2023_08_04_R20 Book Launch

Proceedings of the R20 International Summit of Religious Leaders illuminates NU strategy to avert a global “clash of civilizations”

“The launching of this book… is nothing less than a transformative moment in contemporary world affairs. The book provides a breathtaking overview of the ideas and exchanges animating the most comprehensive meeting of religious leaders from around the world ever organized”
~ Robert Hefner,
Professor of Anthropology and International Relations at Boston University and President of the American Institute for Indonesian Studies

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — On 4 August, 2023, scholars and religious leaders from across the world gathered in the historic Senate Building of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) — Indonesia’s premier seat of higher learning — for the official launch of a seminal work titled Proceedings of the R20 International Summit of Religious Leaders in Bali, Indonesia. A panel of highly respected scholars representing a wide range of academic disciplines praised the 428-page volume for providing a clear vision and practical roadmap whereby the world’s major religions “may become a genuine and dynamic source of solutions, rather than problems.”

In a world in which scholarly publications are often slow to reach the printing press and strikingly expensive, Nahdlatul Ulama, the Center for Shared Civilizational Values, and the G20 Religion Forum (R20) worked with Gadjah Mada University Press — the publishing house of Indonesia’s top university — to make Proceedings of the R20 available in both high-quality hardback and an open-access online version, nine months after the event was held in Bali, Indonesia. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2023_06_15_ASEAN Shared Civilizational Values

World’s largest Muslim organization launches a movement for pluralist re-awakening in South and Southeast Asia

NU coordinates with the Government of Indonesia and ASEAN to build consensus regarding values that may serve as the foundation for an emerging global civilization
“[S]hared civilizational values can play an important role in mobilizing a vast constituency to support a more peaceful and harmonious global civilization, founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being
~ KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf
General Chairman, Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board

H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Minister of Religious Affairs, Republic of Indonesia; President Joko Widodo; and KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, following discussion of the ASEAN Summit

SURABAYA, Indonesia — On 15 June, 2023, religious leaders from around Indonesia and across its faith traditions gathered in East Java for a workshop socializing Nahdlatul Ulama’s vision and strategy to consolidate South and Southeast Asia as an alternate pillar of support for a rules-based international order founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2023_05_18_Centrist Democrat International Resolution on the R20

World’s largest political network endorses the G20 Religion Forum:

“[T]he R20 functions as an inclusive, cross-cultural platform designed to infuse the world’s political and economic power structures with moral and spiritual values”

BLED, Slovenia — On 18 May 2023, the world’s largest political network, Centrist Democrat International (CDI) — which has 109 member parties in 83 countries — unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the G20 Religion Forum (R20) at its General Assembly, held in close proximity to the Church of the Assumption of Mary (photo above), an ancient pilgrimage site that lies at the heart of Slovenian identity.

The resolution, submitted by Indonesia’s National Awakening Party (PKB), “calls upon [CDI] member parties, and all G20 Member States, to cooperate in securing recognition of the R20 as a permanent G20 Engagement Group,” “as a means of providing a seat at the G20 table for religious communities and their leaders.”

As the resolution points out, “religious believers constitute the single largest demographic within the human family, whose share of the global population is estimated to exceed 80%.” Continue reading full communiqué. . . 

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2023_05_06_Muslim Women Prepare to Lead

Nahdlatul Ulama empowers women to issue Islamic rulings (fatwas)

“The principle is ‘appoint whoever is most able.’ It’s as simple as that. If women have a greater capacity than men, that’s not a problem, for the Prophet said of [his wife] Sayyidina Aisha, ‘take half of your religion from this woman.’”
~ KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf
Chairman, Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board
NU encourages Muslims to follow a “middle path,” between the extremes of Islamist and militant secular ideology

PURWAKARTA, West Java, 6 May 2023 — For the first time in its 100-year history, the world’s largest Muslim organization has authorized female religious scholars to address issues related to Islamic law, by opening participation in Lembaga Bahtsul Masa’il (LBM) decision-making to women.

A prestigious division of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), LBM is composed of prominent ulama (religious scholars) whose knowledge and mastery of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) qualifies them to issue authoritative rulings on matters of practical and immediate concern to Muslims. Historically, throughout the Muslim world, the authority to issue fatwas has, with rare exceptions, been conferred almost exclusively upon men. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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2023_04_24_Anglican Schism

The Turbulent World:

“Anglican schism is not just about theology. It’s about geopolitics too.”

“In a twist of irony, Nahdlatul Ulama, a conservative, Indonesia-based reformist Muslim civil society movement, has discreetly stepped into the breach left by the Anglican church…. NU included Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, the primate of Nigeria, in the opening plenary of [the R20] summit of religious leaders held in Bali in November 2022.”

Nahdlatul Ulama Chairman KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf presents a commemorative plaque to Archbishop Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, Primate of the Church of Nigeria, at the G20 Religion Forum (R20) in Bali

 James M. Dorsey   |   April 24, 2023

KIGALI, Rwanda — A schism that could tear the Anglican church apart is about more than LGBTQ rights. It’s about fundamental cultural and religious differences with potentially profound consequences for the geopolitical battle to shape a 21st-century world order.

The rift also raises questions about the Church of England’s priorities at a time when the Anglican congregation in Nigeria, home to the world’s largest Anglican community, is under persistent attack by Muslim militias in an environment of escalating violence in the country that targets multiple communitiesContinue reading full communiqué. . . 

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2023_04_21_In the Black Hole

Pakistani nuclear scientist and human rights activist, Pervez Hoodbhoy, hosts in-depth public discussion of Nahdlatul Ulama’s agenda

“Past proponents of reform in Islam were individual thinkers, maybe small groups of thinkers. They were not organisations with the kind of power that Nahdlatul Ulama represents.”

The following text and transcript appear courtesy of Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy and Dr. James M. Dorsey:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan / 21 April 2023 — Pakistan ranks high on the list of Muslim-majority countries in which significant segments of the population are, in religious terms, militantly ultra-conservative. It’s a country where the impact of decades of Saudi funding of ultra-conservative religious thinking has left deep inroads.

It’s also a country in which numerous people over the years have been killed or lynched by outraged individuals or mobs over allegations of blasphemy, or for expressing opposition to harsh laws that mandate the death sentence for blasphemy. Since 1990, more than 80 people have been killed in such violence. This month, a Chinese national was remanded in custody after protesters accused him of blasphemy. Continue reading full communiqué. . . 

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2023_04_13_Ramadan Forum

Building Peace Between Palestine and Israel, on the Basis of Sunni Islamic Jurisprudence for a Global Civilization (fiqh hadarah ahl al-sunnah wa-al-jama‘ah) and Jewish Law (halakha)

Many people involved in this conflict believe that the solution is to eliminate the other side. But a genuine solution requires striving to create a better future for all humanity, not simply our own religious group.
~ KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, addressing the Ramadan Forum at UIII

DEPOK, Indonesia — On the afternoon of 13 April 2023, Indonesia’s flagship International Islamic University (UIII) served as the venue for a wide-ranging discussion of the prospects for building peace between Palestine and Israel, through the reform of obsolete and problematic tenets of both Islamic, and Jewish, orthodoxy. The Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board (PBNU) initiated and co-sponsored the event — advocating a novel approach to fostering Middle East peace.

Experts on Islam, Judaism, and the Middle East addressed a live audience during a 2 ½ -hour discussion that was livestreamed by UIII and TVNU.

Shaykh Mohammed Abdalhafez Yousef Azzam, Deputy Chief Judge of the Palestinian Authority’s Islamic court system, stated his position clearly in remarks delivered before an international audience gathered at UIII in a suburb of metropolitan Jakarta: “There is no basis within Islamic law for establishing peace with Israel.” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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Award-winning journalist Richard Ostling:
Nahdlatul Ulama’s “[c]ampaign for thorough reform of Muslim law deserves mainstream coverage – now”

Nahdlatul Ulama leaders pray at a gathering of almost two million followers in Sidoarjo, East Java on 7 February 2023

NEW YORK, 11 April 2023 — One of America’s leading religious affairs commentators — a veteran journalist who produced 23 cover stories for Time Magazine over the course of his decades-long career — has called on Western media to take note of Nahdlatul Ulama’s campaign for “thorough worldwide reform of how to understand [Islam’s] religious law (Sharia),” and give it the serious coverage it deserves.

“Far from some esoteric intellectual discourse,” Richard Ostling writes, “such a philosophical change could potentially affect the future of the world’s second-largest faith regarding democracy, blasphemy laws, human rights, education, the role of women, treatment of other religions, warfare, extremism, terrorism and crime and punishment.” Continue reading full communiqué. . .

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Ongoing dialogue between Nahdlatul Ulama and Hindu nationalists attracts increasing global attention

“Indonesia has been contributing significantly to the development of discourse on Islamic jurisprudence.”
~ Dawn (Pakistan)

Badshahi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, former capital of the Mughal Empire

KARACHI, Pakistan, 2 April 2023 — Pakistan’s newspaper of record and most influential English-language daily, Dawn, has published an article praising Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama and its significant contribution to the development of discourse on Islamic jurisprudence.

In an article titled “End of ideology,” prominent security analyst and columnist Muhammad Amir Rana noted that “Nahdlatul Ulama has been advocating for abolishing the concept of caliphate and replacing it with the idea of the nation state. It has also issued a decree or fatwa to erase the concept of kafir or infidel from Islamic jurisprudence and replace it with the idea of citizenship.” Continue reading full communiqué. . . 

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2023_03_29_Sciences Po “Focus”

Sciences Po, the EU’s top university in the field of politics and international affairs

“Nahdlatul Ulama has laid down a marker that other Muslim religious authorities will ultimately be unable to ignore if they want recognition as proponents of a genuinely moderate Islam.”
~ Dr. James M. Dorsey
L’Observatoire International du Religieux

KH. A. Mustofa Bisri, former Chairman of the NU Supreme Council, delivering the Nahdlatul Ulama Centennial Proclamation in Sidoarjo, East Java on 7 February 2023

PARIS, France, March 2023 — For the second time in three months, an elite academic research program supported by France’s Ministry of Armed Forces has highlighted the geopolitical significance of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, and its efforts to reform obsolete an