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Associated Press/ABC News: “In Israel, Indonesian Muslim leader risks backlash at home,” by Caron Creighton, June 11, 2018. “A leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization is visiting Israel this week, braving angry protests at home in order to spread what he calls a message of interfaith compassion.”

Associated Press/ABC News: “Indonesia Calls on Islamic Leaders to Promote Tolerant Islam,” May 9, 2016. “Indonesia’s vice president on Monday called on Islamic leaders to spread messages about a tolerant Islam to curb extremism that often springs from misinterpretation of Islamic teachings. Speaking at the opening of the International Summit of the Moderate Islamic Leaders, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he believes that youths who don’t have deep faith are susceptible to be militants, not for wealth or political cause, but rather as a ‘shortcut’ to heaven.”

Al Arabiya: “Indonesian cyber warriors seek to counter ISIS message,” May 10, 2016. “A group of Indonesian ‘cyber warriors’ sit glued to screens, as they send out messages promoting a moderate form of Islam in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Armed with laptops and smartphones, some 500 members of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) — one of the world’s biggest Muslim organizations — are seeking to counter ISIS messages.”

Al-Ahram: “Indonesian Islam,” by Muhammad Abul Fadl, deputy editor, Al-Ahram, June 11, 2015. “The vital role of the Nahdlatul Ulama stems from its success as a mediator between the Indonesian government and its people. The NU can maintain a harmonious relationship between the government and the people due to its spiritual values, political engagement and mass following, which combine a profound understanding of Islam with respect for the inherent variety of Indonesia’s countless local cultures. That is why the Nahdlatul Ulama has consistently nurtured the values of Islam Nusantara (East Indies Islam) for over a century, and is now poised to export its collective wisdom and experience throughout the world, for the benefit of humanity.” Al-Ahram (The Pyramids) is one of the oldest (est. 1875) and largest-circulation daily newspapers in the Arab world.

Al-Arab: “Indonesia is Washington’s Gateway for Promoting Islamic Reform,” October 27, 2020. “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.” Read the original Arabic-language article.

Al-Arab: “Political Horizons for Indonesian Islam,” by Muhammad Abul Fadl, June 15, 2015. “. . .the profoundly spiritual and tolerant worldview embodied in the term Islam Nusantara has begun to expand beyond its local framework to a global environment. Many lines of communication have been initiated between the Nahdlatul Ulama and various Western governments. [Spiritual leaders within] the Nahdlatul Ulama have begun to establish working relationships and operational nodes in many countries, operating under the organizational name, ‘Home of Divine Grace (Bayt ar-Rahmah).’ Each operational node propagates the model of tolerance embraced by the Nahdlatul Ulama—such as peaceful coexistence with others and respect for individuals’ right to privacy, including freedom of thought and conscience—and seeks to accomplish this by leveraging the profound humane and spiritual values that underlie and animate all religions.”

Al-Azhar: “Pope Francis Thanks Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam for his efforts in drafting the Document on Human Fraternity,” February 4, 2018. “In his Speech at the Global Conference of Human Fraternity held in Abu Dhabi, His Holiness Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, expressed his thanks to Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam, former Adviser to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.”

Al-Monitor: “Indonesian cleric’s call for compassion lost in controversy over Jerusalem visit,” by Eetta Prince-Gibson, June 19, 2018. “Yahya Staquf, an Indonesian cleric and secretary-general of the Jakarta-based Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, believes that “rahma,” meaning “compassion” or “mercy” in Arabic, can provide the basis for a political solution to the conflict between Israel and the Muslim world.”

The Algemeiner: “In Speech to Jewish Group, Leader of World’s Largest Muslim Organization Calls for Compassion,” by Benjamin Kerstein, June 10, 2018. “The leader of the world’s largest Muslim organization told a leading Jewish group on Sunday that religious people must seek to solve today’s violent conflicts and embrace “rachma” — compassion and caring for people.”

American Jewish Committee (video): “A Conversation with Yahya Cholil Staquf,” June 10, 2018.

American Jewish Committee: “Leader of World’s Largest Muslim Organization to Address AJC Global Forum in Jerusalem,” May 14, 2018. “‘We are deeply honored to host Pak Yahya on his groundbreaking journey to Israel at our Global Forum in Jerusalem,’ said AJC CEO David Harris. AJC, throughout its history, has spearheaded interreligious initiatives, with an ever-increasing focus on Muslim-Jewish relations.”

Antara News: “President inaugurates Staquf as Presidential Advisory Council member,” June 1, 2018. “‘It is my duty to accept the president’s request to join the Presidential Advisory Council. I will fulfill the task and duties as well as responsibilities as member of the council by following the proper procedures and ethics,’ Staquf added.”

Arabian Post: “Religious moderation falls by the wayside in Imran’s Pakistan,” by James M. Dorsey, January 2021. “Silent about rising sectarian violence in Pakistan, Gulf states vying for religious soft power risk exposing the limitations of their concepts of an undefined ‘moderate’ Islam that is tolerant and endorses pluralism.”

Arc of the Universe: “A Muslim John Courtney Murray?” by Daniel Philpott, July 17, 2020. “A recent article in Public Discourse decries the persecution of Christians in the Middle East at the hands of Muslims – written by a Muslim. Not just any Muslim, but rather Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the world’s largest movement of Muslims, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), whose ranks number 90 million. Staquf and the Nahdlatul Ulama are developing a doctrinal framework to produce changes in Islam much like those that took place in another religion – Catholicism.”

Arutz Sheva: “Indonesia’s once multiple ties with Israel,” by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, April 5, 2018. “His Excellency Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid served as president of Indonesia from 1999-2001. He is the only Indonesian president who visited Israel and did so a number of times. President Wahid was deeply aware of the cultural, historical, intellectual and spiritual dimensions of Judaism, as well as the intimate religious and linguistic connections between Judaism/Islam and Hebrew/Arabic.”

Asia News: “Muslim cleric visits Israel and meets Netanyahu, sparking anger among radicals,” by Mathias Hariyadi, June 18, 2018. “The visit to Israel by an important Islamic cleric has sparked criticism from the radical movements in the world’s most populous Islamic country. Yahya Cholil Staquf…  gave a presentation at a Jewish Forum and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.”

Asia One: “Indonesia plans global Buddhist site at Borobudur temple,” by Amy Chew, July 11, 2021. “Indonesia , the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, is seeking to preserve and promote the mystical 9th-century Buddhist Borobudur temple in Central Java amid growing intolerance, raising hopes it could escape the fate of Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Buddha statues. Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said Borobudur occupied a significant place of respect for Buddhists and officials were studying how to promote ceremonies “which Asia One 2 can be attended by Buddhists all over the world”, as part of plans to strengthen moderation in the country.”

Asia Society: “Asia Game Changer Awards – The Founders of Koolulam,” August 23, 2018. “Bringing disparate groups together is central to the mission of Koolulam, a self-described ‘social musical initiative’ whose name is a portmanteau combining the Hebrew words for ‘ululation’ and ‘everyone.’ The June 14 concert in Jerusalem was held in honor of Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, secretary general of the world’s largest independent Muslim organization, the Indonesian-based Nahdlatul Ulama, which boasts 60 million members.”

Asian Affairs: “Tears, Anger and Solidarity,” by Duncan Bartlett, April, 2019. “The General Secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organisation, is worried that the New Zealand attacks will create more hatred and division. Yahya Cholil Staquf insists that solidarity across racial, religious, cultural and political lines is the appropriate way to try to prevent this. But he says that, as a Muslim, he faces challenging questions that require difficult but honest answers. ‘The targeting of Muslims at prayer in Christchurch comes after nearly two decades during which Islamist atrocities have been a pervasive feature of news bulletins around the world. The massacre in New Zealand would likely be inconceivable if divorced from this wider context in which Islam has become synonymous with terror in the minds of many non-Muslims,’ Mr Staquf told the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. His message to his fellow Muslims is to reject interpretations of the religion which justify hatred and violence.”

Associated Press (AP): “The Big Story”, “Indonesia calls on Islamic leaders to promote tolerant Islam,” May 9, 2016. “Indonesia’s vice president on Monday called on Islamic leaders to spread messages about a tolerant Islam to curb extremism that often springs from misinterpretation of Islamic teachings. Speaking at the opening of the International Summit of the Moderate Islamic Leaders, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he believes that youths who don’t have deep faith are susceptible to be militants, not for wealth or political cause, but rather as a ‘shortcut’ to heaven.”

The Atlantic: “ISIS in the World’s Largest Muslim Country,” by Edward Delman, January 3, 2016. “In November, The New York Times pointed to one factor behind the muted response to ISIS in Indonesia: Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), an Islamic organization that claims to have 50 million members. NU preaches an Islam of compassion, inclusivity, and tolerance of other faiths, as opposed to ISIS’s fundamentalist, Wahhabi-inspired theology. ‘We are directly challenging the idea of ISIS, which wants Islam to be uniform, meaning that if there is any other idea of Islam that is not following their ideas, those people are infidels who must be killed,’ Yahya Cholil Staquf, the general secretary to the NU supreme council, told the Times.”

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council: “A distinctive Islamic voice against extremism,” by Giora Eliraz, November 11, 2019. “Over the past few years, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia and probably in the world, has engaged in a global campaign aimed at countering religious extremism, advancing harmony and understanding between civilisations and curtailing Islamophobia. This campaign, which is supported by the Indonesian Government, carries the theme of Islam Nusantara (Islam of the Indonesian Archipelago). It’s led by several institutions and forums, two of them US-based, devoted to the progressive humanitarian legacy of late Abdurrahman Wahid (1940-2009), NU’s former charismatic leader and the first democratically-elected president of Indonesia. AIJAC 2 Yahya Cholil Staquf, the distinguished Muslim scholar who is Secretary-General of NU’s Supreme Council, is the leading figure in the campaign.”

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Radio National (audio): “Islam and Christchurch,” April 1, 2019. Amanda Vanstone interviews Yahya Cholil Staquf:

The Australian: “Indonesian online warriors pulling the beard of radical Islam,” by Amanda Hodge, March 30, 2016. “When the head of Indonesia’s largest and most moderate Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, joked that men with beards tend to be stupid—and the longer the beard the more stupid the man—there was apparently method in his madness.”

The Australian: “Nahdlatul Ulama: Indonesia’s antidote to Islamism’s feral fringe,” by Peter Alford, December 15, 2015. “The message to vulnerable Muslim communities everywhere is ‘NU is here to help’, Supreme Council secretary-general Yahya Cholil Staquf told The Weekend Australian. ‘We know this threat, we have been fighting it for almost 90 years — it’s our daily business to face them,’ said Haji Yahya. ‘We know how they think, we know who they are, we know how they operate.’

The Australian/AAP: “Scholars set to tackle Muslim ‘orthodoxy’,” by Lauren Farrow, May 20,2017. “While radicalism is not new in Indonesia, NU’s Supreme Council general secretary, Yahya Cholil Staquf, told AAP the movement is clearly becoming stronger. In the hopes of coming up with a strategy to combat extremism and rising Islamophobia, more than 400 scholars from Indonesia, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and America are expected to attend a conference in East Java on Sunday and Monday. Through theological debate, Mr. Staquf said they hope to challenge some of the ‘problematic’ elements of Islam, which are being promoted by the ultra-conservative orthodoxy.”

BBC: “Indonesia bans forced religious attire in schools,” February 6, 2021. “Indonesia has banned public schools from making religious attire compulsory, after the story of a Christian student being pressured to wear a headscarf in class went viral. . . . At a media briefing on the decree on Wednesday, religious affairs minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas was quoted as saying: “Religions do not promote conflict, neither do they justify acting unfairly against those who are different.”

BBC: “Government rejects Islamophobia definition ahead of debate,” May 15, 2019. “The government has rejected a definition of Islamophobia created by a cross-party group of MPs. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims wanted to define it to tackle what it called a ‘social evil’. But a government spokesman said the wording needed ‘further careful consideration’ and had ‘not been broadly accepted’. The secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Harun Khan, called the decision ‘truly extraordinary’.”

Beritagar: Conversation with Kyai Yahya Staquf: ‘I still have ingrained prejudice against Jews.’ He doesn’t care if others attack him. He had only one goal in visiting Israel: to continue Gus Dur’s work,” by Heru Triyono, July 2, 2018. “Lately, Yahya has attracted a different kind of attention. . . because of his recent visit to Israel, which many perceived as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. He was cursed, bullied online and even denounced as a treasonous cockroach. ‘That’s ok with me’ he told the four journalists who interviewed him at Harlow Brasserie in Kuningan, Jakarta on Monday (25/6/2018).”

Bild: “Islam is Linked to Terrorism,” August 21, 2017. “It is an alarm call – from an authoritative source: ‘There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terror and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy.’ That is what the Islamic scholar Yahya C. Staquf said in a recent interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Staquf is not just anyone. In fact, he’s General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization, the Indonesia-based Nahdlatul Ulama (40 million followers).

Black Christian News Network: “Pence & Johnnie Moore Meet Leader of Indonesia’s Largest Muslim Group Days After ISIS Church Bombings,” May 18, 2018. “Just days after the spate of deadly suicide bombings targeting three churches and a police station in Surabaya, Indonesia, Vice President Mike Pence met with the leader of the world’s largest Islamic organization, [Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf], to stand in solidarity for religious freedom and peaceful coexistence.”

Bloomberg: “Indonesia’s Largest Islamic Group Seeks End to ‘Infidel’ Usage,” by Tassia Sipahutar and Arys Aditya, March 1, 2019. “Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, has issued a call to end the usage of “infidel” or “kafir” to refer to non-Muslims in state or citizenship matters, a move that may be aimed at calming religious tensions ahead of the presidential election.”

The Boston Globe: “Moderate Muslims reclaim their faith,” by The Editorial Board, December 11, 2015. “In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim group has embarked on an international effort to repudiate the jihadist teachings and ideology of the Islamic State. The group is Nahdlatul Ulama… Last month, NU released a 90-minute film that vigorously refutes ISIS and its Wahhabist-rooted fundamentalism.”

Breaking Israel News: “Israeli Music Project Koolulam Brings Jews, Christians and Muslims Together at Tower of David,” by Eliana Rudee, June 18, 2018. “Before the main Koolulam event, religious leaders gathered for a colloquium on how religion can serve as a bridge to mutual understanding, compassion and peace between people of all faiths and backgrounds in Israel. Hosted by Dr. Yehuda Stolov, CEO of the Interfaith Encounter Association, the meeting was attended by Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf (Pak Yahya), the Secretary General of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, which has more than 60 million members. According to Dr. Stolov, Sheikh Staquf promotes a ‘committed Islam, but an Islam of love and compassion, which is very important for Jews and Christians to meet.'”

Catholic News Agency: “Indonesian bishops say Palm Sunday cathedral bombing ‘disgraced human dignity’,” by Courtney Mares, March 29, 2021. “Hodri Ariev, an Indonesian Muslim leader within the Nahdlatul Ulama movement, told CNA that ‘eliminating the theology behind this bombing will require serious effort … and extensive cooperation between ulama (Islamic scholars) and the government’ in Indonesia.”

Catholic News Agency: “Prominent Muslim leader says global effort needed to promote ‘compassionate Islam’,” July 17, 2020. “The leader of the largest independent Muslim organization in the world says that a resurgence of fundamentalist Islam threatens not only non-Muslim minorities, but feeds a cycle of retaliatory violence against Muslims.”

Catholic News Agency: “2020 Pope Francis trip to Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea possible,” January 17, 2020. “A visit from Pope Francis to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and East Timor may happen in September, according to an Indonesian Muslim leader who met with the pope this week. Sheikh Yahya Cholil Staquf leads the 50 million member Nahdlatul Ulama movement, which calls for a reformed “humanitarian Islam” and has developed a theological framework for Islam that rejects the concepts of caliphate, Sharia law, and “kafir” (infidels).”

Catholic News Agency: “Muslim leader meets Pope Francis, calls for Islam that sees no ‘infidels’,” by Courtney Grogan, September 27, 2019. “The leader of the largest independent Muslim organization in the world met Pope Francis this week to present his vision for a more peaceful future and greater human fraternity.”

Channel News Asia: “Indonesia’s largest Muslim group joins battle against radical Islam,” by Sujadi Siswo, December 10, 2015. “‘This film was created to use technology in order to function as a loudspeaker and to easily propagate the traditional teachings of Islam that is a characteristic of not only Nusantara, or Indonesian Islam, but also the characteristics of the vast majority of Muslim population throughout the world,’ said C Holland Taylor, chairman and CEO of LibForAll Foundation.”

Channel News Asia: “Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation warns against politicians using Islam to win votes,” by Amy Chew, December 4, 2017. “‘There are political actors who have used Islam as a weapon and have succeeded (in winning elections). Using religion in a heterogeneous society (ends up) discriminating against people of other faiths,’ Yahya Staquf, secretary-general of NU, told Channel NewsAsia.”

Channel News Asia: “World’s largest Muslim youth organisation calls for re-examination of Islamic text,” by Amy Chew, May 22, 2017. “The world’s largest Muslim youth organisation Gerakan Pemuda Ansor (GP Ansor)—the youth wing of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation Nadlatul Ulama (NU)—on Monday (May 22) called for a re-examination of Islamic text to adapt it to modern civilisation.”

Christian Daily: “Indonesia demands the promotion of ‘tolerant Islam’,” by Christian Deguit, May 11, 2016. “The Southeast Asian country of Indonesia has called on Islamic leaders during the International Summit of the Moderate Islamic Leaders to spread messages promoting a tolerant Islam with hopes of suppressing extremism. Islam teachings are often misinterpreted, which causes extremism.”

The Christian Post: “Pence Meets Leader of Indonesia’s Largest Muslim Group Days After ISIS Church Bombings,” by Samuel Smith, May 18, 2018.  “‘The vice president found out [Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary, Yahya Cholil Staquf] was in town and asked to see him,’ Moore said, adding that Pence knows Yahya from a multi-faith event they both attended in Indonesia last year. ‘I have been in lots of these meetings. You can tell when a meeting is warm and a meeting is cordial. This was a very warm conversation. It was a special time. And it was substantive, I would say.’”

Christian Science Monitor: “A Muslim call to end words of contempt,” by the Monitor’s Editorial Board, March 7, 2019. “On March 1, the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia took a stand against the word [kafir] as a weapon of discrimination. The 45-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama (N.U.) issued a statement asking Muslims not to use kafir as a form of ‘theological violence.'”

Christian Today: “Faith leaders commit to promoting peace and equality at global gathering,” October 26, 2018. “Christians have united with Muslim scholars in calling for an end to hate and the politicization of Islam at a major faith gathering in Indonesia. The Nusantara Statement calls upon faith leaders worldwide to work together for peace, equality and the protection of human dignity.”

Christianity Today: “Christian and Muslim Leaders Agree on Legitimacy of Evangelism,” by Jayson Casper, July 22, 2021. “Last week, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) signed a statement of cooperation with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), an Indonesian association with an estimated 30 million to 50 million members. Established in 1926 to counter Wahhabi trends issuing from the Arabian Peninsula, its name means ‘Revival of the Religious Scholars.'”

Christianity Today: “Evangelicals and Muslims: Not Brothers, But Best Friends,” by Thomas K. Johnson, November 17, 2020. “Why the World Evangelical Alliance is working hand in hand with Nahdlatul Ulama in an ambitious global initiative to counter religious extremism.”

Christianity Today: “Pence Meets Indonesia’s Top Muslim Leader After Church Attacks,” by Kate Shellnutt, May 18, 2018. “Less than a week after the first family of suicide bombers killed or injured dozens of worshipers at Sunday services in Indonesia, the country’s top Muslim leader [Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary, Yahya Cholil Staquf] met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss religious freedom in the face of mounting extremism.”

CNN (video): “Indonesian Muslims Denounce Islamist Extremism,” by Ivan Watson, May 10, 2016.  This video features remarks by LibForAll Foundation associate, Bayt-ar-Rahmah Director of Religious Affairs and General Secretary to the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council, KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf; and LibForAll Foundation advisor and Research Director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies (CATS) at the Swedish Defence University, Dr. Magnus Ranstorp, at the 2016 International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders gathering in Jakarta.

Conservative Home: “A forward-thinking UK should shift the weight of its strategic policy towards the Indo-Pacific region,” by Alexander Downer, November 24, 2020. “This [Indo-Pacific] charter could be as significant in the 21st century as the Atlantic Charter, signed by Churchill and Roosevelt in 1941, was in the 20th century. Suggested principles include no nation being ‘prevented by any other from free and full access to the high seas/global commons of the Indo-Pacific, for any peaceful purposes, including trade’.”

Crux: “60 years ago, a Pope met a Jewish icon and the world changed ,” by John L. Allen Jr., June 14, 2020. “It was June 13, 1960, when a distinguished French Jewish historian, intellectual and educator named Jules Isaac met St. John XXIII in a Vatican audience. Their conversation triggered a long path of reconciliation between Judaism and Catholicism which reached a crescendo at Vatican II, gathered steam under St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and continues today under Pope Francis. . .”

Daily Mail/AFP: “Indonesia’s ‘militant moderates’ fight religious intolerance,” June 10, 2017. “Clad in camouflage and armed only with their convictions, the paramilitary wing of Indonesia’s biggest Muslim organisation is on a campaign — to crush intolerance and defend the nation’s inclusive brand of Islam.”

Dawn: “Who is a ‘kafir’?” by Mustafa Akyol, November 1, 2019. “AT the magnificent St Peter’s Square in Rome recently, Pope Francis welcomed a group of unusual guests: members of Nahdlatul Ulema (NU) from the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, Indonesia. The head of the delegation, Sheikh Yahya Cholil Staquf, gave the pontiff documents outlining the vision of a “humanitarian Islam” his organisation has been promoting.”

Democracy Digest: “Is Indonesia’s ‘pious democracy’ safe from Islamist extremism?”   July 5, 2017. “‘Pluralism has always been a part of Indonesia’s DNA,’ [Indonesian President] Joko Widodo told Reuters in an interview at the presidential palace in Jakarta. ‘Despite many challenges, Islam in Indonesia has always been a force for moderation.’”

Democracy Digest: “Promoting modernized Islam to counter jihadist ideology,” June 23, 2017. “Leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth wing, known as Ansor, say that elements of Shariah, which Muslims consider divine law, are being manipulated by groups like the Islamic State and Al Qaeda to justify terrorist attacks around the world, invoked to rally fighters to battle in the Middle East and elsewhere, and distorted by movements that seek to turn Islam into a political weapon, The New York Times reports…

Democracy Digest: “Antidote to jihadism debunks ISIS ideology,” March 29, 2016. ““The University of Vienna has partnered with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)—Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization—and LibForAll Foundation in a research program on terrorism and extremism called VORTEX, which is funded by the Austrian interior ministry.”

Deutsche Welle: “Indonesian cleric: ‘Islamic recontextualization’ needed for Israel-Palestine peace,” by Rizki Nugraha, June 26, 2018. “After visiting Israel and meeting with PM Netanyahu, Indonesian cleric Yahya Cholil Staquf has received criticism at home. In a DW interview, he said that a ‘reinterpretation’ of Islam is necessary for peace… ‘I ask clerics from all religions to think about what solutions religion can offer to various conflicts that are engulfing the world today. Religion is often used as justification and even weapon for conflict. Is religion really just for this or does it offer a solution?’”

Deutsche Welle: “Ex-President Gus Dur’s vision for democratic Islam in Indonesia,” September 7, 2017. “With so many legacies, it is not a surprise that Gus Dur is loved by the Indonesian people, and still influences Indonesia today. At a time when the world is challenged by Islamism and Islamophobia, Gus Dur’s views and works would be a source of inspiration that indeed Islam is part of the world, and can play its vital role to fulfill the dream of the Prophet Muhammad: Islam is a blessing for the universe (Islam Rahmatan li al-Alamin).”

Die Presse: “How an Austrian Plans to Defeat the Islamic State,” by Frederic Spohr, May 29, 2016. “A Viennese expert on Islam, Nico Prucha, wants to undermine radical Muslims’ digital hegemony and their recruiting operations. To accomplish this, he has managed to recruit 50 million allies—in Indonesia.”

The Diplomat: “The Future of Indonesia, ASEAN, and the Digital Age in Southeast Asia,” by Luke Hunt, May 31, 2019. Luke Hunt interviews risk analyst Keith Loveard about the past, present and future for ASEAN and in particular its powerhouse, Indonesia, amid wider trends.

The Diplomat: “Indonesia’s Challenge to Radical Islam,” by Keith Loveard and Bastiaan Scherpen, November 4, 2016. “Leading the charge in the nation that has the largest Muslim population in the world but which has typically punched below its weight in Islamic discourse is Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, general secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organization in the country and arguably the world, with at least 50 million adherents… Yahya is the leading proponent of what Nahdlatul Ulama calls Islam Nusantara, the Islam of the archipelago. He and his allies argue that Islam in Indonesia is different from that in most other parts of the world because it did not arrive at the end of a sword, but peacefully…”

Duvar English: “Ankara Bar Association files criminal complaint against Islamist magazine after its call to resurrect caliphate,” July 28, 2020. “The Ankara Bar Association has filed a criminal complaint against the progovernment Islamist magazine Gerçek Hayat over its call to resurrect the Islamic caliphate, following the conversion of Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque.”

Eurasia Review: “Muslim-Evangelical Alliance Strives To Create Religious And Political Middle Ground – Analysis,” by James M. Dorsey, July 19, 2021. “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.”

Eurasia Review: “Defining Moderate Islam: Muslims And Evangelicals Forge An Alliance – Analysis,” by James M. Dorsey, July 15, 2021. “A major Muslim and Evangelical organization joined forces this week to significantly advance hitherto state-backed ceremonial inter-faith dialogues that seldom go beyond platitudes and lofty statements. This week’s launch at a Washington DC mosque of an inter-faith alliance and a book published by the Institute for Humanitarian Islam and the Germany-based World Evangelical Alliance Eurasia Review 2 (WEA) as well as the Center for Shared Civilizational Values constitutes an Evangelical endorsement of Humanitarian Islam.”

Eurasia Review: “Drawing Battle Lines: Center-Right Parties Take On Civilizationalism – Analysis,” by James M. Dorsey, January 26, 2020. “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.”

Eurasia Review: “Indonesian Muslim Leader Signals Global Shifts In Meetings With Pence And Netanyahu – Analysis,” by James M. Dorsey, June 24, 2018. “Yahya Staquf, a diminutive, soft-spoken leader of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim movement, and Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s advisor on religious affairs, has held a series of meetings in recent weeks that reflect the Muslim world’s shifting attitudes towards Israel and the Palestinians and a re-alignment of socially conservative Muslim and Christian interests.”

European People’s Party (EPP): “Statement of IDC-CDI in response to remarks by Turkish President Erdogan on converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque,” July 22, 2020.

EWTN News (video): “Muslim leader meets Pope Francis to discuss peace, human fraternity,” interviewed by Solène Tadié, National Catholic Register, January 16, 2020.

Facebook – IDC-CDI:The PKB and global partner, CDI led by Mr. Andrés Pastrana Arango Former President of Colombia, considers an irresponsible decision of the President of Turkey to convert the historical Hagia Sophia into a mosque.” July 22, 2020.

Facebook – IDC-CDI: “The PKB and its international ally the IDC led by Don Andrés Pastrana Arango Expresident of Colombia, considers the decision of the President of Turkey to turn the historic Hagia Sophia into a mosque irresponsible. From IDC we reiterate that we will continue to defend the international order based on law and mutual understanding as well as the values of respect, coexistence and interreligious dialogue.” July 24, 2020.

Facebook – Tower of David Museum: “At midnight, with the magical backdrop of the Tower of David…” July 8, 2018. “At midnight, with the magical backdrop of the Tower of David in the Old City of Jerusalem, together with the spectacular images of the new night experience KING DAVID, hundreds of strangers from different religions and different sections of Jerusalem’s population shared One Love by Bob Marley in an original musical arrangement in three languages and three voices by the social musical initiative for mass singing events Koolulam.”

Family Research Council: “Supporting Indonesia’s Religious Freedom-Loving Muslims,” by Tony Perkins, May 18, 2018. “Thus, we all have a stake in whether Indonesia continues to nurture and grow in its protection of religious freedom, or whether it slides toward violent jihad. We must continue to encourage and come along side people like Mr. Staquf and organizations like NU — for without their help, the likelihood that we will achieve the former certainly goes down.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine: “The Voice of Moderate Muslims,” by Rainer Hermann, July 26,2021.”Greater hopes are attached to the dialogue currently led by two large independent organizations: the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), whose national member organizations include several hundred million Christians, and the Indonesian Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest independent Islamic organization with more than 90 million members. A year ago, they founded a joint working group that wants to be a voice against religiously motivated violence and religious persecution.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine: “Jihadists as the Elite Troops of Islam,” by Suzanne Schröter, August 29, 2017. “Progressive Muslims such as Saida Keller-Messahli, Elham Manea, Abdel-Hakim Ourghi, Ahmad Mansour and, most recently, Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 19 August)—have long demanded that [Germany] confront the ideas that legitimize violence, which circulate so freely among Muslim associations here. The fact that nearly all the assassins [involved in terrorist attacks] had a clear affiliation with a mosque, and drew their ideology of hatred from sources that are not confined to secret internet chat rooms, makes this demand all the more urgent.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine: “Terrorism and Islam are Intimately Connected,” by Marco Stahlhut, August 19, 2017. “Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a crystal clear relationship between fundamentalism, terror and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot attain final victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam. Radical Islamic movements are nothing new. They’ve appeared again and again throughout our own history in Indonesia. The West must stop ascribing any and all discussion of these issues to ‘Islamophobia.’ Or do people want to accuse me—an Islamic scholar—of being an Islamophobe, too?”

Free Malaysia Today: “Stop using Islam to win votes, says Indonesia’s largest Muslim body,” December 5, 2017. “Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has ticked off politicians in Muslim countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia who use Islam to win votes. Yahya Staquf, the secretary-general of NU, said it would inevitably result in discrimination of minorities, provoke intolerance and possibly lead to religious conflict.”

German Foreign Policy: “The Years of Terror (II),” June 7, 2017. “Since the end of the 1960s, Riyadh has established a number of institutions in Indonesia, systematically promoting a Saudi-type Islam. Probably, the most influential of these is the Islamic and Arabic Studies Institute of Indonesia, or “Lipia,” the Indonesian German Foreign Policy 3 initials, in Jakarta. Lipia teaches the Arabic language and Islamic law, and is a subsidiary of the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh. “Curricula and teaching materials reflect the ideology of the Saudi state,” according to one analysis on the institute.[6] Since its founding in 1980, tens of thousands have graduated from Lipia, serving as propagators throughout the country.”

The Guardian: “Yes, Islamophobia is a type of racism. Here’s why,” by Wes Streeting, May 15, 2019. “So it is particularly disappointing to see a noisy chorus of vocal opposition making arguments in bad faith that accuse us of trying to use the term Islamophobia to shut down criticism of Islam and introduce blasphemy laws by the back door. In fact, our report makes it crystal clear that our definition does not preclude criticism of Islam or Islamic theology. God, if you believe in such a thing, doesn’t need protection from criticism.”

Hamodia: “Netanyahu Unexpectedly Meets with Indonesian Muslim Leader,” June 14, 2018. “The leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization [Yahya Cholil Staquf] has held a surprise meeting with Israel’s prime minister. … Speaking of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, [Staquf] said, ‘We are facing a civilizational problem here; and it is related to religions. As Muslims, we want to do our part related to our religion.'”

The Hindu: “From Indonesia, a Muslim challenge to Islamic State,” by Joe Cochrane. November 28, 2015. “An Indonesian film seeks to fire the opening salvo in a global campaign by the world’s largest Muslim group to challenge the Islamic State’s ideology head-on.”

Associated Press/Hindustan Times: “Indonesia calls on Islamic leaders to promote tolerant Islam,” May 9, 2016. “The meeting organized by Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, is expected to produce a message about the importance of promoting a peaceful Islam to combat radicalism worldwide.”

Horizons: “Battle for the Soul of Islam – Spotlight on the Gap Between Regimes and Populations,” by James M. Dorsey, Winter, 2021. “Trouble is brewing in the backyard of Muslim-majority states competing for religious soft power and leadership of the Muslim world in what amounts to a battle for the soul of Islam. Shifting 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.”

Horizons: “Reforming the Faith: Indonesia’s Battle for the Soul of Islam,” by James M. Dorsey, Winter, 2019. “To achieve its reform goal, Nahdlatul Ulama is bonding with groups across the globe, spanning the political spectrum from Muslim organizations to Jews, Christian Democrats, evangelists and evangelicals, and Islamophobes— and all this in a bid to muscle the political clout to impose the adoption of its concept of humanitarian Islam on Middle Eastern states that it sees as the motor of political Islam and religious extremism.”

Nadirsyah Hosen: “Understanding Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf’s Message of Compassion,” by Nadirsyah Hosen, June 19, 2018. “You may disagree with what Kyai Yahya did [in visiting Jerusalem]. But do not underestimate the Message of Compassion that he delivered, in order to foster world peace. This is the true Heavenly Message. You may not realize it, but the Noble Prophet was present, in Jerusalem, when Kyai Yahya delivered his Message of Compassion.”

Hudson Institute: “Islamic Militias Are Protecting Churches In Indonesia,” by Paul Marshall, December 21, 2020. “Christmas is coming and so, in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest Islamic militias is mobilizing. Its members are usually young and fit, dress in camouflage uniforms, have military style training and marches and number in the hundreds of thousands. It has about twice as many personnel as all the Indonesian armed forces combined. These militia members are going to gather outside churches. This sounds like a terrifying scenario, and in parts of the world it certainly would be. But very few, if any, Indonesian Christians are worried about the annual appearance of thousands of militia members on their doorstep. They are more likely to greet them with tea and cake.”

Hudson Institute: “The Battle for the Soul of Islam,” by James M. Dorsey, October, 2020. “Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim movement, has garnered international respect and recognition with its embrace of a Humanitarian Islam that recognizes the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles enshrined in it and has taken tangible steps to address Islamic concepts that it considers outdated. In doing so, Nahdlatul Ulama has emerged as a formidable challenger to powerful state actors in the battle for the soul of Islam.”

Hudson Institute: “Conflicts in Indonesian Islam,” by Paul Marshall, May 31, 2018. “In May 2017, NU’s five-million-member-strong youth movement, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, convened more than 300 international religious scholars to consider the ‘obsolete tenets of classical Islamic law’ that call for ‘perpetual conflict with those who do not embrace or submit to Islam.’ At this gathering, the Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam was drafted, which builds on the May 16, 2016, NU-hosted International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders.”

Hudson Institute: “Among the Believers,” by Paul Marshall, September 5, 2015. “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.”

The Huffington Post: “Stirrings of Humanitarian Islam,” by Kabir Helminski, May 29, 2017. “It is essential that Western leaders and opinion makers recognize that Islamist extremism and terror arise from the web of complex factors — historical, religious, economic, and political — and that Islam is not a monolithic belief system. Despite the prevalence of the recently promoted Wahhabist mentality, traditional Islam has a long history of humane and tolerant values, and that the great majority of Muslims deserve to be viewed as allies in creating a humane and just world.”

The Huffington Post: “World’s Largest Islamic Organization Tells ISIS To Get Lost,” by Krithika Varagur, December 3, 2015. “NU is setting its sights globally. In December 2014, it created an American nonprofit called Bayt ar-Rahmah in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to serve as headquarters for its international activities. It is planning ‘an international conference and cultural event in Washington, D. C.’ in Spring 2016, NU General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf told the Huffington Post.”

IDC-CDI: “Statement by Indonesia’s National Awakening Party,” July 22, 2020. “Responding to inflammatory remarks by President Erdogan of Turkey, the National Awakening Party (PKB) warned that ‘the rules-based international order is under severe stress, challenged by the emergence of authoritarian, civilizationist states that do not accept this order, whether in terms of human rights, rule of law, democracy or respect for international borders and the sovereignty of other nations.’”

Independent: “Proposed Islamophobia definition ‘would undermine counterterror operations and threaten free speech’, police tell prime minister,” by Lizzie Dearden, May 16, 2019. “Police leaders have raised concerns that a proposed definition of Islamophobia will undermine counterterror operations and threaten freedom of speech. In a letter to the prime minister, the head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said the change could ‘undermine many elements of counterterrorism powers and policies’, including port stops, bans on terrorist groups and propaganda, and the legal duty requiring schools, councils and the NHS to report suspected extremism.”

Independent: “The government’s rejection of our Islamophobia definition is a revealing moment for the Conservative Party,” by Anna Soubry, May 15, 2019. “The definition has won support from 750 Muslim organisations and institutions and from more than 80 academics. It’s little surprise then that the refusal of the national Conservative Party to sign up to it is taken as further evidence the party has a ‘problem’ with Muslims.”

Independent: “Indonesia provides a vision of a peaceful post-Islamofascist world,” by Peter Popham, November 27, 2015. “‘We are directly challenging the idea of Isis, which wants Islam to be uniform, meaning that if there is any other idea of Islam that is not following their ideas, those people are infidels who must be killed,’ Yahya Cholil, general secretary of the organisation’s supreme council, told the New York Times. ‘We will show that is not the case with Islam.'”

India Post: “Moderate Muslims raising voice,” September 19, 2018. “Millions of moderate and humanitarian Sunni Muslims are distancing themselves and taking a stand against the radicalized elements of Islam that have resorted to violence and terrorism, according to the world’s largest Muslim organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), of Indonesia. For this purpose, the NU has organized the Second Global Unity Forum meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 25 and 26 October, for which some Indian leaders have also received invitation.”

Indonesia at Melbourne: “Trading blows: NU versus PKS,” by Greg Fealy, July 10, 2018. “How did a visit to Israel by a senior Islamic figure lead to members of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), accusing the nation’s second largest Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), of behaving like communists who are out to destroy Indonesia? This is a tale about the fevered state of Islamic discourse in Indonesia, one nurtured in the hothouse of social media.”

Inside Arabia: “Indonesia: A Major Prize in the Battle for the Soul of Islam,” by James M. Dorsey, July 30, 2020. “Nahdlatul Ulama’s success in accessing European leaders as well as the Trump administration left the Saudis and the Emiratis with two choices: co-opt or be seen to engage.”

ISOMIL/Nahdlatul Ulama: “ISOMIL/Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration Sample Media Coverage,” May 10, 2016. Full text of the historic 2016 ISOMIL/Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration and selected media coverage that includes articles from Agence France Presse (AFP)Al ArabiyaAssociated Press (AP)CNNDaily MailHindustan TimesJakarta PostKompasNettavisenSaudi GazetteSouth China Morning PostStraits Times, Sydney Morning Herald, Vatican Radio, Washington Post and more.

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “PM Netanyahu meets with General Secretary of the Global Islamic Organization Nahdlatul Ulama,” June 14, 2018. “Israel is the innovation nation, and I’m very happy to see that the Arab countries and many Muslim countries getting closer to Israel. I hope that we have some movement with Indonesia.”

Israel21c: “800 Jews, Christians, Muslims sing ‘One Love’ in Jerusalem,” July 8, 2018. “Jews, Muslims and Christians, young and old, most of them strangers to one another, …were forgoing a night’s sleep for the chance to sing Bob Marley’s “One Love” in three languages and three-part harmony as a show of unity from Israel… That night was Eid al-Fitr, a holiday marking the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and introspection, and the Jerusalem visit of Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, secretary general of Indonesia-based Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organization with more than 60 million members.”

The Jakarta Post: “Responding to fundamental crisis within Islam,” by Yahya Cholil Staquf, July 17, 2020. “So long as obsolete, medieval tenets within Islamic orthodoxy remain the dominant source of religious authority throughout the Muslim world, Indonesian Islamists will continue to draw power and sustenance from developments in the world at large. This is especially true so long as key state actors — including Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan — continue to weaponize problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy in pursuit of their respective geopolitical agendas.”

The Jakarta Post: “UGM to promote NU, Muhammadiyah for Nobel Peace Prize,” by Bambang Muryanto, January 24, 2019. “Gadjah Mada University (UGM) plans to nominate Indonesia’s two biggest Muslim organizations, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), to share the Nobel Peace Prize, citing their contributions to democratic developments in the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.”

The Jakarta Post: “Be brave in defending Pancasila, Jokowi tells Nahdlatul Ulama youths,” November 23, 2018. “President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has urged GP Ansor, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, to be brave and to be on the front line in safeguarding the state ideology of Pancasila and national motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).”

The Jakarta Post: “Stop politicalization of Islam: Yogyakarta Forum,” by Sri Wahyuni, October 26, 2018. “Participants of the Global Unity Forum (GUF) II, an international interfaith forum jointly hosted by Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth wing GP Ansor and the Bayt Ar Rahmah da’wa movement, signed a joint statement on Thursday calling for all people to stop politicizing Islam.”

The Jakarta Post: “Let us choose to solve Israeli-Palestinian feud,” by Yahya Cholil Staquf, June 19, 2018. “I don’t know if there is anyone among us who witnessed how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began. Yet clearly, we are all children born of a troubled history. A multi-generational saga that spans continents and is deeply suffused with suspicion, pain, anger and hatred. A complex and traumatic history that continues to roll ever onwards, completely beyond our control. A history that has bequeathed us mutual hostility and bondage, as though we were enslaved by fate itself.”

The Jakarta Post: “NU cleric visits Israel to ‘support’ Palestine,” by Kharishar Kahfi, June 12, 2018. “A top Muslim cleric from Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Yahya Cholil Staquf, has broken his silence regarding his visit to Jerusalem to fulfill an invitation from an Israeli organization, saying his visit was made in part to support Palestine. “I stand here for Palestine. I stand here on the basis that we have to honor Palestine’s sovereignty as a free country,” he said in a statement posted on NU’s official website.”

The Jakarta Post: “Indonesian Muslim cleric to speak in Israel amid diplomatic row,” June 10, 2018. “A top Muslim cleric from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, is scheduled to deliver a speech in Jerusalem after an invitation from an Israeli organization. NU supreme council secretary-general Yahya Cholil Staquf, who is also known as Gus Yahya, has reportedly been invited by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations to deliver a speech titled “Shifting Geopolitical Calculus: From Conflict to Cooperation” at the David Amar World North African Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem on June 13.”

The Jakarta Post: “NU scholar inaugurated as President’s adviser,” by Marguerite Afra Sapiie, May 31, 2018. “President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo inaugurated on Thursday Muslim scholar Yahya Cholil Staquf as a member of the Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres) in a ceremony at the State Palace.”

The Jakarta Post: “The enduring threat of Islamist politics in ‘reformasi’ (post-Soeharto) Indonesia and its global ramifications,” by Yahya Cholil Staquf, May 22, 2018. “A rising tide of Islamism in its myriad forms — which run the gamut from preman berjubah (thugs draped in Arab garb) to social media activists, proselytism movements, educational networks, political parties and even terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group — has been among the most noteworthy phenomena to emerge in the country over the past 20 years. Individually and collectively, these developments threaten the unity of Indonesia and its people, often in ways more subtle and profound than the bloody conflicts waged in the name of Islam in regions as diverse as Ambon, Poso and Aceh.”

The Jakarta Post: “Humanitarian Islam movement begins in East Java,” May, 25, 2017. “A movement to address the contextualization of Islamic teaching, dubbed Humanitarian Islam, has been inaugurated in Jombang, East Java. GP Ansor, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, inaugurated the movement during an event attended by over 300 worldwide religious scholars.”

The Jakarta Post: “Moderate Muslims interested in Islam Nusantara,” by Marguerite Afra Sapiie, May 12, 2016. “A number of visiting foreign Muslim leaders have expressed their interest in the concept of Islam promoted by the Indonesian government, Islam Nusantara. Introduced by Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Islam Nusantara is a tolerant form of Islam that upholds values of peace, modesty and cultural respect.”

The Jakarta Post: “Islam of the Archipelago leads way to moderation,” by Tama Salim, May 11, 2016. “The moderate view of Islam that promotes tolerance, peace and an appreciation for local cultures has gained wide acceptance in the world’s Muslim community, as Muslim leaders from 35 countries issued a joint statement on Tuesday on the global promotion of Islam Nusantara. … NU concluded its two-day International Summit of the Moderate Islamic Leaders (ISOMIL) by issuing the Jakarta Declaration, with the aim of disseminating Islam Nusantara’s tenets for a global audience.”

The Jakarta Post: “NU, foreign ulemas endorse Jakarta Declaration,” by Marguerite Afra Sapiie, May 11, 2016. “Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama ( NU ), and ulemas from 35 countries have endorsed the NU’s Jakarta Declaration, asserting the importance of disseminating peaceful Islamic values internationally to end conflicts emerging from tensions between religion and state.”

The Jakarta Post: “Govt tells NU to act as Middle East Peacemaker,” by Marguerite Afra Sapiie, May 10, 2016. “The government has urged Nahdlatul Ulama ( NU ), Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, to play a role in disseminating peaceful Islamic teachings and acting as a peacemaker for conflicts in the Middle East.”

The Jerusalem Post: “Jews on the Wrong Side of the West’s Lethal Culture Wars,” by Melanie Phillips, March 29, 2019. “. . .an extremely courageous Muslim, Yahya Cholil Staquf, general secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organization, wrote after the New Zealand atrocity that it was impossible to divorce the actions of the New Zealand terrorist from the fact that, in the minds of many non-Muslims, Islam had become synonymous with terror.”

The Jerusalem Post: “Can Indonesians Help Moderate Islam in Europe?” by Manfred Gerstenfeld, January 12, 2019. “Few European politicians know that the world’s largest Muslim organization is a moderate one. The Indonesian Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) has more than 45 million members and tens of millions of additional sympathizers. Its secretary-general, Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, in a 2017 interview with the German daily Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, said Western politicians should stop saying extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with orthodox Islam.”

The Jerusalem Post: “Editor’s Notes: A Message of Peace and Rahma,” by Yaakov Katz, June 15, 2018. “’Everyone knows everyone did bad things,’ he said. ‘Israel did and the Palestinians did. Do we want to continue pursuing vengeance and fight for the annihilation of others? Is that our choice, or do we want an alternative?’ The alternative, Yahya Staquf said, is rahma, the Muslim concept of compassion and caring for others.”

The Jerusalem Post: “Islamic Cleric Preaches Compassion Between Israelis and Palestinians,” by Greer Fay Cashman, June 14, 2018. “Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, an Islamic cleric from Indonesia who serves as secretary-general of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) supreme council – the world’s largest Sunni Muslim organization that claims some 60 million members and that teaches that Islam’s primary principle is one of universal love and compassion – has come to Israel with a one-word message: “rahma” – the Arabic word for “compassion.” The message is not directed at Israel alone, but also at the Palestinians. Without rahma, he said at a meeting organized by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations at the North African Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem, there can be no peace.”

The Jerusalem Post: “Koolulam does Bob Marley at the Tower of David,” June 10, 2018. “This week’s event is being held in honor of the Jerusalem visit of Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, the Secretary General of the world’s largest Muslim organization—Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama with more than 60 million members—who will be attending along with other faith leaders. The event will take place at midnight, featuring Marley’s anthem sun in three languages by the participants who will undergo rehearsals beforehand.”

The Jewish Chronicle: “Melanie Phillips: We must call out the Muslims who hate Jews,” by Melanie Phillips, April 11. 2019. “After the New Zealand mosques massacre a stupendously brave Muslim leader, Yahya Cholil Staquf, wrote: ‘It is factually incorrect and counter-productive to define Islamophobia as ‘rooted in racism’. In reality, it is the spread of Islamist extremism and terror that primarily contributes to the rise of Islamophobia throughout the non-Muslim world.'”

Jewish Journal: “Three Faiths, Three Languages, One Love in Jerusalem’s Old City,” by Eetta Prince-Gibson, June 28, 2018. “The evening — sponsored by the Tower of David Museum and with the cooperation of the Interfaith Encounter Association and more than 50 other local and international dialogue and interfaith organizations — was held in honor of Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf of Indonesia, head of the 60-million-member Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organization.”

Jewish News Syndicate: “Netanyahu gets impromptu visit from head of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization,” June 15, 2018. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got an impromptu meeting with the leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization. Yahya Cholil Staquf, secretary general of the 60-million member Nahdlatul Ulama, visited with Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem on Thursday. Staquf had been in Israel at the invitation of the American Jewish Committee.”

Jihad Watch: “Muslim cleric: ‘Jihadist doctrine can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam’,” by Christine Douglass-Williams, April 6, 2019. “The senior member of the world’s biggest Muslim organisation has insisted that Islamophobia is not rooted in racism and that the distrust of Muslims in many countries is a result of Islamist extremism and terrorism throughout the world…..He called for a rejection of Islamic orthodoxy, condemning it as ‘obsolete and problematic’ and ‘fuelling violence on both sides.'” “Identify Problems Clearly,” by Volker Resing, August 22, 2017. “The West must stop ‘ascribing any and all discussion of these issues to Islamophobia,’ says Yahya Cholil Staquf. The Muslim scholar is not saying this to strengthen anti-Islamic sentiment in the West, but rather, to facilitate co-existence between those of different faiths. These problems [within Islam] must be clearly identified, in order to permanently improve relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. ‘A problem that is not acknowledged cannot be solved.’ That is very true— even amidst the heat of a nationwide political campaign.”

Kompas: “EDITORIAL: RI Sets Example of Peaceful Religious Life,” May 12, 2016. “It is interesting that NU, as the biggest civil society organization in Indonesia, offered the Islam Nusantara movement at the international conference as a manifestation of a tolerant and peaceful Islam that can accommodate local cultures. This accommodative attitude also arises in the adoption of nationalistic views by the NU so that the concept of a unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia is not a problem. In practice, these accommodative approaches have been practiced and widely accepted ever since Islam first came to the archipelago.”

Kompas: “NU Offers Archipelagic Islam to the World,” May 11, 2016. “Islam Nusantara or Archipelagic Islam, a manifestation of a peaceful and tolerant Islam that accommodates culture and local wisdom, is being offered as a new concept in the world of Islam. Archipelagic Islam can be the solution to conflict or a reference for the Islamic world to realize a world order that is peaceful and tolerant.”

Kompas: “Islam and Nationalism Inseparable,” May 10, 2016. “Nahdlatul Ulama senior cleric KH Yahya C Staquf said that the world’s moderate Muslims should be more actively promoting moderate Islam. “This is what all Islamic leaders must continue to do: promoting a moderate form of Islam,” he said. A similar sentiment was voiced by C Holland Taylor, the director of Bayt Rahmah in California, the US. He said that he hoped moderate Muslims would continue promoting a friendly Islam such as that in Indonesia. He added that many Americans and Europeans who do not understand Islam well had their image of the religion shaped by terrorist events conducted by groups abusing the name of Islam.”

The Korea Times: “Taliban perpetuate Muslim world’s failed governance paradigm,” by James M. Dorsey, September 9, 2021. “Nahdlatul Ulama, a politically influential civil society movement, is the only non-state player in what amounts to a battle for the soul of Islam that will determine the degree to which a moderate Islam incorporates principles of tolerance, pluralism, gender equality, secularism, and human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

La Croix International: “Muslim cleric urges Europe to challenge radicalism,” by Keith Loveard, February 18, 2019. “Do European politicians dare to tell Muslims what they should do? According to one of Indonesia’s leading Muslim figures, K.H. Yahya Staquf, general secretary of Sunni movement Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), it’s important that they do so for the sake of their own communities.”

Medium: “US Secretary of State Pompeo set to boost Indonesian religious reform efforts,” by James M. Dorsey, October 24, 2020. “US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to boost efforts by the world’s largest Muslim movement to recontextualize Islam during a forthcoming visit to Indonesia as part of a three-nation Asian tour. The tour is likely to be the secretary’s last official trip prior to next month’s US presidential election.”

Middle East Eye: “EXCLUSIVE: Secret Saudi plan to undermine rival Islamic summit revealed,” February 26, 2020. “Saudi Arabia was so spooked by the prospect of major Muslim nations convening at the Kuala Lumpur Summit in December, outside the control of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Middle East Eye 2 which it chairs, that it prepared a media campaign to belittle its importance, Middle East Eye can reveal.”

Middle East Institute: “Jakarta’s Political Turmoil: Post-storm Thoughts on the Moderate Muslim Mainstream,” by Giora Eliraz, July 6, 2017. “The NU’s youth wing, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor (GP Ansor), also joined efforts to counter extremism. Three weeks after Ahok’s jailing, GP Ansor released the Gerakan Pemuda Ansor’s Declaration on Humanitarian Islam — a roadmap for re-contextualizing Islamic teachings for the modern era.”

Mint Press News: “With Pence and Netanyahu Meetings, Indonesia Signals Shift to Saudi-Israeli Fold,” by Dr. James M. Dorsey, June 27, 2018. “Yahya Staquf, a diminutive, soft-spoken leader of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim movement, and Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s advisor on religious affairs, has held a series of meetings in recent weeks that reflect the Muslim world’s shifting attitudes towards Israel and the Palestinians and a re-alignment of socially conservative Muslim and Christian interests.”

Modern Diplomacy: “Indictment of Trump associate threatens UAE lobbying success,” by Dr. James Dorsey, July 15, 2021. “This month’s indictment of a billionaire, one-time advisor and close associate of former US President Donald J. Trump, on charges of operating as an unregistered foreign agent in the United States for the United Arab Emirates highlights the successes and pitfalls of a high-stakes Emirati effort to influence US policy.”

Modern Diplomacy: “Muslim-Evangelical alliance strives to create religious and political middle ground,” by Dr. James Dorsey, July 18, 2021. “A recent unprecedented alliance between Muslims and Evangelicals takes on added significance in a world in which human rights are on the defensive, religious groups tend to forge political as well as ideational partnerships, and the role of the clergy in multiple Muslim-majority countries has come under scrutiny.”

Modern Diplomacy: “Gulf state religious moderation falls by the wayside in Pakistan,” by Dr. James M. Dorsey, January 8, 2021. “Silent about rising sectarian violence in Pakistan, Gulf states vying for religious soft power risk exposing the limitations of their concepts of an undefined ‘moderate’ Islam that is tolerant and endorses pluralism.”

Multifaith Matters (audio): “Thomas Johnson and C. Holland Taylor Discuss a New Festschrift,” July 13, 2021. This episode brings together Thomas K. Johnson and C. Holland Taylor to discuss the publication of the significant volume they co-edited, God Needs No Defense: Reimagining Muslim-Christian Relations in the 21st Century, a festschrift in honor of Dr. Thomas Schirmacher, Secretary General and CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance. This book brings together Christian and Muslim thinkers who articulate a vision for better relations between these religious traditions. Johnson and Taylor co-chair the Humanitarian Islam/WEA Joint Working Group.

Multifaith Matters (audio): “Thomas K. Johnson on Humanitarian Islam and the Ethics of Religious Freedom,” April 5, 2021. In this podcast Thomas K. Johnson discusses his new books Humanitarian Islam, Evangelical Christianity, and the Clash of Civilizations, as well as The Protester, the Dissident and the Christian: Essays on Human Rights and Religion.

Nahdlatul Ulama/Bayt ar-Rahmah: “Sample Media Coverage April 2015 – March 2016.” Includes articles from Al-AhramAl-Arab,  AtlanticBoston Globe, Channel News Asia, CNN, Huffington Post, Jakarta Post, New Mandala, New York Times, Spiegel, Strategic Review, Tempo, Weekly Standard and more.

The National: “Indonesians champion their own way of practising Islam,” by John McBeth, October 28, 2016. “Islam Nusantara, or Islam of the Archipelago, argues that Indonesia is culturally different from the Middle East and should follow its own, broad version of Islam that emphasises moderation and supports indigenous cultures and the rights of women.”

National Catholic Register: “Blinken’s Dissent From the Human Rights Magisterium,” by Daniel Philpott, April 8, 2021. “On March 30, at a press conference announcing the release of the U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report, Secretary of State Antony Blinken pointedly “repudiated” the report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights that his predecessor, Michael Pompeo, had appointed.”

National Catholic Reporter: “Religions can be part of the solution for peace, not the problem, faith leaders say,” by Claire Giangrave, January 17, 2020. “Hailing from the multicultural country of Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, the prominent Muslim cleric Yahya Cholil Staquf knows a thing or two about building peace and harmony among religions. ‘With all that is developing globally, we see all kinds of threats to the harmony of our society,’ he told RNS on Thursday, ‘so there is no choice for us to also engage globally.’ Staquf is the secretary-general of the world’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, which counts 90 million adherents even though as many as 110 million identify as members. ‘Now the choice is for the people,’ he said. ‘Do we want our religion to stay part of the problem or do we want to activate the noble potentials within our traditions to be part of the solution?'”

The National Secular Society: “Islamophobia definition “unfit for purpose”, say campaigners,” May 15, 2019. “The National Secular Society has signed an open letter criticising the ‘uncritical and hasty adoption’ of an all-party parliamentary group’s proposed definition of ‘Islamophobia’. The letter says the definition proposed by the APPG on British Muslims, which has been adopted by several major political parties and local councils, is ‘unfit for purpose’.”

Netral News: “Responding to Yahya Cholil Staquf, Fahri Asks MUI to Issue Fatwa Banning Visit to Israel,” June 14, 2018. “The polemic over the visit by President Advisory Council (Wantimpres) member Yahya Cholil Staquf during the annual conference of the American-Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum in Jerusalem, Palestine, has recently continued to come into spotlight. Yahya is considered to have tarnished the consistency of Indonesia’s support for Palestinian independence since 1947.”

Nettavisen: “The world’s largest Muslim organization to combat Islamic State,” by Thomas Paust, April 5, 2016. “The renowned terrorism expert, Magnus Ranstorp, will cooperate with the world’s largest Muslim organization in the global ideological struggle against the Islamic State (IS). Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) is an Indonesian organization with 50 million members. ‘They’re going to create a platform against IS, and I’m going to be involved in it. My role will be clarified in a few weeks,’ says Ranstorp, who is a terrorism researcher at the Swedish National Defense Academy.”

New Mandala: “Daesh, Islam Nusantara and shades of grey,” by Kieth Loveard, January 14, 2016. “For NU, the propagation of Islam Nusantara as a counter to Daesh is not merely a question of theology. The organisation was formed specifically to counter pressure from Wahhabi infiltration. ‘We know who these people are, we have been fighting them for 90 years,’ says KH Yahya Cholil Staquf, one of the leaders of the Islam Nusantara project.”

New York Times: “Indonesia Disbands Radical Islamic Group Over Charges of Violence,” by Richard C. Paddock and Dera Menra Sijabat, December 30, 2020. “BANGKOK — The hard-line Islamic Defenders Front was outlawed by the Indonesian government on Wednesday and ordered to cease all activities less than two months after New York Times 2 its fiery leader, Rizieq Shihab, returned from self-imposed exile and pledged to lead a “moral revolution.””

Associated Press/New York Times: “Netanyahu Unexpectedly Meets With Indonesian Muslim Leader,” June 14, 2018. “The leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization has held a surprise meeting with Israel’s prime minister. Yahya Staquf, secretary general of the 60 million member Nahdlatul Ulama, is visiting Israel at the invitation of the American Jewish Committee, a U.S. advocacy group. Israel and Indonesia do not have diplomatic relations, and the visit has prompted protests in Indonesia. Staquf, an advocate of interfaith coexistence, met with several religious leaders this week. However, Thursday’s meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not listed on his schedule.”

Associated Press/New York Times: “In Israel, Indonesian Muslim Leader Risks Backlash at Home,” June 6, 2018. “A leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization is visiting Israel this week, braving angry protests at home in order to spread what he calls a message of interfaith compassion. Yahya Staquf, secretary general of the 60 million member Nahdlatul Ulama, is in Israel as a guest of the American Jewish Committee, a U.S. advocacy group holding a major conference in Jerusalem.”

New York Times: “A Former First Lady Presses On for a Tolerant, Feminist Islam,” by Jon Emont, April 7, 2017. “The transgender Muslim women gazed around the reception room with wonder. It was loaded with lavish tributes from foreign rulers: gold filigreed swords from Kuwait, elaborately painted Chinese urns and elegantly framed Quranic verses. Finally the host, Sinta Nuriyah, 69, breezed into the room in her wheelchair, passing by a giant bust of her husband, Abdurrahman Wahid, a former president and a powerful voice for moderate Islam.”

New York Times: “Indonesians Seek to Export a Modernized Vision of Islam,” by Joe Cochrane, May 1, 2017. “Leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth wing, known as Ansor, say that elements of Shariah, which Muslims consider divine law, are being manipulated by groups like the Islamic State and Al Qaeda to justify terrorist attacks around the world, invoked to rally fighters to battle in the Middle East and elsewhere, and distorted by movements that seek to turn Islam into a political weapon.”

New York Times“Jakarta Protest, Tied to Faith, May Have Deeper Links to Secular Politics,” by Joe Cochrane, November 13, 2016. “‘The protest really was a picture of how radicalism is way more dangerous to Indonesia than other Muslim-majority nations,’ said Yahya Cholil Staquf, the secretary general to the supreme council of Indonesia’s widely respected Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organization. ‘The masses have this negative feeling toward Ahok, and all this political maneuvering has been increasing their negative emotions toward him,’ he said, referring to Mr. Basuki by his nickname and describing the sentiments of protesters, most of whom were from outside Jakarta. ‘This makes Muslim leaders, who are in fact moderate, afraid to speak out against it, because they are afraid of the masses.’”

New York Times: “From Indonesia, a Muslim Challenge to the Ideology of the Islamic State,” by Joe Cochrane, November 26, 2015. “‘We are directly challenging the idea of ISIS, which wants Islam to be uniform, meaning that if there is any other idea of Islam that is not following their ideas, those people are infidels who must be killed,’ said Yahya Cholil Staquf, general secretary to the N.U. supreme council. ‘We will show that is not the case with Islam.’”

Nikkei: “Moderates tackle both extremism and Islamophobia,” by Erwida Maulia, December 24, 2015. “The 90-minute film, titled “Rahmat Islam Nusantara” (The Divine Grace of East Indies Islam), urges Muslims not to take too rigid a view of Islamic scripture and to put more focus on the human side of Islam. The film encourages them to follow in the footsteps of the wali songo, the nine earliest propagators of Islam on the island of Java who are said to have spread the religion through peaceful means, allowing assimilation with the local culture.”

Noted: “Why banning the accused gunman’s manifesto is a bad idea,” by Graham Adams, March 28, 2019. “Yahya Cholil Staquf — prominent Muslim cleric and general secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation with some 50 million members — says the manifesto shows the accused gunman is ‘an unabashed white supremacist’ and, significantly, that the killings in Christchurch can only be understood as part of “an ancient cycle of violence” that radicalises some Muslims and non-Muslims alike. He asserts: ‘Ending the cycle of violence requires addressing not only the ideology and motivations of someone like Tarrant, but also the historical framework he shares with many Muslims. That is, that Muslims and non-Muslims are and shall remain in a state of permanent conflict, until the end of time (according to Islamists) or the disappearance of Islam (according to advocates of a ‘counter-jihad’).'”

Nova24TV, Slovenia (video):  “Interview of Yahya Cholil Staquf,” December 17, 2018.

Office of the Prime Minister of Israel (video): “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets NU General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf,” June 14, 2018.

Palestinow: “Fatah: the participation of Staquf in AJC is a crime,” by Elfalasteen, June 12, 2018. “Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi said in a statement that Yahya Staquf’s participation, ‘secretary-general of the Indonesian Muslim Organization Nahdlatul Ulema,’ at this conference in occupied Jerusalem was a betrayal of religion, al-Aqsa and resurrection, the Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic countries.”

Palestinow: “Judaism, LibForAll, Bayt ArRahmah and Staquf,” by Elfalasteen, June 12, 2018. “Since the news about the visit by one of Indonesian figure to Jerusalem as to fulfill invitation of the Zionist Israel, the condemnation from many sides come. Hamas and Fatah even spoke about this, they strongly condemned his `crime`. It is Yahya Cholil Staquf, a General Secretary of Indonesian Muslim Organization (Nahdlatul Ulama) and a member of the presidential consideration council, who attended the Zionist invitation to come to the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum in the Apartheid State of Israel.”

Partnership for Peace Consortium: “Foreign Terrorist Fighter Networks: Threats, Challenges, and Responses,” May 30-31, 2017. “Mr. Holland Taylor, CoFounder and Chairman of the LibForAll Foundation, spoke on the Indonesian Sunni organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest independent Muslim organization in the world, which is trying to promote a pluralistic and humanitarian interpretation of Islam. He spoke on the importance of understanding the elements within Islam that can be weaponized by extremists, and re-contextualize them within the historical framework in which they emerged. He also warned that until Western governments hold states that promote radical interpretations of Islam responsible for their culpability in the spread of extremism, things would not change. Mr. Taylor pleaded that organizations and citizens promoting peaceful narratives must be fully supported.”

Partnership for Peace Consortium: “Tabletop exercise takes whole of society approach to foreign terrorist fighter threat,” August 3, 2015. “Mr. C Holland Taylor, co-founder, chairman and CEO of the LibForAll Foundation—a leading NGO developing counter-extremism strategies worldwide—remarked on the PfPC’s unique ability to ‘assemble people from a diverse set of backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicities, cultures, and religions,’ and that ‘the PfPC succeeded at facilitating a frank and honest discussion about the threat posed by violent extremism and did so in a manner that is conducive to developing a societal consensus necessary to meet this threat.’”

Policy Exchange: “A Very British Tilt – Towards a new UK strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region,” November, 2020. “This paper offers a new vision for a reinvigorated community of free and independent nations with one overriding goal in mind: to reinforce a sustainable rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region (IPR) that is resilient but adaptable to the great power realities of the 21st century.”

Policy Exchange: “Policy Exchange announces new Indo-Pacific Commission,” July 20, 2020. “The Indo-Pacific Commission will include diplomats, business leaders, politicians and military and civil leaders drawn from the United Kingdom, the United States and across the Indo-Pacific region – including Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia and Singapore. The aim of the Commission is to write the blueprint for a new strategic approach to the region, examining questions of trade, diplomacy, politics, defence and security that centre on the IndoPacific.”

Policy Exchange: “The Trial: the strange case of Trevor Phillips – How the accusation of Islamophobia is used to stifle free speech,” by Dr. Martyn Frampton, Sir John Jenkins, Khalid Mahmood, March 8, 2020. “As Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf—head of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama—pointed out in his statement which was read by Phillips during that panel discussion; ‘jokes are not inherently Islamophobic or hateful and this includes Boris Johnson’s joke about the burqa.’ Yet such are the allegations now brought against Phillips. They would be laughable if they were not so serious.”

Policy Exchange: “On Islamophobia: The Problem of Definition,” by Trevor Phillips, Sir John Jenkins, and Dr. Martyn Frampton, May, 2019. “. . . the issue of Islamophobia is more complex than appears at first glance. Far from being a neutral, analytical term, the word ‘Islamophobia’ is one that comes with a deeply problematic history. Far from a benign descriptor, this loose term has long proved impossible to pin down; and its definitional elusiveness has allowed it to be deployed by politically motivated groups for various purposes. There are those on the liberal left, for instance, who insist that Islamophobia is merely another example of structural and politically-rooted racism within the UK. Even more significant is the fact that the campaign against Islamophobia has been instrumentalised by Islamist-inspired groups in the purposeful pursuit of often unacknowledged self-serving and divisive goals.”

Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi e d’Islamistica: “VISIT OF GENERAL SECRETARY OF INDONESIA’S NAHDLATUL ULAMA SUPREME COUNCIL,” October, 2019. “On Wednesday 25 September 2019, the PISAI welcomed Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council.”

Providence: “Indonesia Appoints New Minister of Religious Affairs, Signaling More Robust Opposition to Radicalism,” by Paul Marshall, January 19, 2021. “In December 22, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) reshuffled his cabinet. . . . Several ministers involved in the pandemic response were let go, as had been predicted, but there was one new appointment that was unexpected. This was the replacement as minister of religious affairs of Fachrul Razi, a retired army general, by Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, widely known as Gus Tutut or Gus Yaqut, the general chairman of GP Ansor, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). . . . But Yaqut is as far as you can get from a run-of-the-mill religious bureaucrat.  . . .he, along with his colleague and brother Yahya Cholil Staquf, general secretary of the NU Supreme Council and a leader in Ansor, has and does fight strenuously and continually against extremism.”

Providence: “Muslims and Evangelicals form Joint Working Group to Counter Extremism,” by Paul Marshall, April 27, 2020. “On April 20, members of the world’s largest Muslim organization and one of the world’s largest Christian organizations announced the creation of a joint working group to counter two threats to religious freedom and to society more broadly: religious extremism and secular extremism.”

Providence: “New Christian-Muslim Political Alliances?,” by Paul Marshall, February 3, 2020. “…the [CDI’s] communique ‘highlights a common set of humane and universal values, rooted in their respective religious and cultural traditions. These traditions—which include but are not limited to Western humanism, Christian democracy and Humanitarian Islam—may serve as the foundation for a 21st century alliance.’”

Providence: “Indonesia’s 2019 Election: Good News, Warning Signs, and Implications for the United States,” by A.J. Nolte, April 25, 2019. “…it might behoove the State Department and other US agencies, when interacting with Muslim religious leaders at a high level, to be sure to include representatives of NU. Not only is the NU Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization and a key domestic actor, but it also represents one of the few genuinely influential, well-organized, and politically powerful voices of moderate Islam in a Muslim-majority country. While our ability to directly influence public opinion and, even more so, religious practice in the Muslim world remains limited, it is certainly in our interests to see groups like Nahdlatul Ulama both grow stronger and, at the same time, embrace a robust view of religious freedom.”

Public Discourse: “Responding to a Fundamental Crisis Within Islam Itself,” by KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, July 11, 2020. “If we are to abolish the primordial cycle of hatred, tyranny, and violence that plagues humanity, and avert civilizational disaster, people of all faiths must work together to prevent the political weaponization of fundamentalist Islam.”

Public Radio International (PRI): “The world’s largest Islamic group wants Muslims to stop saying ‘infidel’,” by Patrick Winn, March 8, 2019. “Quit calling people kafir, an Arabic word for infidels or nonbelievers. This proclamation was issued by Nahdlatul Ulama or NU, an Indonesian collective claiming more than 90 million adherents — from clerics and politicians to shopkeepers and farmers.”

Qantara: “Indonesia G20 presidency to focus on ‘the soul of Islam’,” by James M. Dorsey, September 20, 2021. “Indonesian religious affairs minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas set the bar high for both President Joko Widodo and Nahdlatul Ulama – the religious backbone of Widodo’s government – when he laid out the agenda for his country’s presidency of the G20 last week.”

Qantara: “Indonesia confronts extremists with own brand of Islam,” December 16, 2015. “Speaking to a traditional Javanese soundtrack, a Muslim cleric implores: ‘We invite others to join us in launching a mental revolution.’ The invitation comes in a scene from a documentary made by Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, as part of a campaign to discredit the ideology of Islamic State and other extremist groups. The documentary, titled Rahmat Islam Nusantara (The Divine Grace of Malay Archipelago Islam), seeks to highlight the brand of tolerant Islam that has been practiced in Indonesia for centuries.”

The Quint: “How to Challenge ISIS Propaganda? Indonesia Shows the Way,” by Aakash Joshi, December 1, 2015. “‘The spread of a shallow understanding of Islam renders this situation critical, as highly vocal elements within the Muslim population at large – extremist groups – justify their harsh and often savage behaviour by claiming to act in accord with God’s commands, although they are grievously mistaken. According to the Sunni view of Islam, every aspect and expression of religion should be imbued with love and compassion, and foster the perfection of human nature.’ ~A Mustofa Bisri, Spiritual Head, Nahdlatul Ulama”

Real Clear World: “Commission on Unalienable Rights: Lessons Learned,” by Peter Berkowitz and Mary Ann Glendon, January 7, 2021. “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.”

Religion News Service: “Religions can be part of the solution for peace, not the problem, faith leaders say,” by Claire Giangravé, January 16, 2020. “‘If we’d involved the religious actors 30 years ago in the Middle East peace negotiations and discussions, saying ‘OK, this is what we are thinking about, what do you think? Help us build the peace,’ we might be somewhere today,’ [Brownback] said.”

Religion Unplugged: “The World’s Largest Muslim Organization Just Honored Evangelicals,” by Paul Marshall, July 20, 2021. “(OPINION) Last week, a small but significant celebration headlined as ‘God Needs No Defense: Reimagining Muslim-Christian Relations’ was held in a remarkable place. The occasion was part of the plethora of events around the bipartisan 2021 International Religious Freedom Summit held in Washington, D.C. on July 13-16. In this particular event, leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, honored the newly installed head of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).”

Religion Unplugged: “Indonesian Government Forbids State Schools From Requiring Muslim Headscarves,” by Paul Marshall, February 9, 2021. “On Feb. 3, the Indonesian government issued a joint ministerial decree that forbade state schools throughout the country from requiring students or teachers to wear a Muslim headscarf, a tudung, or any other religious symbol.”

Religion Unplugged: “Muslim Leader Yahya Cholil Staquf: Need To Address ‘Problematic Elements Of Islamic Orthodoxy’ After Christchurch Attack,” by Paul Marshall, April 3, 2019. “Pak Yahya’s statements do not come out of the blue: they build on growing Muslim initiatives in Indonesia and elsewhere. Indonesia’s massive moderate organizations, especially NU, have been advocating this reform agenda for several years, and it reflects their views over decades.”

Religious Freedom Institute: “Launch of RFI’s Indonesia Religious Freedom Landscape Report: Is Indonesia still a model of religious pluralism and tolerance?,” August 14, 2020. “Despite the existence of major challenges to religious freedom in Indonesia, it is nevertheless home to powerful actors that are systematically and institutionally maneuvering to strengthen the prospects for religious liberty in Indonesia and beyond.”

Religious Freedom Institute: “Humanitarian Islam: Fostering shared civilizational values to revitalize a rules-based international order,” July 16, 2020. “In an essay recently published in Indonesia’s top foreign affairs journal, Timothy Shah, RFI’s Vice President for Strategy and International Research and Director of its South and Southeast Asia Action Team, discusses the global impact and influence of the world’s largest Muslim organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). Specifically, Shah notes how the NU is spearheading a mass, grassroots, multi-faith campaign to revitalize the post-World War II rules-based international order and forge a positive role for Islam upon the world stage.”

Religious Freedom Institute: “Commentary,” July 16, 2020. Features two pieces recently published by Bayt-ar Rahmah and Religious Freedom Institute personnel.

Religious Freedom Institute: “Countering Extremism In Indonesia And Beyond,” by Paul Marshall, June 22, 2018. “On May 31, Indonesian President Joko Widodo appointed Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf (Pak Yahya) as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council. Pak Yahya is from one of Indonesia’s most distinguished Muslim families, is the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, and is the head of Gerakan Pemuda Ansor (ANSOR), NU’s young-adult wing, which has some 5 million members. He is also among the Muslim world’s most incisive and outspoken reformers.”

Religious Freedom Institute: “Indonesian Muslims Protest Against Islamist Extremism: The Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam,” by Kent Hill, February 24, 2018. “…four out of five Muslims are not from the Middle East. How do they respond to the threat of Islamist extremism? One of the most remarkable answers to that question emerges from Indonesia. Gerakan Pemuda Ansor is a five-million-member-strong youth movement and is part of Nahdlatul Ulama, which, with an estimated 50 million members, is one of the largest Muslim lay organizations in the world. Last May, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor convened more than 300 religious scholars from throughout the world to address what they called ‘obsolete tenets of classical Islamic law’ that call for ‘perpetual conflict with those who do not embrace or submit to Islam.’ This global gathering of ulama—Muslim theological leaders—resulted in the adoption of the 8,000-word ‘Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam,’ which makes a case that reform in Islam is urgently needed.”

Reuters: “Islamists fail to sway regional Indonesian elections,” by Tom Allard, June 28, 2018. “A resounding win by an Indonesian mayor targeted by some hardline Muslims over the construction of a church highlighted a broader failure by Islamists to influence regional and local elections in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “Indonesia calls on Islamic leaders to promote tolerant Islam,” May 9, 2016. “Indonesia’s vice president on Monday called on Islamic leaders to spread messages about a tolerant Islam to curb extremism that often springs from misinterpretation of Islamic teachings. Speaking at the opening of the International Summit of the Moderate Islamic Leaders, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he believes that youths who don’t have deep faith are susceptible to be militants, not for wealth or political cause, but rather as a ‘shortcut’ to heaven.”

Sekretariat Kabinet Republik Indonesia: “Commemorating the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad in Pekalongan, President Jokowi Urges the Muslim Community to Follow the Example of God’s Messenger,” by Joko Widodo, November 23, 2018.  “Never stray from the leadership of kyais (NU religious scholars), either in your communal life or in serving our nation. To all GP Ansor cadres: know that by following the Prophet’s noble path, our great nation shall, God willing, continue to progress.”

The Shimbun AKAHATA: “Islam Needs Tenets that Reflect Contemporary Reality,” by Inoue Ayumi, March 22, 2019. “The Islamist aspiration for political dominance is an intrinsic part of Islamic orthodoxy, an array of theological doctrines accepted by the majority of Muslims as the most authoritative religious reference standard. There are many problematic tenets within the orthodoxy relating to, for example, the status of women. However, our main concern is global peace and security, and regarding this we have identified four problematic tenets that are of particular concern: First, the “norm of enmity,” which encourages Muslims to segregate themselves from non-Muslims, treat them with suspicion and consider them enemies. Second, that the establishment of a single, universal Islamic state, or Caliphate, should be the ultimate political goal and aspiration of all Muslims. Third, that laws derived from modern political processes are “man-made” and therefore illegitimate and should be replaced with classical Islamic law, commonly referred to as shari‘ah. Fourth, that it is obligatory for all Muslims to participate in any armed conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

South China Morning Post: “Indonesian Muslim group calls for calm amid Islamic world’s fury at France’s Macron,” by Amy Chew, October 28, 2020. “Head of Nahdlatul Ulama said ‘responding to the insult . . . by killing the perpetrator is a savage act that has the potential to trigger widespread instability.’ In Malaysia, the foreign minister said the country strongly condemned the ‘defamation of Islam’ as he expressed concern over growing hostilities towards Muslims.”

South China Morning Post: “Pompeo’s Indonesia visit to focus on Muslim youth group and engaging with ‘humanitarian Islam,’” by Joe Cochrane, October 23, 2020. “US secretary of state will speak with youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama on freedom of religion. Address is said to be part of US plan to ‘stimulate a conversation across nations’ about common human principles.”

South China Morning Post: “Malaysia’s Mahathir: UAE-Israel deal divides Muslim world into ‘warring factions’,” by Amy Chew, August 14, 2020. “Staquf said the Indonesian government held the view that “the phenomenon of the Israeli state is a phenomenon of colonialism”, and the majority of the people, whether they followed Islam or otherwise, shared the same view.”

South China Morning Post: “The Indonesian Muslim ‘cyberwarriors’ who are battling Islamic State online,” May 9, 2016. “A group of Indonesian “cyberwarriors” sit glued to screens, as they send out messages promoting a moderate form of Islam in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Armed with laptops and smartphones, some 500 members of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) – one of the world’s biggest Muslim organisations – are seeking to counter the Islamic State group’s extremist messages.”

The Spectator: “Why Muslims like me are worried about the Batley protests,” by Yahya Cholil Staquf, April 2, 2021. “It is my view that part of the solution must come from within Islam itself. It is imperative that Muslims learn to adapt and live peacefully with others very different from themselves. Rather than allow extremists to turn Islam into modernity’s opposition, Muslims should engage in constructive dialogue that seeks to foster the shared civilisational values that may strengthen and enhance a rules-based international order dedicated to safeguarding national sovereignty and fundamental human rights.”

The Spectator: “Indonesia’s mandatory hijab ban is a triumph for women,” by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, February 12, 2021. “Last week, Indonesia banned schools across the country from forcing girls to wear the hijab, after the parents of a 16-year-old Christian schoolgirl uploaded a video of their daughter being forced to wear the headscarf in Padang, in West Sumatra. According to the Education Minister, schools that now fail to comply with the order will face sanctions.”

The Spectator: “How to deal with an aggressive China: lessons from Australia,” by Alexander Downer, July 15, 2020. “What can the UK learn from Australia and its occasionally rocky relationship with China? The welcome decision to ban Huawei from Britain’s 5G network has prompted concerns that China will find a way to hit back. This is hardly surprising, as the Chinese ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, has warned Britain that ‘if you want to make China a hostile country, you will have to bear the consequences’.”

The Spectator: “The Muslim leader who offers an example on how to tackle Islamism,” by John Jenkins, March, 2019. “Yahya Cholil Staquf, the general secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama – the largest independent Muslim organisation in the world – wrote a good piece in the Daily Telegraph this week under the headline, “Don’t weaponise the term ‘Islamophobia’”. A week after the terrorist attack in Christchurch, he calls for a better shared understanding of the roots of such violence. He discusses the impact of the Islamist violence of the last 20 years, fuelled by what he describes as ‘obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview’. He also criticises the use of the term ‘Islamophobia’, which he sees as a means of deflecting honest criticism and preventing honest reflection.”

Spiegel: “Indonesia’s Secret: In the Kingdom of Gentle Islam,” by Erich Follath, August 13, 2015. “The Asian island kingdom, with all its faults and setbacks, does set the right priorities. Its most important politicians and writers are connected by the knowledge that education is the only way to progress and religion is something private. Of Indonesia’s 220 million Muslims, far fewer have left to join the Islamic State than in Tunisia or Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, Germany.”

Associated Press/Stars and Stripes: “Indonesian Muslim leader visiting Israel risks backlash at home”, by Caron Creighton, June 11, 2018. “A leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization is visiting Israel this week, braving angry protests at home in order to spread what he calls a message of interfaith compassion. Stars and Stripes 2 Yahya Staquf, secretary general of the 60 million member Nahdlatul Ulama, is in Israel as a guest of the American Jewish Committee, a U.S. advocacy group holding a major conference in Jerusalem.”

Strategic Review: “The future of civilization: Indonesia’s contribution,” by H. Muhaimin Iskandar, July 2, 2020. “Our founding fathers developed, and offered to the world, a set of universal principles that can illuminate the path out of darkness and avert the cataclysm that would inevitably accompany a global clash of civilizations.”

Strategic Review: “Humanitarian Islam: Fostering shared civilizational values to revitalize a rules-based international order,” by Timothy Shah and Thomas Dinham, July 2, 2020. “This global movement to establish a rules-based international order founded upon shared civilizational values seeks to “abolish the primordial cycle of hatred, tyranny and violence that has plagued humanity since time immemorial”; derail the juggernaut of “tribal” politics, whether rooted in ethnic, religious or secular/ideological identities; shift the focal point of authority in the Islamic world from the Middle East to South and Southeast Asia, where a majority of the world’s Muslims reside; and re-enliven the profound civilizational values of the Indosphere, in order to buttress the rules-based post-WWII international order as the world’s geopolitical center of gravity shifts from the North Atlantic axis into the heart of Eurasia.”

Strategic Review“Enduring threat, global ramifications,” by Yahya Cholil Staquf, July – September 2018. “The recontextualization and reform of Islamic orthodoxy is thus crucial to the welfare of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, for it constitutes the one indispensable prerequisite of any rational and humane solution to the multidimensional crisis that has plagued the Muslim world for more than a century and not only shows no sign of abating – despite an ever-growing toll of human lives and misery – but rather, increasingly threatens to spill over and engulf humanity as a whole.”

Strategic Review: “Maneuvering within Islam’s narrative space,” by Brian L Steed, January – March 2018. “Life is lived in the narrative space. What we hear, read or see is sorted and evaluated based on our narrative space terrain. Influence comes easiest through understanding this terrain.” “Maneuver in the narrative space: Lessons from Islam Nusantara,” by C. Holland Taylor. “There has been a centuries-long struggle between competing forces, maneuvering in both the physical and narrative space, producing Indonesia’s uniquely pluralistic, tolerant and spiritual brand of Islam. It should be celebrated.”

Strategic Review: “The universal values of Indonesian Islamic civilization,” by Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri, January – March 2017. “Centuries of conflict have left deep scars upon the collective psyche of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, in many parts of the world. The spread of Islamist extremism and terror in recent decades has revived, and exacerbated, this ancient trauma. And although this long history of conflict is inextricably tied to military and political rivalries – rather than the substantive (ie, spiritual) teachings of religion – the fact remains that Muslims and non-Muslims alike have been deeply enmeshed in nearly 14 centuries of armed conflict.”

Strategic Review: “Theology Matters: The case of jihadi Islam,” by Rüdiger Lohlker, July – September, 2016. Since 2014, LibForAll Foundation has worked closely with Dr. Rüdiger Lohlker, one of the world’s leading experts regarding the online/offline activities of al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terror groups. A senior professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Vienna and respected counter-terrorism advisor to the European Union and various Western nations, Dr. Lohlker heads the Vienna Observatory for Applied Research on Terrorism and Extremism (VORTEX), whose founding partners include the University of Vienna, Nahdlatul Ulama, GP Ansor, LibForAll/IIQS and Bayt ar-Rahmah. Dr. Lohlker’s landmark article refutes the widely held and frequently asserted view that Western governments, scholars and media outlets should neither critically examine, nor address, the religious dimensions of Islamist terrorism.

Strategic Review: “How Islam learned to adapt in ‘Nusantara’,” by Yahya Cholil Staquf, with C. Holland Taylor, April – June, 2015. “Islam was forced to ‘surrender’ to the prevailing local customs, and power, of Nusantara’s highly pluralistic civilization.”

Strategic Review: “Indonesia’s ‘big idea’: Resolving the bitter global debate on Islam,” by Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri and C. Holland Taylor, July – September, 2012. “Men and women who embody the exemplary values of our ancient culture, including its profoundly spiritual view of religion, constitute what may be Indonesia’s most geopolitically significant – and certainly its most unique – strategic asset.”

Stratfor: “Indonesia and the Future of Islam,” by Bernard Adeney-Risakotta, November 1, 2018. “…Indonesia has an ancient history of religious tolerance that is far more peaceful than the history of religions in Europe or the Middle East… No one knows what the future will bring, but whatever happens in Indonesia will affect the future of Islam in the modern world.”

The Sun: “New definition of Islamophobia could cripple war on terror in UK, warns former terror boss,” by Steve Hawkes, April 29, 2019. “BRITAIN’S war on terror could be crippled if Ministers cave into MPs and accept a new controversial definition of islamophobia, an ex-terror tsar warns. Lord Carlile said the form of words describing Islamophobia as a ‘type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness’ would hamper efforts to stop and search extremists at ports and returning ISIS fighters.”

The Sydney Morning Herald: “How modern, moderate Islam is fighting back in Indonesia,” by Peter Hartcher, August 20, 2019. “Quick question. Which country has more Muslims than any other? If you said Saudi Arabia, you’re way off. Egypt is another popular guess. So is Turkey. All wrong. If you guessed any of these, you’re not even on the right part of the planet. More Muslims live in Indonesia than these three put together. Indonesia’s Islamic identity is less obvious mainly because it is generally more moderate and relaxed than those of its Middle Eastern cousins.”

The Sydney Morning Herald: “What Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation really wants,” by James Massola, August 19, 2019. “Jakarta: Indonesia must be more self-confident about its position in the Islamic world and stare down the threat posed by radical Islam, according to one of the most senior leaders of the country’s largest Muslim organisation. The secretary-general of Nahdlatul Ulama, Yahya Cholil Staquf, has even suggested that allowing the Indonesian province of Aceh to adopt sharia, or religious law, as state law following the end to the armed insurgency in 2005 was a ‘big mistake’.”

The Sydney Morning Herald: “Indonesian summit to promote ‘renovated’ Islam in challenge to global jihadis,” by Jewel Topsfield, May 8, 2016. “‘Ansor’s global unity forum will highlight the fact that elements within classical Islamic law explicitly enjoin discrimination against certain classes of human beings on the basis of religion,’ says C. Holland Taylor from the LibForAll Foundation, a non-profit organisation fighting for tolerant Islam which he co-founded with former Indonesian president and NU leader Abdurrahman Wahid in 2003. ‘Ansor will issue a call to ulama (Islamic scholars) to examine the problems humanity is facing and see how they are connected to Islamic law and teachings and how these might be reconceptualised.’”

Taiwan News: “Indonesian cleric: ‘Islamic re-contextualization’ needed for Israel-Palestine peace,” June 28, 2018. “‘First, we must want peace. That’s it. Do we want to keep fighting until everything is destroyed or do we want peace? If you choose peace, then there should be dialogue. But dialogue alone is not enough. Dialogue must be accompanied by social movements, so that aspirations for peace become consensus at the community level. Then political leaders will build policies based on the aspirations of peace.’ ~ Yahya Cholil Staquf”

The Telegraph: “Britain has a critical role ‘East of Suez’ in the Indo-Pacific century,” by Stephen Harper, July 20, 2020. “Even if different directions are chosen on specific issues, Britain and its allies must work together as much as possible to preserve the rules-based order on questions of economics, defence and security in the region.”

The Telegraph:The government was absolutely right to reject this flawed definition of Islamophobia,” by Richard Walton, May 16, 2019. “I was delighted to learn that the government had rejected the definition of Islamophobia created by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslisms. Their definition – that ‘Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’ – is simply unacceptable in any modern democracy that values freedom of speech.”

The Telegraph: “To prevent another Christchurch, Islam must confront the attacks in its name that have radicalised the West,” by Yahya Cholil Staquf, March 25, 2019. “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 – The Telegraph 2 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.” “Buya Syafii Lauds UGM’s Proposing NU-Muhammadiyah for Nobel Peace,” by Markus Wisnu Murti, January 25, 2018. “NU and Muhammadiyah have been recently proposed as nominees for Nobel Peace Prize. A professor of Anthropology at Boston University, Robert W. Hefner, submitted the proposal prepared by UGM’s Center for Security and Peace Studies.” “Minister Claim Israel Visit is Pro-Palestine,” June 16, 2018. “A number of figures and public organizations have launched criticism toward the government for allowing Yahya Staquf to visit Israel. The prominent figure of Nahdlatul Ulama was reported to participate in a general lecture on ‘Shifting the Geopolitical Calculus: From Conflict to Cooperation’ during the America Jewish Committee event.”

Time: “The 100 Most Influential People of 2018 − Sinta Nuriyah,” by Mona Eltahawy, April 30, 2018. “Ms. Nuriyah, the widow of former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, is undeterred. The self-identified Muslim feminist has degrees in both Shari‘a law and women’s studies; she understands how politicized religion is particularly cruel to women and minorities. She has counseled transgender women, supported a Christian former governor of Jakarta who was convicted of blasphemy and more—choosing to support the vulnerable rather than settle into a risk-free life as a former President’s widow.”

Time: “Top Indonesian Muslim Scholar Says Stop Pretending That Orthodox Islam and Violence Aren’t Linked,” by Marco Stahlhut, September 8, 2017. “There’s a growing dissatisfaction in the West with respect to Muslim minorities, a growing fear of Islam. In this sense, some Western friends of mine are “Islamophobic.” They’re afraid of Islam. To be honest, I understand their fear … The West cannot force Muslims to adopt a moderate interpretation of Islam. But Western politicians should stop telling us that fundamentalism and violence have nothing to do with traditional Islam. That is simply wrong.”

The Times: “Britain has a major role to play as the Indo-Pacific enters a new era,” by Shinzo Abe, November 23, 2020. “The pace of modernisation in the Indo-Pacific region continues to increase, bringing both opportunities and challenges to the countries of Asia. Indeed, when I first began discussing the concept of the ‘Indo-Pacific,’ in 2007, the region was far less integrated than today.”

The Times: “Why the UK should power up its Indo-Pacific ties,” by Claire Coutinho, July 28, 2020. “China’s increasing military, economic and diplomatic power is dominating foreign policy discussions across the globe. Britain is right to take a firm stance against “gross and egregious” human rights abuses, standing by its allies in the process. However, to truly shore up our rules-based global system and protect our values of free trade and democracy, we must also move swiftly to deepen our relationships with our partners in the Indo-Pacific.”

The Times: “Islamophobia: The complex problem of defining prejudice,” by Dominic Kennedy, May 15, 2019. “Opponents of the term Islamophobia fear that it may be used to stifle criticism of religious beliefs and customs because it fails to distinguish between individuals and faith.”

The Times: “Terror police warn against new rules on Islamophobia,” by Dominic Kennedy, May 15, 2019. “The adoption of the definition, which could, in effect, make it racist to criticise Islam or ‘Muslimness’, would clash with existing equality law, which defines racism more narrowly in terms of colour and ethnicity. Critics fear that the reform would amount to a blasphemy law by the back door.”

The Times: “The Times view of Islamophobia: Defining Hate,” May 15, 2019. “The all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims is keen for ministers to adopt a new definition of Islamophobia, which describes it as ‘a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’. This is well-meaning, and has been adopted by Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London. Yet, as a new report by the Policy Exchange think tank argues today, the definition is dangerously flawed.”

The Times: “You and the Commonwealth can fight merchants of hate,” by Alexander Downer, March 17, 2019. “The second crucial thing is engagement of the right kind with those who are trying to stamp out extremism — and pressure on those who are exacerbating it. In Indonesia, for example, the Nahdlatul Ulama movement, with a membership of up to 30m Muslims, does remarkable work to counter the polarisation of Indonesian society and strengthen social cohesion. By challenging obsolete tenets within Islamic tradition that are used to justify hatred and violence, they make future attacks such as the Bali bombing less likely.”

The Times of Israel: “Extremists Blame Jews for NZ Massacre While Leader of 60 Million Moderate Muslims Urges Faithful To Denounce Bigoted Co-Religionists,” by Abraham Cooper, March 27, 2019. “Muslims, Jews, and Christians should take their cue from Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Islamic organization based in Indonesia. He wrote in the London’s Telegraph how Muslim extremists exploit outworn religious supremacist doctrines going back to the medieval Caliphate to justify twenty-first century violence, just as Brent Tarrant used the medieval Christian Crusades to justify his anti-Muslim atrocity. Both use the internet and social media to promote an age-old cycle of religious violence.”

The Times of Israel: “Netanyahu unexpectedly meets with Indonesian Muslim leader,” June 15, 2018. “Speaking to The Times of Israel on Wednesday, Staquf appealed for “compassion” between Jews and his coreligionists, which he said could help the Jewish state build ties with Muslim countries around the world.”

The Times of Israel: “In Israel, top Indonesian cleric calls for ‘compassion’ between Muslims and Jews,” by Raphael Ahren, June 12, 2018. “‘I want to call the world, the whole world to choose a better future. Let us choose rahma, meaning compassion and caring about others,’ Yahya Cholil Staquf, the head of the 60 million member Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), told The Times of Israel during an interview. ‘Rahma is the foundation of anything that we could hope for to find a solution to all the conflicts in our current world,’ he said. ‘And rahma doesn’t need a precondition.'”

Tipping Point (audio): “Special Interview with Top Muslim Cleric Yahya Cholil Staquf,” June, 2018.

Tony Blair Institute for Global Change: “The Ulema-State Alliance: A Barrier to Democracy and Development in the Muslim World,” by Dr. Ahmet T Kuru, September 2, 2021. “Since 2014, Nahdlatul Ulama’s General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf has led a reform movement, ‘Humanitarian Islam’, which aims to promote universal citizenship in Indonesia, by criticizing the Islamist efforts to categorize non-Muslim citizens as ‘infidels’, impose sharia, and build an international caliphate. In its global activities, this movement established a partnership with World Evangelical Alliance. Thomas K. Johnson and C. Holland Taylor, eds., God Needs No Defense: Reimagining Muslim-Christian Relations in the 21st Century (Hamburg: Institute for Humanitarian Islam, 2021).”

The Tower: “Leader of World’s Largest Muslim Organization Meets Netanyahu, Wants Closer Ties with Israel,” June 15, 2018. “Staquf, a strong advocate of interfaith dialogue, met with several religious leaders this week. His meeting with Netanyahu, however, was not officially on the agenda. After talks with the cleric, Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s warming ties with Muslim countries, and expressed his hopes ‘that we have some movement with Indonesia.'”

Tower of David Museum (video): “Koolulam | One Love – Bob Marley | Tower of David | 06.14.2018,” July 8, 2018. On June 14th, 2018, in honor of the historical visit to Israel by Indonesia’s religious leader Sheikh Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, Koolulam invited 1000 people who had never met before to a special event at the Tower of David in Jerusalem, to sing one song, in three languages and in three-part vocal harmony.

Tower of David Museum (video): “Making of ‘One Love’ Peace Event,” July 5, 2018. At midnight after the final day of Ramadan, and in honor of the Jerusalem visit of Indonesian Sheikh Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Koolulam, the Tower of David Museum and invited more than 1,000 Jews, Muslims and Christians—to sing together to celebrate the message of universal love and compassion. Before the main Koolulam event, religious leaders gathered for a colloquium on how religion can serve as a bridge to mutual understanding, compassion and peace between people. Hosted by Dr. Yehuda Stolov, CEO of the Interfaith Encounter Association, the meeting was attended by leaders of three religions.

The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer: “Did they or didn’t they? The battle for control of Brussels’ Grand Mosque,” by James Dorsey, November 17, 2017. “‘There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam,’ said Yahya Cholil Staquf, the 51-year old general secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).”

The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer: “Two conferences spotlight Muslim world’s struggle to counter militancy,” by James Dorsey, May 23, 2017. ‘…[T]he NU conference warned that Muslims need to bridge the gap between teachings of Islamic orthodoxy and the contemporary Muslim reality. In a reference to Saudi-inspired ultra-conservatism, the draft asserted that ‘social and political instability, civil war and terrorism all arise from the attempt, by ultra-conservative Muslims, to implement certain elements of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) within a context that is no longer compatible with…classical norms.’”

Twitter – Mustofa Akyol:As usual, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (@nu_online) raises a voice of reason.” October 28, 2020.

Twitter – American Jewish Committee: “In a historic conversation at AJC Global Forum 2018, Pak Yahya, leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council, called for Muslims and Jews to pursue justice through compassion.” June 10, 2018.

TwitterAmy Chew: “Ground-breaking – #Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation #NU urges that non-Muslims are not called #Infidels anymore as it contains elements of violent theology. #NU is the largest #Muslim organisation in the world with over 50 million followers,” February 28, 2019.

Twitter – Richard Dawkins: “An Islamic scholar who really lives up to the name: If only his kind of enlightened Muslim predominated.” September 11, 2017.

Twitter – European People’s Party (EPP):EPP is concerned by the actions & statements of Turkish President Erdogan which show a disregard for international law, inter-religious dialogue & peaceful coexistence of religions. Converting #HagiaSophia into a mosque illustrates Erdogan’s dismissal of world heritage & culture.” July 24, 2020.

Twitter – Sam Harris: “Well, this is refreshing… Orthodox Islam and Violence ‘Linked’ Says Top Muslim Scholar.” September 10, 2017.

Twitter – IDC-CDI: Retweet:EPP is concerned by the actions & statements of Turkish President Erdogan which show a disregard for international law, inter-religious dialogue & peaceful coexistence of religions. Converting #HagiaSophia into a mosque illustrates Erdogan’s dismissal of world heritage & culture.” July 24, 2020.

Twitter – IDC-CDI:The #idccdi #PKB considers irresponsible the decision of #Erdogan President of Turkey to convert #HagiaSophia into a Mosq. We reiterate our commitment to values, the law and #humanitarianislam,” July 22, 2020.

Twitter – IDC-CDI:The #IDCCDI executive committee held in #CaboVerde approved full membership of #PKB from #Indonesia @cakimiNOW we welcome you to the world largest center right political organisation,” December 18, 2018.

Twitter – Benjamin Netanyahu: “A special meeting today in Jerusalem with Yahya Cholil Staquf, the General Secretary of the global Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama. I’m very happy to see that Arab countries and many Muslim countries are getting closer to Israel!” June 14, 2018.

Twitter – Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met today, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, with Yahya Cholil Staquf, the General Secretary of the global Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama.” June 14, 2018.

Twitter – Andrés Pastrana A: Retweet:The #idccdi #PKB considers irresponsible the decision of #Erdogan President of Turkey to convert #HagiaSophia into a Mosq. We reiterate our commitment to values, the law and #humanitarianislam,” July 22, 2020.

Twitter – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence: “Honored to welcome the @NahdaltulUlama Secretary General to the @WhiteHouse today. Their efforts opposing radical Islam are critical in Indonesia—where we saw despicable attacks on Christians. @POTUS Trump’s admin stands with NU in its fight for religious freedom & against jihad.” May 17, 2018.

Twitter – U.S. Department of State: “Live Now! @SecPompeo delivers a speech at Nahdlatul Ulama/Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, in Jakarta, Indonesia.” October 29, 2020.

Twitter – Indonesian President Joko Widodo: “Yahya Cholil Staquf becomes a member of the Presidential Advisory Council.” May 31, 2018.