2020_03_09_The Trial: the strange case of Trevor Phillips

How the accusation of Islamophobia is used to stifle free speech

NU General Secretary defends British anti-racism campaigner
Longest-serving Muslim Member of Parliament concurs: “The Labour Party… seems to be intent on wielding [accusations of Islamophobia] as a weapon for rooting out ‘difficult’ voices.”

Trevor Phillips, anti-racism campaigner and former chair of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission

LONDON, United Kingdom: On March 9, 2020, Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary and co-founder of the global Humanitarian Islam movement, KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf (“Gus Yahya”), defended one of the UK’s most respected anti-racism campaigners from accusations of Islamophobia, in the epilogue to a comprehensive report by premier British think tank Policy Exchange. In doing so, the Indonesian Islamic scholar added his authoritative voice to that of prominent center-left and center-right UK figures in confronting the political weaponization of Islam, which threatens to drag Muslim communities into the highly polarized and increasingly lethal “culture wars” roiling much of the West. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_03_09_World Security Forum

“This version of Islam. . . is just the opposite of our prejudices and stereotypes”
Short film documents political breakthrough, establishing “a concrete basis for cooperation between Islamic countries and Western, Christian democratic nations”
“This is key for the European Union”

VIENNA, Austria: The Vienna-based World Security Forum has released a short film (09’38”) that documents the transformative impact of “Humanitarian Islam” upon European perceptions of the Islamic faith, and its potential to reshape political and socio-cultural relations between the Muslim world and the West.

The film was shot on location in and around Yogyakarta, Indonesia—the heartland of traditional Javanese culture—during a gathering of the world’s largest political network, Centrist Democrat International (CDI).

Those familiar with current political dynamics in Europe may be surprised by, and will probably recognize the significance of, Zsolt Németh—Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Hungary’s National Assembly—stating: “It is high time to realize that we have bad, negative stereotypes about Islam. Partially, this can be explained, but we should extend our attention to Indonesia, the biggest—and democratic—Islamic country in the world.” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_02_27_Muslim World League

Secretary General of Saudi-based Muslim World League Praises Nahdlatul Ulama Initiatives to Foster Peace and Harmony in the Global Arena
Visit to NU headquarters in Jakarta comes amid intense competition for religious and political authority in the Muslim world

Muhammad bin Adul Karim Al Issa (center) with KH. Said Aqil Siradj, Chairman of the NU Executive Board (center right); KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council (center left); and H. Hilmy Feisal, General Secretary of the NU Executive Board (far right), photo courtesy of Tempo magazine

JAKARTA, Indonesia: 27 February 2020. For the first time in the 58-year history of the Saudi-backed Muslim World League (MWL), its Secretary General visited the headquarters of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). The NU was founded in 1926 in direct response to the Saudi/Wahhabi conquest of Mecca and Medina, in order to preserve the spiritual traditions of Sunni Islam by blocking the spread of Wahhabi extremism in Maritime Southeast Asia (i.e., the Malay Archipelago).

The visit comes at a time of intense rivalry between Middle East powers—including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Turkey and Iran—for political and religious authority, as reflected in the wars raging in Syria, Libya and Yemen, and intense maneuvering to influence governments and civil society throughout the Muslim world and the West. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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Centrist Democrat International (CDI) meeting in Indonesia with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban attending.

2020_01_26_Drawing Battle Lines: Center-Right Parties Take On Civilizationalism

January 26, 2020   |   James M. Dorsey

The Centrist Democrat International (CDI), in an attempt to counter the rise of civilizationalist states and leaders, has called for the creation of an alliance of nations, political parties and faith groups, that would seek to ensure that politics and international relations remain grounded in humanitarian values at a time of increasingly unimpeded violations of international law and human rights abuse.

CDI’s call carries weight given that it is the world’s largest coalition of almost 100 political parties from across the globe, including ruling parties in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere ranging from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union to Fidesz, the party of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, a professed illiberal who envisions his country as a Christian nation.

The call takes on added significance because it was issued by a group that traces its roots to European and Latin American Christian democracy at a meeting in Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy and its most populous majority Muslim country, hosted by the largest Indonesian Islamic political party, the National Awakening Party (PKB). Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_01_24_Western Humanism, Christian Democracy and Humanitarian Islam: An Alliance for the 21st Century

World’s largest political network seeks to preserve, and strengthen, a rules-based international order founded upon universal ethics and humanitarian values
Results of the CDI Executive Committee Meeting and Eurasia Forum Held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (22 – 25 January 2020)

Indonesia is emerging as a major force within the geopolitical arena for the first time since the 1950s, as the Humanitarian Islam movement forges religious, socio-cultural and political alliances globally (photo of Indonesia’s State Palace in Jakarta, courtesy of the government of Hungary)

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: From 22 – 25 January 2020, political leaders from across the world’s cultural, geographic and religious divides gathered to address the profound ethical and strategic implications of a long-term shift in the global economic and geopolitical center of gravity away from the North Atlantic and towards Eurasia. Hosted by Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party (PKB), the world’s most extensive political network—Centrist Democrat International, or CDI—held its Executive Committee meeting in Asia for the first time in 15 years. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_01_24_Indonesia’s Contribution to the Future of Civilization

Speech by H. Muhaimin Iskandar
Chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB)
and Deputy Speaker of the People’s Representative Council, Republic of Indonesia

Delivered before the Executive Committee of Centrist Democrat International (CDI) and assembled dignitaries at the CDI Eurasia Forum

24 January 2020, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

H. Muhaimin Iskandar (second from left) with Indonesian Vice President KH. Ma‘ruf Amin; Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuono X; CDI President Andrés Pastrana Arango and Centrist Democrat International/European People’s Party Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz White, strolling to the venue where Mr. Iskandar delivered his keynote speech, Indonesia’s Contribution to the Future of Civilization

Note: Founded in 1998 by the spiritual leadership of Nahdlatul Ulama, PKB is the largest Islamic political party in Indonesia and a coalition partner within the government of President Joko Widodo.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, many of whom have travelled thousands of miles to be here today: may the peace, mercy and blessings of God be with you.

When preparing for the establishment of Indonesia as an independent nation state, our founding fathers did not concern themselves merely with the fate of Indonesia, while ignoring the rest of the world. The profound religious, philosophical, ethical and political principles upon which they established our nation were not designed to promote the interests of Indonesia alone. Our founders contemplated the future of the entire world—proffering a set of noble aspirations that others could embrace, while striving to create a more dignified and auspicious future for all human beings, and for civilization as a whole. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_01_16_Abrahamic Faiths Initiative

“Religions should serve as a basis for resolving problems, not creating them.”
Pope Francis to Visit Indonesia in 2020

NU General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, center, invited his fellow theologians to “reflect honestly upon the role that obsolete and problematic religious teachings play in many contemporary conflicts. . . threatening humanity and even the future of civilization itself.”

ROME, Italy and VATICAN CITY: From 14 – 16 January 2020, eighteen Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders gathered to explore potential avenues of cooperation between the various Abrahamic faiths, in order to address a rapidly metastasizing global crisis that is strongly colored by animosity and violence between rival ethnic and religious groups. The two-day event, convened at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome under Chatham House Rule, included prominent religious scholars and the heads of major faith communities from Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America.

Participants included Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and all Palestine; Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf (“Gus Yahya”), General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council; prominent Shi’ite scholar Sayyed Yousif al-Khoei; Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, Chairman of the UAE Fatwa Council; Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee; Reverend Thomas K. Johnson, who serves as the World Evangelical Alliance’s Special Envoy to the Vatican and to Humanitarian Islam; and Sam Brownback, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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POLITICAL COMMUNIQUÉS – 2019

2019_11_21_Top EU Figures Welcome Leaders of the Humanitarian Islam Movement to Political Summit in Zagreb

A “Values-driven” Alliance to Promote Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights, and Defend a Rules-based International Order from Authoritarian Threats

ZAGREB, Croatia: On 20 and 21 November, 2019, leaders of the global Humanitarian Islam movement joined nearly 2,500 members of Europe’s largest and most successful political group—the European People’s Party (EPP)—who gathered in the Western Balkans nation of Croatia to elect new leaders for the 2019 to 2022 period, and to discuss EPP priorities for the new Parliamentary term in Brussels.

Senior Indonesian political and religious figures attended the European People’s Party Congress as guests of EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz White. Their participation signifies an unexpected and potentially momentous geopolitical development, as European and Indonesian leaders have begun to articulate, and adopt, key elements of a shared humanitarian agenda rooted in universal values, as well as spiritual and philosophical principles derived from the Christian and Islamic faith traditions. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2019_11_11_Rising Tide of International Recognition for the Humanitarian Islam Movement

Middle East Expert Hails “Revolutionary Move” that “Challenges Historic Pattern” Within the Muslim World

MELBOURNE, Australia: On November 11, 2019, Dr. Giora Eliraz—a prominent author and scholar who specializes in Middle Eastern and Indonesian Islam—added his voice to a rapidly growing array of policy experts, journalists, government figures and other opinion leaders highlighting the significance of the global Humanitarian Islam movement and its campaign to recontextualize (i.e., reform) obsolete and problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy that enjoin religious hatred, supremacy and violence.

Dr. Eliraz’s analysis, detailed in an article titled “A distinctive Islamic voice against extremism” (below), constitutes the latest in a series of high-profile commentaries from across the world’s political and religious divides that have begun to acknowledge the potentially historic significance of the Humanitarian Islam movement. These diverse voices include key figures from within the Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant and Jewish communities worldwide; prominent African American Muslims; Nobel Laurate and East Timor independence leader H.E. José Ramos-Horta; Vice President of the United States, Michael R. Pence; Indonesian President Joko Widodo; leaders of the European Parliament’s two largest political groupings (EPP and S&D); and veteran foreign correspondent, Middle East expert and Senior Fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Dr. James M. Dorsey. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2019_11_01_Pakistan’s Newspaper of Record Praises Nahdlatul Ulama for Addressing a Deep-seated Problem Within the Muslim Tradition

Turkish author and frequent New York Times contributor Mustafa Akyol lauds the NU’s vision for a “humanitarian Islam”

KARACHI, Pakistan: On November 1, 2019, Pakistan’s oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, Dawn (est. 1941), published an opinion piece commending the General Secretary of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama—KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf—for his role in promoting the global Humanitarian Islam movement. This movement seeks to recontextualize (i.e., reform) problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy that encourage discrimination and violence against non-Muslims, and to restore rahmah (universal love and compassion) to its rightful place as the primary message of Islam.

The article—reproduced below, with external links added by Bayt ar-Rahmah—was written by Mustafa Akyol, a prominent Turkish author, political commentator, frequent New York Times contributor and senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2019_10_16_World First: Nahdlatul Ulama Abolishes the Legal Category of “Infidel” within Islamic Law

Unprecedented Rulings Issued by the Highest Authority of the World’s Largest Muslim Organization
Historic Effort to “Transform the Prevailing ‘Muslim Mindset,’ for the Sake of World Peace and to Achieve a Harmonious Communal Life for All Mankind

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia delivers the opening address at the 2019 National Conference of NU Religious Scholars, (“2019 Munas”) in the presence of top theologians from Indonesia and the Middle East

BANJAR, West Java and JAKARTA, Indonesia: In a major break with Islamic conservatism, the world’s largest Muslim movement—Nahdlatul Ulama—has abolished the legal category of infidels, those who do not adhere to Islam, which has long cast a shadow over the faith’s relationships with other religions.

The Central Board of the Indonesian movement recently published documents, based on a gathering of some 20,000 Muslim religious scholars (“2019 Munas”) that endorsed the concept of a nation state rather than caliphate and recognized all citizens irrespective of religion, ethnicity or creed as having equal rights and obligations.

The documents decreed that the modern nation state is theologically legitimate; that there is no legal category of infidel (kafir) within a modern nation state, only ‘fellow citizens’; that Muslims must obey the laws of any modern nation state in which they dwell; and that Muslims have a religious obligation to foster peace rather than automatically wage war on behalf of their co-religionists, whenever conflict erupts between Muslim and non-Muslim populations anywhere in the world. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_10_11_Christian Democrats and Humanitarian Muslims Unite to “Shape the Geopolitical Landscape of the 21st Century”

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

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

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

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

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

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2019_09_25_Pope Francis to NU Leaders: “Pray for me and I shall pray for you. We are all brothers.”

“Humanitarian Islam and its foundational texts represent a compelling moral, ethical and theological basis for close cooperation between Nahdlatul Ulama and the Roman Catholic Church”
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue welcomes opportunity to “renew our close relationship” with NU spiritual leaders

Pope Francis and NU General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf discuss the foundational texts of the Humanitarian Islam movement, following a general audience at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican

VATICAN CITY: On September 24 and 25, 2019, a delegation of Indonesian Muslim and Roman Catholic leaders met with senior Vatican officials to discuss the global Humanitarian Islam movement and possible cooperation with the Vatican in promoting a shared humanist agenda. The multi-faith delegation was jointly led by Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf (“Gus Yahya”), Religious Affairs Advisor to the President of Indonesia and General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization—Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)—and Monseigneur Agustinus Agus, the Archbishop of Pontianak in West Kalimantan (Borneo).

The delegation also included the senior-most leadership of Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, NU’s 5-million-member young adults movement; scholars from of one of Indonesia’s most prestigious Islamic boarding schools, PP. Krapyak; a group of Dominican priests; and Indonesian businessman Paulus Totok Lusida. Senior journalists from Indonesia’s two leading print media groups, Kompas and Jawa Pos, accompanied the delegation and covered its meetings in depth. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_09_16_Chairman of Indonesia’s Largest Islamic Political Party Champions Humanitarian Islam in the UK

Deputy Speaker of Indonesia’s Parliament Advises UK Government Officials on Issues Related to Islam, Security and Migration

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, H. Muhaimin Iskandar and Dean Godson, the executive director of Policy Exchange

LONDON, United Kingdom: On September 16, 2019, H. Muhaimin Iskandar—Deputy Speaker of Indonesia’s upper legislative assembly (MPR) and General Chairman of its largest Islamic-based political party (PKB)—arrived in London for private talks with key policymakers within the administration of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Mr. Iskandar, whose political party is rooted in Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, was accompanied by C. Holland Taylor, who serves as Emissary for the UN, Americas and Europe for Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, NU’s 5-million-member young adults movement. Thomas Dinham—Director of Strategic Outreach for Bayt ar-Rahmah, a U.S.-based nonprofit headed by Mr. Taylor and Nahdlatul Ulama’s spiritual leaders—also attended discussions. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_07_18_World Evangelical Alliance Envoy Highlights the Potentially Historic Significance of Humanitarian Islam

“A serious response to religiously motivated violence,” whose sophisticated theology “merits attention from scholars, diplomats and activists”

Speakers at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom roundtable event, “An Exploration of Religiously Motivated Violence,” from right to left: Faith McDonnell (Institute on Religion and Democracy); Dr. Thomas K. Johnson (International Institute for Religious Freedom); Dr. Paul Marshall (Hudson Institute); and Jacob Rudenstrand (Swedish Evangelical Alliance).

WASHINGTON, DC: On the morning of Thursday, July 18, 2019, Reverend Professor Thomas K. Johnson (above, speaking), Special Envoy to the Vatican and Senior Advisor on Religious Freedom for the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)—which represents more than 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide—delivered a penetrating analysis of the Humanitarian Islam movement and its theology on the sidelines of the U.S. State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. Hosted by the DC-based Institute on Religion & Democracy, which is affiliated with the WEA and forms part of its coalition of over 100 international organizations and churches present in 129 nations, the address was attended by a range of delegates to the Ministerial, including Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama and co-founder of the global Humanitarian Islam movement. Continue reading full communiqué with images. . .

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2019_07_18_African American Muslims Welcome Nahdlatul Ulama and Humanitarian Islam

NU General Secretary Delivers Nationwide Address to U.S. Muslims from Historic Mosque in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC: On the evening of Thursday, July 18, 2019, Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organization—delivered a sermon that was live-streamed to members of the African American Muslim community gathered in mosques, Islamic centers and homes throughout North America and abroad. Mr. Staquf spoke from the hallowed precincts of Masjid Muhammad, The Nation’s Mosque, home to the oldest Muslim community in Washington. Masjid Muhammad was the first mosque built from the ground up in America’s capital city by its citizens, and also the first in the U.S. built by descendants of enslaved African Americans. 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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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_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_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_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_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_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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