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2022 Political Communiqués

“Striving to ensure that religion in the 21st century functions as a genuine and dynamic source of solutions, rather than problems”

JAKARTA, Indonesia and WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina, May 20, 2022 — In the midst of rising identity-based conflict world-wide, leaders of Indonesia’s 90-million-member Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) have created an organizational vehicle to “identify shared values that may serve as the basis for harmonious coexistence between the diverse people, cultures, nations and religions of the world.” Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“Unless serious efforts for greater integration on the lines of NU are made, the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims is bound to grow.”

NEW DELHI, India, May 18, 2022 — Writing in South Asia’s leading news magazine, India Today, a major Hindu social and political leader has analyzed the severe challenges European nations face in integrating their Muslim minority populations. The article concludes that Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, with its systematic efforts to reform obsolete and problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy, may hold the key to overcoming obstacles to Muslim integration in Europe and elsewhere. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“Reawakening the ancient spiritual, cultural, and socio-political heritage of the Indianized civilizational sphere”

JAKARTA and NEW DELHI, May 9, 2022 — Amid rising hostility between the world’s great powers, Hindu and Muslim leaders have begun to explore strategies to “stem the tide of chaos” and preserve a rules-based international order, by strengthening “the humanitarian values of the East.” Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“A Deepening Divide?”
“How India can avert strife” by embracing the “inclusive and humanitarian Islam… promoted by organisations like Nahdlatul Ulama”

NOIDA, UTTAR PRADESH, India – April 23, 2022. The most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million, has published a cover story advocating the embrace of “a more inclusive and humanitarian Islam” by Indian Muslims, in order to help bridge that nation’s deepening communal divide. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“The ‘Ashoka Approach’ and Indonesian Leadership in the Movement for Pluralist Re-Awakening in South and Southeast Asia”

JAKARTA, Indonesia and NEW DELHI, India — Leaders of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organization, are working 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. Integral to this effort is a regional strategy called the “Ashoka Approach,” which seeks to reawaken the ancient spiritual, cultural, and socio-political heritage of the Indianized cultural sphere, or “Indosphere” — a civilizational zone that pioneered, long before the West, key concepts and practices of religious pluralism and tolerance. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“Dr. James Dorsey has drawn a stark contrast between Nahdlatul Ulama’s democratic vision and the autocratic view of Islam represented by Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah”

SINGAPORE — The world’s largest Muslim organization, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, is moving to dismantle a key legacy of President Suharto’s 32-year authoritarian regime (1966 – 1998), as part of its continuing effort to reconcile Islam and democracy. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Nahdlatul Ulama challenges Middle East claims to possess a monopoly on Islamic authority and religious discourse

JAKARTA, Indonesia, March 14, 2022: In a move reminiscent of Martin Luther’s challenge to the authority of Rome in the 16th century — which launched the Protestant Reformation and paved the way for an explosion of scientific and technological progress in Europe — Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) is challenging Middle East governments’ claim to possess a monopoly on Islamic authority and discourse. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Dr. James Dorsey:
Muhammad bin Salman and Yahya Cholil Staquf represent “diametrically opposed visions of moderate Islam,” mirroring the global struggle between autocracy and democracy in the 21st century

SINGAPORE, March 4, 2022: Drawing a stark contrast between two “clashing visions” of Islam and its global future, a new essay by award-winning journalist and geopolitical analyst Dr. James Dorsey highlights the profound civilizational differences between the religious reform agenda of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama and that being proffered by Middle East governments, including Saudi Arabia. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine requires an urgent response from the world community”

JAKARTA, Indonesia — On February 24, 2022, shortly after the Russian Federation launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, the Chairman of the world’s largest Muslim organization described the attack as a profound threat to the post-World War II international order and called for a global response to Russia’s violation of Ukrainian territory. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“Sharing the vision of a universal humanity — i.e., universal humanism — has become an integral part of NU’s efforts to project strategic influence upon the world stage”

JAKARTA, Indonesia — On February 23, 2022, Indonesia’s largest and most influential newspaper, Kompas, published another in a series of articles examining the impact of KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf’s December 2021 election as General Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board. With an estimated daily readership of 2.25 million people, Kompas is Indonesia’s “newspaper of record,” helping to shape public opinion in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and democracy. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“Indian Muslims Need to Emulate the Indonesian Model:
The humanitarianism of eastern Islam”

NEW DELHI, India: February 18, 2022 — An influential Indian politician, author, public intellectual and member of the National Executive of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the group that gave birth to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has called on Indian Muslims to emulate Indonesia’s concept of Humanitarian Islam. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs:
“Prambanan Temple will no longer be simply a tourist destination, but rather a center of active worship for Hindus from Indonesia and throughout the world”

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — On February 11, 2022, senior Indonesian government officials and religious leaders met to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Use of Prambanan Temple and Borobudur Temple for the Religious Interests of Hindus and Buddhists in Indonesia and the World. As a result, two of Asia’s most renowned sacred sites, which in recent decades had been largely closed to ritual worship, are now available for the performance of Hindu and Buddhist religious rituals on a regular basis. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia:
“NU’s contribution to our religious and national life has transformed Indonesia into a nation united by the principle of ‘Oneness Amid Diversity.’ This achievement may serve as a model and an inspiration to other nations.

BALIKPAPAN, East Kalimantan, Indonesia: On January 31, 2022, Indonesian political leaders gathered to witness the inauguration of the newly elected Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board, which will govern the world’s largest Muslim organization from 2022 – 2027 under the Chairmanship of Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

NU Chairman Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf:
“Holocaust remembrance serves as a memorial and vivid reminder of the cruelty, violence and suffering that so many human beings. . . have, for thousands of years, inflicted upon others.”

LOS ANGELES and MANAMA, Bahrain. On January 27, 2022, KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf — newly elected Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board — joined global leaders in commemorating the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes place every year on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“Humanitarian Islam”: New Nahdlatul Ulama Chairman and the Global Initiative to Promote Religious Moderation

SYNOPSIS: Nahdlatul Ulama — Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation — recently elected Yahya Cholil Staquf as its new chairman. A close analysis of his background and past accomplishments reveals that Yahya has a potential agenda to transform the organisation into a global voice on religious moderation through his promotion of “humanitarian Islam”. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

2021 Political Communiqués

Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf:
“NU was founded to develop a new civilizational framework, following the collapse of the old civilizational construct after WWI and the dissolution of the Ottoman Caliphate.

BANDAR LAMPUNG, Indonesia: On December 24, 2021 Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf was elected General Chairman of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, with a mandate to promote Humanitarian Islam on the global stage — in order to foster the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order, founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Member of Bayt ar-Rahmah’s core team stands down:
“It has been an enormous privilege to support Nahdlatul Ulama spiritual leaders as they advance a pluralistic and tolerant understanding and practice of Islam worldwide”

LONDON, United Kingdom, December 21, 2021: Bayt ar-Rahmah’s Director of Strategic Outreach — Thomas Dinham — is standing down after over three years in the role, during which he worked closely with Nahdlatul Ulama spiritual leaders to help the world’s largest Muslim organization emerge upon the world stage as “a formidable challenger to powerful state actors in the battle for the soul of Islam. . . This struggle has and will affect the prospects for the emergence of a truly more tolerant and pluralistic interpretation of one of the three Abrahamic religions.” (“The Battle for the Soul of Islam,” Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, Hudson Institute Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World). Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

WASHINGTON, DC: On November 16, 2021 a delegation of senior Indonesian politicians affiliated with Nahdlatul Ulama visited the first mosque in the United States built by descendants of enslaved African Americans, and paid their respects to leaders of the Imam W. Deen Mohammed Community, which operates hundreds of mosques and Islamic centers nationwide. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Conference at University of Notre Dame explores the nature of human rights and their future in an uncertain world

SOUTH BEND, Indiana: From November 14 – 16, 2021, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame convened thirty international scholars to explore and extend the work of the Commission on Unalienable Rights (COUR) — an independent and nonpartisan body convened from 2019 through 2020 and composed of academics, philosophers, and religious scholars. Its charge was to provide the US State Department with advice on human rights grounded in the nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“[I]t is possible to understand this process… as the development of a genuine Indonesian school of thought beginning to operate at a global level and claiming Islam as part of the universal values of humanity”

VIENNA, Austria: In July of 2021, one of Europe’s foremost scholars of jihadism and Islamic law published an in-depth analysis of the indigenization of Islam within Indonesia and its recent emergence upon the world stage as the Humanitarian Islam movement. Humanitarian Islam offers a unique, dynamic and universal alternative to the supremacist, political understanding of Islamic law that animates Islamist ideology and has trapped much of the Muslim world in a cycle of authoritarianism, underdevelopment and violence for centuries. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

NU General Secretary Addresses Indonesia’s Defense Establishment:
“Indonesia is strategically positioned to foster global stability and help ensure the survival of the post-WWII international order”

BOGOR, Indonesia: On November 10, 2021, Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf addressed the assembled faculty, staff and students at Indonesia’s National Defense University, stating that Indonesia has a strategic role to play in preserving and strengthening the post-WWII international order, as well as shaping its future. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Muhaimin Iskandar elected Vice President of the world’s largest political network

BRUSSELS, Belgium, October 28 – 29, 2021: The world’s largest political network has resolved to support the agenda set by Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs & Humanitarian Islam co-founder H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas for his nation’s G20 Interfaith Forum — a move likely to bolster Indonesia’s Presidency of the G20 and increase its global impact. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs affirms the constitutional right to freedom of conscience

JAKARTA, Indonesia: In July of 2021, Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs responded to harsh Islamist criticism of a video address — in which he warmly conveyed a New Year’s greeting to Indonesia’s miniscule Baha’i minority — by affirming that every Indonesian citizen has a constitutional right to religious freedom, and to practice the teachings of his or her faith. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Nahdlatul Ulama moves to prevent foreign and domestic interference in its affairs

JAKARTA, Indonesia, September 20, 2021: The Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim organization, has instructed all of its chapters, institutions and autonomous bodies to cancel or suspend all activities with an Indonesian NGO and two of its foreign partners, and to submit any proposed future activities for approval by the Central Board. The order is designed to protect and enhance minority rights while preserving social harmony and political stability, rather than seeking to curtail NGOs’ freedom to engage in activities of their choice. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Participants claim they were misled

ERBIL, Iraq, September 24, 2021: A conference held in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq attracted global media coverage when its keynote speaker issued a demand for Iraq to join the Abraham Accords and recognize the state of Israel. Yet within 24 hours, conference participants were denying any foreknowledge of the event’s controversial agenda as Sunni and Shiite militias launched a manhunt for those involved. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Nahdlatul Ulama moves to prevent foreign and domestic interference in its affairs

NU General Secretary: “NGOs often weave ‘beautiful narratives’ to impress donors, while in reality undermining progress or even placing others in jeopardy”

It is in light of these dangers — i.e., the perennial threat posed by an alliance between Muslim extremists and self-aggrandizing politicians — that the Nahdlatul Ulama Circular Letter published on September 20, 2021, should be understood. Continue reading full communiqué. . .

Does Nahdlatul Ulama offer a solution to the Muslim world’s authoritarian malaise?

SAN DIEGO, September 23, 2021: One of the world’s preeminent scholars of political Islam — Turkish American Professor Ahmet T. Kuru — has highlighted Humanitarian Islam’s transformative potential as an alternative to the mosque-state alliance that has kept much of the Muslim world trapped in a cycle of authoritarianism, underdevelopment and violence for centuries. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs sets agenda for the G20 Interfaith Forum to be held in 2022

BOLOGNA, Italy, September 12 – 14, 2021: Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs, H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, has delivered a landmark address setting the agenda of the world’s largest Muslim majority nation and democracy for its chairmanship of the G20 Interfaith Forum (IF20), to be held in 2022. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Regent University, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, welcomes Indonesian Muslim leader on the eve of 9/11 anniversary

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia, September 9, 2021: Regent University — which, together with the Christian Broadcasting Network, may be said to represent “the beating heart of evangelical Christianity in the U.S.” — invited Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization, to deliver a keynote address at Regent’s commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Al-Arab:
“The Taliban’s control of Afghanistan spotlights the failed model of government in Muslim states”

SINGAPORE, September 9, 2021: In a hard-hitting article published on the eve of the 9/11 attacks’ 20th anniversary, veteran foreign correspondent and Senior Fellow at National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, Dr. James M. Dorsey, argued that Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama constitutes a unique exception to the cycle of authoritarianism, underdevelopment and violence that afflicts so much of the Muslim world. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Evangelical Podcaster John W. Morehead:
“Two of the most important religious leaders in the world, an evangelical and a Muslim, neither of whom are Americans, came together in Washington, D.C. to launch a book.”

SYRACUSE, Utah: In July of 2021, U.S. evangelical leader John Morehead introduced his audience to the Humanitarian Islam movement in conjunction with the launch of a book published in honor of Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, which represents 600 million Protestants in 140 countries. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Indonesians reaffirm shared moral and spiritual values in nationwide ceremony

JAKARTA, Indonesia, August 17, 2021: During a ceremony broadcast throughout the Indonesian Archipelago, Minister of Religious Affairs H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas read a prayer composed by Nahdlatul Ulama spiritual leader and Humanitarian Islam co-founder Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

God Needs No Defense:
Reimagining Muslim–Christian Relations in the 21st Century

WASHINGTON, DC, July 13, 2021: Spiritual leaders of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) have published a Festschrift, or collection of essays, honoring Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, the newly appointed Secretary General & CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Historic speech, published in English for the first time, offers a stark reminder to the West

WASHINGTON, DC, August 9, 2021: The world’s largest Muslim organization, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has made a century-old speech by one of its founders, KH. Hasyim Asy’ari, available for the first time in English. The publication of this speech — titled Introduction to the Fundamental Principles of Nahdlatul Ulama — is part of a larger effort by the 90-million-member NU to promote shared civilizational values and discourage the political weaponization of identity. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“The Voice of Moderate Muslims”

FRANKFURT, Germany / July 26, 2021: One of Germany’s leading experts on the contemporary Middle East has written a penetrating analysis of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and its “credible” efforts to reform obsolete and problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy, such as the legal concepts of kafir (infidel) and dhimmi (conquered and subordinate non-Muslims). Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Nahdlatul Ulama leader on “The Rise of Religious Nationalism”:
“We need to address obsolete values within our own traditions, which prevent peaceful coexistence”

WASHINGTON, DC, July 15, 2021: Nahdlatul Ulama General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf delivered a keynote address to nearly 1,000 civil society and government leaders at the 2021 International Religious Freedom Summit, during a five day visit to the United States. His topic was the complex and often controversial subject of religious nationalism. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Indonesian and U.S. Statesmen agree that “shared civilizational values” are essential building blocks of a rules-based international order

WASHINGTON, DC: On July 14, 2021, Hudson Institute Distinguished Fellow Kenneth Weinstein moderated a discussion between Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, and Hudson Distinguished Fellow and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency/U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. It was the first time the Indonesian and U.S. statesmen had met face-to-face since Secretary Pompeo addressed leaders of the Humanitarian Islam movement in Jakarta on October 29, 2020, days before the U.S. presidential election. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Leaders of the world’s largest Islamic and Evangelical organizations establish alliance with African American Muslims to promote human dignity and equality worldwide

WASHINGTON, DC, July 13, 2021: Major faith leaders from around the world gathered at Masjid Muhammad, known as “The Nation’s Mosque,” to announce the establishment of a global alliance that aims to promote human dignity and equality. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Battle for the Soul of Islam:
Spotlight on the Gap Between Regimes and Populations

BELGRADE and NEW YORK, April 14, 2021: Nahdlatul Ulama spiritual leaders are at the vanguard of a grassroots, global trend — especially prevalent among Muslim youth — to reject the political weaponization of Islam by Middle East autocrats and Islamist movements. This dramatic shift in Muslim attitudes was recently detailed by Dr. James M. Dorsey, a veteran foreign correspondent and Senior Fellow at National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute (MEI). Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Global evangelical leader and scholar urges “Christians to develop extensive interfaith cooperation with Humanitarian Islam”

BONN, Germany, March 5, 2021: The world’s largest Protestant organization has endorsed the Humanitarian Islam movement as an essential vehicle for peacefully and definitively resolving “the Muslim-Christian clash of civilizations, which started almost 1,500 years ago.” Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, friend of Humanitarian Islam, appointed as WEA Secretary General

BONN, Germany, February 27, 2021: Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher — co-founder of an initiative that unites evangelical Christians and the Humanitarian Islam movement in promoting religious freedom across the globe — has been appointed Secretary General & CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). Founded in 1846, WEA is the largest international organization of evangelical churches, representing over 600 million Protestants and national evangelical alliances in 140 countries. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

World’s Largest Political Network Commends Indonesia for Appointing Humanitarian Islam Co-founder as its Minister of Religious Affairs

BRUSSELS, February 18, 2021: The Executive Committee of the world’s largest political network, Centrist Democrat International (CDI), has unanimously adopted a formal statement praising the appointment of Humanitarian Islam co-founder H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas (“Gus Yaqut”) as Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs. The appointment has been widely hailed by analysts as evidence of a growing determination by the government of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to combat Islamist extremism, uphold the Constitution and defend Indonesia’s ancient traditions of religious pluralism and tolerance. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

Recontextualize the teachings of Islam to address extremism—and to inspire reform.

Nearly a generation after 9/11, the world has made little progress in freeing itself from the threat of radical Islam. For every Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the U.S. eliminates, 100 radicals pop up. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

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. Continue reading full communiqué. . . Or download the PDF version.

“Religion should be an inspiration for society, not a vehicle for the political aspirations of those who seek worldly power”

PRESIDENTIAL PALACE, JAKARTA, Indonesia: On December 22, 2020, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) appointed H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas (“Gus Yaqut”) —Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama’s 5-million-member young adults organization, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, and co-founder of the global Humanitarian Islam movement — as Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs. The appointment, which received viral coverage across Indonesian print, broadcast and social media, signals the Jokowi administration’s determination to block the political weaponization of Islam and neutralize its potentially destabilizing effects in the run-up to Indonesia’s 2024 nat