With the alarming rise of Islamic extremism around the globe, Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs expressed their willingness to work hand in hand with various religious groups in upholding religious freedom.
Nadlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest Islamic organization ,claiming to have 40 million members, was established in the Eastern part of Java as a response to the growing influence of Wahabism (Islamic puritanism movement) from Saudi Arabia.
In a seminar on religious harmony and de-radicalization on Feb. 22 in Jakarta, Said Aqil Siradj, Chairman of NU, echoed his predecessor’s message in cementing the role of NU as a strong supporter of religious tolerance. The seminar, hosted by NU, was a response supporting the government’s effort in tackling terrorism especially in the wake of Jakarta’s bombing in January.
In 2014, NU reaffirmed their goal to spread messages of tolerant Islam to curb radicalism, extremism and terrorism, which often spring out from misinterpreted Islamic teachings. “If not for their presence, Islamic radicalism would have spread like wildfire in Indonesia,” observed an Open Doors worker. “It’s as if the Lord has installed them here, a country with the world’s largest Muslim population, to protect the Christians and other minority groups.”
Indeed, NU has long been known as a champion of religious pluralism in Indonesia, which supports and protects various minority groups. However, a growing number of NU members in the grassroots have been reported to have succumbed to the idea of Islamic fundamentalism. Should the organization be penetrated by radical teachings, Indonesia will find itself under the threat of endless violence. Please join us in prayer for NU to stay faithful to their mandate in promoting inter-faith harmony and countering radicalism. Pray also that their teachings of a peaceful Islam will be well spread and be deeply rooted across Indonesia, preventing doctrines of radicalism to take hold of their members.
Father, we are most thankful for the current efforts of the government of Indonesia to counter radicalization, to gather together men and women of peace in different faiths to accomplish this task. We thank You for the work of NU to take a lead in this effort and we pray for them to remain faithful to their mandate of promoting inter-faith harmony as well as opposing radicalization among their Muslim brothers. We pray for peaceful forms of Islam to root out radicalization within the Islamic community across the nation. But more than that, Father, we pray that the gospel of Christ, who alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life, will be permeate the islands of Indonesia and raise up a mighty voice of praise to the King of kings and Lord of lords. In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Amen.