08 January 2017

Fighting intolerance a challenge for Indonesia's moderate Muslims

.... Yahya says Indonesia has a history of recontextualising Islam. Proof of this, he says, is Indonesian scholars accepting in the 1940s that Indonesia would be a pluralist state based on Pancasila rather than an Islamic state.

"You cannot find in the orthodoxy of Islam any elements that support the decision to legitimise a non-Islamic republic. But Islamic leaders at the time did that."

Yahya says the fact Ahok was elected deputy governor in 2012 also illustrates Indonesia's culture of tolerance. "That should be a proof that Jakarta Muslims are ready to have a Chinese Christian to be governor of Jakarta," he says.

"But the problem is that supremacist view is still there in the orthodoxy of Islam. It is, to us, un-negotiable that this view of orthodoxy should be reformed."

This year Nahdlatul Ulama will hold a conference in East Java which Yahya says will try to set a road map for the reform of Islamic teachings.

"We ... need a powerful social movement to drive Muslim people to move toward the direction of reform. In Indonesia we have Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, the two largest [Islamic] organisations, that should play a role in this matter." [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more