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NU Leader Asks for a Return to Peace in Islam
April 20, 2011
The chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Islamic organization, on Tuesday repeated his call for Muslims to practice tolerance and peace.
“Islam means peace,” said KH Said Aqil Siradj, NU chairman. “Muslims might not reflect peace because of four factors: poverty, ignorance, Middle East-sponsored ideologies and incorrect interpretations of Islam.”
Speaking at a book discussion at the organization’s headquarters in Central Jakarta, Said Aqil said he lamented the fact that people had begun to forget the peaceful philosophy of Islam.
“In the 13 years the Prophet Muhammad spent in Mecca, he never declared war against those who practiced idolatry, nor did he order his men to destroy the statues.”
The idols were eventually destroyed when the people of Mecca converted to Islam.
“Muhammad, during his glory days, never declared Medina as an Islamic state. The word Medina means civilized,” Said Aqil said.
Said Aqil added that he was shocked by the suicide bomb at the Cirebon Police mosque last week. “NU has a well-established tradition in Cirebon, but that tradition was destroyed by a child last week,” he said.
Said Aqil also claimed that NU was under threat by Wahabi-funded foundations that dislike the traditional Islam of the group.
Yenny Wahid, the daughter of former president and NU senior figure Abdurrahman Wahid, said open discussion was needed to construct peace and reduce distrust among people.
“Without dialogue, there will be no knowledge, and our people can be easily provoked because they may not understand things,” she said.
Tuesday’s discussion was centered on a book published by Yenny’s Wahid Institute in collaboration with Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai titled “Dialogue on Civilizations for Tolerance and Peace.” The 309-page book recorded a 2-year correspondence between Abdurrahman and Buddhist leader and writer Daisaku Ikeda, and promotes a message of peace through continuous dialogue to bridge differences.
Meanwhile, dozens of members of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Force of the Defenders of Islam (LPI) sealed an Ahmadiyah mosque in Pekanbaru, Riau.
“What we did was on behalf of Islam, FPI is at the front as the coordinator and we are ready to face anyone including the law,” said Feli Rizieq, coordinator of FPI Pekanbaru.
Ulma Haryanto & Antara