Islamic leader calls for strengthening moderate Islam for peace

Islamic leader calls for strengthening moderate Islam for peace

The General Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Said Agil Siradj (ANTARA PHOTO/Wahyu Putro A)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - An Indonesian Islamic leader has called for continued efforts to strengthen moderate Islam in the country to assure peace.

In his speech at an event to mark the anniversaries of three clerics at As`ad Boarding School in Muara Bungo, Jambi, Sumatra, on Wednesday, Said Aqil Siradj, the general chairman of Indonesia`s biggest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama, stated that moderate values of Islam exist in "Islam Nusantara" (Islam in the archipelago).

"One must understand that Islam Nusantara is neither an ideology nor a new religion, but it is khashaish, umayyiziaat or typology," he noted in a press statement received by ANTARA.

Islam Nusantara is Islam that is built from cultural pillars as the foundation for propagation of Islam, he added.

"I lived in an Arab country for 13 years and returned home with four children. I returned home with knowledge and not cultural symbols. It was also what Prof. Quarish Shihab, Prof Aqil Munawar, and Kiai (revered cleric) Mustofa Bisri had brought home. They all brought home knowledge and did not import Arab cultures into the country," he remarked.

Aqil advised Muslims in the country to strengthen Islam while, at the same time, love the country and safeguard it against parties that seek to hurt it.

He also urged local leaders to act firmly against trouble makers and terror groups that uphold violent ideologies. He revealed that Prophet Muhammad had been ordered by Allah to drive away people who had made commotion and riots in Madinah.

"Therefore, now, local leaders must also drive those who would disrupt and hurt the country. Drive away their ideologies but let them follow NU, Muhammadiyah, Persos, and other moderate Islamic organizations if they wish to," he explained.

The general chairman of "Pagar Nusa," a martial art group belonging to NU, Nabil Haroen, said he was ready to prepare a "core unit" to safeguard clerics who would campaign for Islam Nusantara.

The director of NUCARE-LizisNU, Syamsul Huda, had extended assistance to improve the infrastructure of the school.

The three figures being commemorated are the late Syaikh Majid al-Jambi, Kiai Ibrahim Majid, and Kiai Qadir Ibrahim, who is the founder of As`as school.

As`ad school administrator KH Najmi Qadir remarked that Syeikh Majid was the religious adviser of the late Sultan Thaha from Jambi Sultanate, who was once sent to Ottoman Sultanate in Turkey to seek assistance to fight then Dutch colonial forces.

Reported by Sigit Pinardi