2020_12_01_Hudson Institute’s Current Trends in Islamist Ideology:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020_10_27_Indonesia is Washington’s Gateway for Promoting Islamic Reform

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

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Local groups lead the battle for Islam’s renewal

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

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

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

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

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

CDI President Andrés Pastrana Arango

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2020_09_17_Evangelical Review of Theology

A Case for Ethical Cooperation between Evangelical Christians and Humanitarian Islam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2020_08_14_Indonesia Religious Freedom Landscape Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This is the Saudis playing a double game”

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

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

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

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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 estimat