslims to promote human dignity and equality worldwide
“God Needs No Defense:
Reimagining Muslim–Christian Relations in the 21st Century”
Imam Talib Shareef: “We are against weaponizing identity”

From left to right, Rev. Thomas L. Bowen, Minister of Social Justice at Shiloh Baptist Church; Rev. Christopher Zacharias of John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church; Imam Talib Shareef of The Nation’s Mosque; KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary; Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, WEA Secretary General & CEO; and Ibrahim Mumin of The Nation’s Mosque

WASHINGTON, DC, July 13, 2021: Major faith leaders from around the world gathered at Masjid Muhammad, known as “The Nation’s Mosque,” to announce the establishment of a global alliance that aims to promote human dignity and equality.

In a signed statement, Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders said their alliance “seeks to prevent the political weaponization of identity; curtail the spread of communal hatred; promote solidarity and respect among the diverse people, cultures and nations of the world; and foster the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order, founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being.”

Participants in the unlikely religious summit included Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organization with 90 million followers; Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), which represents 600 million Protestants in 140 countries; Imam Talib Shareef of The Nation’s Mosque; Rabbi David Saperstein, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; prominent U.S. evangelical figure, Reverend Johnnie Moore; and HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Nu’man VIII. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_04_14_Shifting Youth Attitudes Threaten State-controlled Interpretations of Islam

Battle for the Soul of Islam:
Spotlight on the Gap Between Regimes and Populations

“Trouble is brewing in the backyard of Muslim-majority states competing for religious soft power and leadership of the Muslim world.”
“Nahdlatul Ulama’s critical mass of Islamic scholars… offer a bottom-up alternative to state-controlled religion that seeks to ensure the survival of autocratic regimes and the protection of vested interests.”

BELGRADE and NEW YORK, April 14, 2021: Nahdlatul Ulama spiritual leaders are at the vanguard of a grassroots, global trend — especially prevalent among Muslim youth — to reject the political weaponization of Islam by Middle East autocrats and Islamist movements. This dramatic shift in Muslim attitudes was recently detailed by Dr. James M. Dorsey, a veteran foreign correspondent and Senior Fellow at National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute (MEI).

In an 18-page article titled “Battle for the Soul of Islam: Spotlight on the Gap Between Regimes and Populations,” Dr. Dorsey writes that “[s]hifting youth attitudes towards religion and religiosity threaten to undermine the rival efforts of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and, to a lesser degree, the United Arab Emirates, to cement their individual state-controlled interpretations of Islam as the Muslim world’s dominant religious narrative. Each of the rivals see their efforts as key to securing their autocratic or authoritarian rule as well as advancing their endeavors to carve out a place for themselves in a new world order in which power is being rebalanced. . . . Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2021_03_05_Humanitarian Islam, Evangelical Christianity, and the Clash of Civilizations

Global evangelical leader and scholar urges “Christians to develop extensive interfaith cooperation with Humanitarian Islam”

BONN, Germany, March 5, 2021: The world’s largest Protestant organization has endorsed the Humanitarian Islam movement as an essential vehicle for peacefully and definitively resolving “the Muslim-Christian clash of civilizations, which started almost 1,500 years ago.”

On the day that Pope Francis commenced an historic papal visit to Iraq — which included a meeting with the world’s preeminent Shi‘ite spiritual leader and a tour of Mosul, until recently a stronghold of the defeated ISIS caliphate — the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Theological Commission published Humanitarian Islam, Evangelical Christianity, and the Clash of Civilizations: A New Partnership for Peace and Religious Freedom. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2021_02_27 World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General

Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, friend of Humanitarian Islam, appointed as WEA Secretary General
Heir to a tradition of religious liberty and respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being
“It is only the prayer of millions, and the prayer of close friends… that makes it possible to take over a task which is too big for just one human being”

Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, stands with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf beside the Indonesian and NU flags (Jakarta, 2019)

BONN, Germany, February 27, 2021: Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher — co-founder of an initiative that unites evangelical Christians and the Humanitarian Islam movement in promoting religious freedom across the globe — has been appointed Secretary General & CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). Founded in 1846, WEA is the largest international organization of evangelical churches, representing over 600 million Protestants and national evangelical alliances in 140 countries. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2021_02_18_CDI Seeks to Deepen and Expand Cooperation with its Indonesian Sister Party, PKB

World’s Largest Political Network Commends Indonesia for Appointing Humanitarian Islam Co-founder as its Minister of Religious Affairs
A major step “in realizing our shared aspirations for a better world.”
Observers hail Minister’s swift action in defense of women’s rights, religious minorities and Indonesia’s Constitution

BRUSSELS, February 18, 2021: The Executive Committee of the world’s largest political network, Centrist Democrat International (CDI), has unanimously adopted a formal statement praising the appointment of Humanitarian Islam co-founder H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas (“Gus Yaqut”) as Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs. The appointment has been widely hailed by analysts as evidence of a growing determination by the government of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to combat Islamist extremism, uphold the Constitution and defend Indonesia’s ancient traditions of religious pluralism and tolerance. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2021_01_14_How to Make the Islamic World Less Radical

Recontextualize the teachings of Islam to address extremism—and to inspire reform.

By Yahya Cholil Staquf   |   Jan. 14, 2021

Members of Nahdlatul Ulama, the biggest Muslim organization in Indonesia, hold a mass prayer to welcome Ramadan in Jakarta, June 14, 2015. PHOTO: ADEK BERRY/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Nearly a generation after 9/11, the world has made little progress in freeing itself from the threat of radical Islam. For every Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the U.S. eliminates, 100 radicals pop up.

Horrendous violence has engulfed much of the Islamic world, from Central Asia through the Middle East to Africa. It also erupts periodically on the streets of London, Paris and New York. As of 2019, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency alone maintained watch lists comprising over 35,000 Islamist terror suspects believed to pose a threat to the U.K.

Why is the modern world plagued by Islamic extremism? Why do al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Islamic State display such savagery? Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2021_01_07_Commission on Unalienable Rights: Lessons Learned

Last month, the head of the world’s largest independent Muslim organization sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a gracious letter thanking him for his recent visit to Indonesia — home to the world’s largest Muslim population — to discuss the report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights.

The visit and the letter vindicate Secretary Pompeo’s decision in the summer of 2019 to establish the commission to review the principles of freedom that inform America’s founding commitment to the rights inherent in all persons. By recounting the history of those universal principles and of the United States’ struggle to honor them at home and champion them abroad, the commission aimed to call Americans to what is best in our country’s traditions and to invite other peoples and nations to draw on their own heritages to renew a shared dedication to human rights. The secretary’s Jakarta visit and the letter from the general secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) furnish an inspiring example of the exciting opportunities for which the commission’s work has laid the foundations. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2021_01_07_Co-founder of the Humanitarian Islam Movement Appointed as Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs

“Religion should be an inspiration for society, not a vehicle for the political aspirations of those who seek worldly power”
Antara News: “Yaqut is an active leader of GP Ansor, and has an extensive network stretching from the very center of power all the way to Indonesia’s grass roots”

PRESIDENTIAL PALACE, JAKARTA, Indonesia: On December 22, 2020, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) appointed H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas (“Gus Yaqut”) —Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama’s 5-million-member young adults organization, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, and co-founder of the global Humanitarian Islam movement — as Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs. The appointment, which received viral coverage across Indonesian print, broadcast and social media, signals the Jokowi administration’s determination to block the political weaponization of Islam and neutralize its potentially destabilizing effects in the run-up to Indonesia’s 2024 national elections. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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POLITICAL COMMUNIQUÉS – 2020

2020_12_01_Hudson Institute’s Current Trends in Islamist Ideology:

“Nahdlatul Ulama has emerged as a formidable challenger to powerful state actors in the battle for the soul of Islam”
“The [Humanitarian Islam] movement has gone beyond paying lip service to notions of tolerance and pluralism with the issuance of fatwas intended to re-contextualize the faith by eliminating categories like infidels”

Indonesian Muslims wearing masks and maintaining social distance perform Friday prayer at the At-Tin Grand Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia on June 5, 2020. (Eko Siswono Toyudho/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C.: A leading U.S. think tank has published an in-depth analysis of “The Battle for the Soul of Islam,” reporting that Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama has emerged as a formidable contender in the Islamic world’s competition for religious soft power and leadership — capable of operating on the same level as states such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Iran.

The 18-page article by Dr. James M. Dorsey — a Middle East expert who is a senior fellow at prominent universities in Singapore, Germany and Israel — appeared in the journal Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, which is published by Hudson Institute’s Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_11_23_Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary helps shape British grand strategy for the emerging “Eurasian century”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison:
“In 1941 Europe was certainly in the cockpit of history. Now in the 21st century the Indo-Pacific will shape the destiny of the world.”
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan:
“I warmly welcome today’s report from the Policy Exchange Indo-Pacific Commission” which “chart[s] out a path of renewed British engagement in the region [and] points the way towards a truly globally co-operative era”

LONDON, United Kingdom and CANBERRA, Australia, November 23, 2020: Current and former Prime Ministers from four of the world’s most economically powerful countries have endorsed recommendations contained within a landmark report on the future of the Indo-Pacific Region (IPR). Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, helped shape key elements of the 52-page strategic plan, which was warmly received by 10 Downing Street, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Britain’s Parliament. Mr. Staquf serves as one of 16 members of the Indo-Pacific Commission, which is chaired by former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In a major foreign policy speech that accompanied the launch of the Commission’s report, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed “the UK’s acknowledgment of the strategic significance of the Indo-Pacific Region” and said: “I endorse the report’s vision for a reinvigorated community of free and independent nations with a single overriding goal, namely: to reinforce a sustainable rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific that is resilient but adaptable to the great power realities of the 21st century.” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_10_29_U.S. Secretary of State Praises Nahdlatul Ulama, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, Humanitarian Islam and the Movement for Shared Civilizational Values

“Indonesia has an incredible reach and potential as a force for good in the region and indeed throughout the entire world.”
“I am ecstatic to be part of this event today.”

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo addressing leaders of the global Humanitarian Islam movement, while observing COVID-19 social distancing restrictions

JAKARTA, Indonesia (October 29, 2020): U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivered a major speech in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and democracy, at an event hosted by Nahdlatul Ulama’s 5-million-member young adults movement, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, and Bayt ar-Rahmah, which coordinates the global expansion of NU and Ansor activities.

Titled “Nurturing the Shared Civilizational Aspirations of Islam Rahmatan li al-‘Alamin, the Republic of Indonesia and the United States of America,” the event took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and was part of a two-day forum attended by top leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama, Ansor, the Government of Indonesia, the U.S. Department of State and all six of Indonesia’s major religions. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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Al-Arab (The Arabs), a leading Arabic-language newspaper founded in 1977

2020_10_27_Indonesia is Washington’s Gateway for Promoting Islamic Reform

Supporting local Islamic groups is an American recipe for confronting fundamentalism.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Local groups lead the battle for Islam’s renewal

Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama—an Islamic mass movement—is hosting a two-day conference in the capital Jakarta to explore the “shared civilizational aspirations” of Indonesia, the United States and Islam. The event will be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is pushing his administration to promote Islamic reform.

JAKARTA: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is determined to strengthen the efforts of the world’s largest Islamic mass movement to reform the faith’s prevailing religious discourse. The Secretary of State will be visiting Indonesia during the last leg of a tour of three Asian nations, as U.S. strategy increasingly focuses upon supporting tajdid (renewal) movements capable of accomplishing Islamic reform and mobilizing Muslim communities against radicalism and terror.

Local religious groups such as Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the Muhammadiyah—which has distanced itself from its Salafist origins—and the Sufi-oriented Movement for Support and Guidance play a key role in supporting Indonesian government efforts to foster widespread rejection of radicalism and extremism. The main goal of these mass movements is to promote the peaceful and moderate face of Islam and—thanks to their extensive social work caring for the poor and orphans, establishing religious schools, and preserving Indonesian social unity—they enjoy widespread popular support in this endeavor. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_10_01_World’s largest political network promotes global solidarity in response to COVID-19 crisis

CDI endorses Humanitarian Islam’s call to embrace “the spirit of cooperation rather than conflict, within and between civilizations”

CDI President Andrés Pastrana Arango

BRUSSELS, Belgium, October 1, 2020: Gathering virtually for the first time in its 59-year history, Centrist Democrat International’s (CDI) Executive Committee has adopted a resolution to address “the widespread social isolation, economic hardship, despair, fear and anger triggered by the COVID-19 crisis in societies across the globe.”

The call to action was issued in a Resolution on promoting solidarity and respect among the diverse people, cultures and nations of the world, unanimously passed by the Executive Committee of CDI—a center-right coalition spanning 73 nations that includes the European Union’s largest and most successful political group, the European People’s Party (EPP), and many ruling parties in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Antonio López-Istúriz White—Secretary General of both CDI and EPP—warmly thanked leaders of Indonesia’s Humanitarian Islam movement for drafting the resolution. He also expressed his appreciation for the Indonesians’ having recognized Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain’s role in laying the foundations of a rules-based international order in the aftermath of WWII, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Second Vatican Council and the establishment of the European Community. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_09_23_Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary at the 75th United Nations General Assembly

Hailed as key partner in an emerging values-driven alliance to “foster respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being”
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo:
“We must rediscover the nature of human rights, and we must have the courage to defend them. Your presence here today gives me great confidence that we are up to that task.”

NU General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf addressed UN delegates at two events broadcast live by the U.S. Department of State during High Level Week of the 75th UN General Assembly

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK CITY, 23 and 25 September 2020: There are growing indications that the U.S. Department of State has begun to mobilize its extensive diplomatic capacity to foster awareness of Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf and the Humanitarian Islam movement he co-founded. The Indonesian religious leader is increasingly viewed in Western political circles as a potential lynchpin in an effort to forge a global, values-driven alliance dedicated to strengthening the rules-based international order and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) at a time of increased geopolitical uncertainty and rising human rights abuse.

Over the past year, the State Department has increased both the level and intensity of its diplomatic outreach to Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), coordinating closely with Mr. Staquf on matters related to fundamental human rights, including religious freedom. These efforts are set to continue with a planned visit to Indonesia in October of 2020 by U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, his Director of Policy Planning, Peter Berkowitz, and Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, Chair of the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights. The U.S. delegation will be hosted by Mr. Staquf and Nahdlatul Ulama’s 5-million-member young adults organization, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, which co-founded the Humanitarian Islam movement. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_09_17_Evangelical Review of Theology

A Case for Ethical Cooperation between Evangelical Christians and Humanitarian Islam

Senior World Evangelical Alliance theologians at the headquarters of Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, Nahdlatul Ulama’s 5-million-member young adults organization, in November of 2019. Dr. Thomas Johnson appears seated to the left of NU General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf (center).

BONN, Germany (August 1, 2020): The flagship theological journal of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)—which represents 600 million Christians in 130 nations—has published an extensive analysis of the Humanitarian Islam movement that concludes: “Though we understand and relate to God in very different ways. . . [t]he level of philosophical agreement between evangelical Christians and Humanitarian Islam demonstrated in this paper justifies a concerted joint effort to build a world in which religious faith can flourish for the benefit of humanity.”

The 14-page essay, titled “A Case for Ethical Cooperation between Evangelical Christians and Humanitarian Islam,” was published by Evangelical Review of Theology: the World Evangelical Alliance’s Journal of Theology and Contemporary Application. Its author, Dr. Thomas K. Johnson, describes Humanitarian Islam as “a philosophically sophisticated response to some of the crucial questions of our era” which “fully accepts the existence of multiple religious communities within one country, with the hope that those communities and their members can flourish together.” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_08_18_The Islamic Religious Community of Italy (COREIS): “Hagia Sophia unites Christians and Muslims across the globe

“The largest international political network, inspired by Christianity, allies with the world’s largest Islamic organization to denounce the political weaponization of religion”

Home page of the Islamic Religious Community of Italy (COREIS) featuring an image of Hagia Sophia, flanked by the European Union headquarters in Brussels and Baiturrahman Mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia

MILAN, Italy / August 18, 2020: Two days before the Islamic New Year (1 Muharram 1442 AH) Imam Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini—President of the Islamic Religious Community of Italy (COREIS)—published a message from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf to the 1.4 million Muslims who live in Italy.

In an article that accompanied the NU General Secretary’s message, COREIS welcomed the recent adoption—by Centrist Democrat International (CDI) and the European People’s Party (EPP)—of a statement issued by the NU-based National Awakening Party (PKB) of Indonesia. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_08_14_Indonesia Religious Freedom Landscape Report

Religious Freedom Institute:
“Bayt ar-Rahmah’s devout Muslim leaders represent the most theologically potent and operationally effective actors promoting religious liberty in the Islamic world today”

WASHINGTON, D.C.: On August 14, 2020, the U.S.-based Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) published a groundbreaking study titled Indonesia Religious Freedom Landscape Report 2020, which employs a revolutionary analytical framework based on the principle of “positive deviance.”

The report states that: “Despite the existence of major threats and challenges to religious freedom in Indonesia, it is nevertheless home to powerful actors that are systematically and institutionally maneuvering to strengthen the prospects of religious liberty in Indonesia, the Indosphere, and the world at large. Viewed from a regional or even global perspective, Indonesia thus embodies what scholars of child nutrition in the developing world—beginning in the 1960s and 1970s—came to describe as ‘positive deviance.’” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_08_06_Europe’s Largest and Most Influential Political Network Responds to Inflammatory Remarks by Turkish President

“With his call to revive Islamic supremacism, President Erdogan is stoking a fire that threatens to engulf the entire world
“The global resurgence of identity politics is progressively undermining the rules-based international order and fragile consensus on human rights”

Sultan Mehmet II triumphally enters Constantinople in 1453 (Benjamin Constant)

BRUSSELS, Belgium: On July 22, 2020, members of the largest political networks in the world, and Europe, set aside long-standing differences to join Indonesia’s National Awakening Party, PKB, in a call for “Muslims and people of good will of every faith and nation to prevent the political weaponization of religion.”

Centrist Democrat International (CDI) adopted—and the European People’s Party (EPP) publicly endorsed—a PKB statement issued in response to inflammatory remarks by President Erdogan of Turkey regarding the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_07_30_Middle East Analyst James Dorsey:
“Indonesia: A Major Prize in the Battle for the Soul of Islam”

“This is the Saudis playing a double game”

Representatives of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth open one of dozens of mosques recently constructed in Central Java. The transformation of the Indonesian landscape has been continuously progressing for over two generations.

SINGAPORE: On July 30, 2020, veteran correspondent, Middle East expert and senior fellow at Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Dr. James Dorsey, published a hard-hitting analysis of Saudi policy in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and democracy titled, “Indonesia: A Major Prize in the Battle for the Soul of Islam.”

The article, which first appeared in the U.S.-based online magazine Inside Arabia, reveals that “Saudi support of religious ultra-conservatism in Indonesia contradicts Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s promotion of an undefined form of moderate Islam intended to project his kingdom as tolerant, innovative, and forward-looking. It also suggests that Saudi Arabia is willing to work with the Muslim Brotherhood despite its denunciation of the group as a terrorist organization.” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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