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

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

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

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

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

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2020_07_29_Britain turns to Nahdlatul Ulama to help formulate a new Indo-Pacific strategy

“South and Southeast Asia are poised to emerge as independent pillars of support for the rules-based international order”

LONDON, United Kingdom, July 29, 2020: KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf—General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization—has joined a high-profile international commission dedicated to forging “a new approach” to the Indo-Pacific as Britain seeks to place this strategically vital region at the center of its pursuit of a renewed global role in the wake of its exit from the European Union (Brexit).

Newly established by the most influential think tank in the United Kingdom, Policy Exchange, the Indo-Pacific Commission is led by former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recognizes the formative effect its recommendations are likely to have upon British foreign policy. Writing in The Telegraph—a prominent British newspaper with close links to that country’s governing Conservative Party—Harper said. . . Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_07_23_Islam and the Disappearing People

Prominent Muslim scholar acknowledges “the long and tragic history of religious persecution in the Islamic world”

Coptic icon depicting 21 Christians who were beheaded by ISIS in Sirte, Libya, in 2015

PRINCETON, New Jersey, July 23, 2020: The General Secretary of Indonesia’s 90-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) has called upon Muslims to lead by example and act to end the widespread, systematic and ongoing persecution of religious minorities across the Islamic world.

“Systemic prejudice and discrimination towards others, and the weaponization of ‘tribal’ identity—whether for self-preservation or self-aggrandizement—have been characteristic of nearly all societies throughout history,” said Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, in response to recent upheavals in the U.S. and Western Europe triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a U.S. policeman. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_07_08_Nahdlatul Ulama Poised for Global Leadership: Strategic Review

Indonesia’s Top Foreign Affairs Journal Spotlights Humanitarian Islam
“A movement is underway to change the face of Islam, whose base is shifting from the Middle East to Asia”

JAKARTA, Indonesia / July 2020: The largest Muslim organization on earth is spearheading a mass, grassroots, multi-faith campaign to revitalize the post-WWII rules-based international order and forge a positive role for Islam upon the world stage, where a harsh, repressive and all-too-often violent understanding of the faith has been promulgated by Middle Eastern autocrats for decades.

Acknowledging this momentous shift, Strategic Review: The Indonesian Journal of Leadership, Policy and World Affairs published on July 2nd two lead stories about the Humanitarian Islam movement. The movement seeks to “recontextualize (i.e., reform) obsolete and problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy” and “foster shared civilizational values to revitalize a rules-based international order.” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_04_22_Global Evangelical and Muslim Organizations Launch Major Joint Religious Freedom Project

“Evangelical Christians and Humanitarian Muslims are committing to help protect each others’ religious communities, guided by a moral compass that is rooted in universal ethics and values.”

World Evangelical Alliance and Humanitarian Islam leaders sit beneath a painting that depicts Indonesia’s founding father, Sukarno, cradling a barefoot independence martyr slain by Dutch colonial forces in late-1940s Java. A crucifix dangles from the young man’s neck. Sri Ayati’s Legacy hangs in the Jakarta headquarters of Nahdlatul Ulama’s young adults organization, GP Ansor, and has become a potent symbol of the Humanitarian Islam movement.

JAKARTA, Indonesia and NEW YORK, USA: 22 April 2020. Leading figures in the world’s largest Muslim organization and the world’s largest Evangelical Christian organization announced today that they are undertaking an ambitious joint effort to reshape how the world thinks about religion and to counter two threats to religious freedom and to society more broadly: religious extremism and secular extremism.

The Muslim participants represent Humanitarian Islam, which is rooted in the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), with an estimated membership of more than 90 million, primarily in its home country of Indonesia. Since its founding almost a century ago, NU has gained wide recognition for its promotion of a version of Islamic orthodoxy characterized by respect for religious pluralism and tolerance. Its members are now found in most major cities around the globe. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2020_03_09_The Trial: the strange case of Trevor Phillips

How the accusation of Islamophobia is used to stifle free speech

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

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

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

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2020_03_09_World Security Forum

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

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

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

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

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2020_02_27_Muslim World League

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 26, 2020   |   James M. Dorsey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2020_01_24_Indonesia’s Contribution to the Future of Civilization

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

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

24 January 2020, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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

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

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

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

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2020_01_16_Abrahamic Faiths Initiative

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

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

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

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

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