Gerakan Pemuda Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam

On 21 – 22 May 2017, over 300 Indonesian religious scholars gathered with colleagues from South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America to address “obsolete tenets of classical Islamic law, which are premised upon perpetual conflict with those who do not embrace or submit to Islam.” The event was held at PP (Madrasah) Bahrul ‘Ulum in Jombang, East Java—birthplace of the Nahdlatul Ulama and its 5-million-strong youth movement, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor.

The two-day international gathering of ulama concluded with the adoption of Gerakan Pemuda Ansor’s Declaration on Humanitarian Islam, an 8,000 word analysis of the manner in which state and non-state actors have “weaponized” orthodox Islamic teachings, and detailed road map that calls for “a serious, long-term socio-cultural, political, religious and educational campaign to transform Muslims’ understanding of their religious obligations, and the very nature of Islamic orthodoxy.”

International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders (ISOMIL) Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration

Widely covered by international media, the Summit and NU Declaration explicitly identified “specific modes of interpreting Islam as the most significant factor causing the spread of religious extremism among Muslims” (point 8); cast a spotlight on Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran for their role in having “weaponiz[ed] sectarian differences. . . nurtured religious extremism, and stimulated the spread of terrorism throughout the world” (point 9); identified religious extremism and terror, among Muslims, as “directly contributing to the rise of Islamophobia throughout the non-Muslim world” (point 10); called upon “people of good will of every faith and nation to join in building a global consensus not to politicize Islam” (point 15); and explicitly affirmed that the NU “will strive to consolidate the global ahlussunnah wal jamaah (Sunni Muslim) community, in order to bring about a world in which Islam, and Muslims, are truly beneficent and contribute to the well-being of all humanity” (point 16).

The Nusantara Manifesto

For the first time since the late Middle Ages, a large body of Sunni Muslim authorities are engaged in a wide-ranging, concerted and explicit project of theological renewal (i.e., reform). In the words of KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council, “This effort will address obsolete tenets within Islamic orthodoxy; realign these problematic tenets with 21st century ‘civilizational reality’; block their political weaponization; and curtail the spread of communal hatred by fostering the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order, founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being.” Find out more…

Centrist Democrat International Resolutions

Humanitarian Islam, Evangelical Christianity, and the Clash of Civilizations

Are Muslims and Christians locked in mortal combat forever? Will ever-continuing jihads and crusades continue to cost the lives of millions and destroy once-beautiful cities? Must the Muslim-Christian clash of civilizations, which started almost 1,500 years ago, continue into the future?

Not necessarily, argues Dr. Johnson. Within Islam, a serious reconsideration is underway, broadly parallel to the reconsideration of church-state relations that happened during the early and mid-twentieth century within Christianity. This is leading to a new form of orthodox Islam that is fully compatible with multi-religious global society and that can move beyond conflict toward real cooperation with Christians and adherents of other religions. But this reconsideration, called “Humanitarian Islam,” is still mostly found in Indonesia and is not yet well known in the rest of the world. It is time for Christians to develop extensive interaction and cooperation with Humanitarian Islam.

Document on Human Fraternity

On February 4, 2019, Pope Francis and Grand Shaykh Ahmed al-Tayyeb of al-Azhar—Egypt’s pre-eminent center of Islamic authority—jointly signed the Document on Human Fraternity, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The theological and conceptual framework of the Document on Human Fraternity reflects the groundbreaking ijtihad (independent legal reasoning) of Kyai Haji Achmad Shiddiq, former General Chairman of the Supreme Council of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization. Kyai Shiddiq first articulated the concept of universal human fraternity—as a shari‘ah basis for legal equality between Muslims and non-Muslims—at the Nahdlatul Ulama National Congress held in Situbondo, East Java, in 1984. The adoption of Kyai Shiddiq’s ijtihad by the Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar has the potential to greatly accelerate the reform of obsolete and problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy worldwide.

Dignitatis Humanae

“The council exhorts Catholics, and it directs a plea to all men, most carefully to consider how greatly necessary religious freedom is, especially in the present condition of the human family. All nations are coming into even closer unity. Men of different cultures and religions are being brought together in closer relationships. There is a growing consciousness of the personal responsibility that every man has. All this is evident. Consequently, in order that relationships of peace and harmony be established and maintained within the whole of mankind, it is necessary that religious freedom be everywhere provided with an effective constitutional guarantee and that respect be shown for the high duty and right of man freely to lead his religious life in society.”

Nostra Aetate

“5. We cannot truly call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to treat in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God. Man’s relation to God the Father and his relation to men his brothers are so linked together that Scripture says: ‘He who does not love does not know God’ (1 John 4:8).

“No foundation therefore remains for any theory or practice that leads to discrimination between man and man or people and people, so far as their human dignity and the rights flowing from it are concerned.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 18:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights

“When these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

The Illusion of an Islamic State

The Illusion of an Islamic State represents a landmark achievement in the field of counter-radicalization, which demonstrates how an alliance of moderate Muslim leaders can effectively isolate, and discredit, the ideology of religious hatred, supremacy and violence that underlies and animates terrorism. As such, it warrants serious study—as well as the wide dissemination, and application, of its findings—by public policy makers, journalists and people of good will of every faith and nation, who care about the threat to humanity posed by Islamist ideology, terrorism and a rising tide of Islamophobia in the West.”

God Needs No Defense

Foreword by H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid

“Sanctions against freedom of religious inquiry and expression act to halt the developmental process of religious understanding dead in its tracks—conflating the sanctioning authority’s current, limited grasp of the truth with ultimate Truth itself, and thereby transforming religion from a path to the Divine into a ‘divinized’ goal, whose features and confines are generally dictated by those with an all-too-human agenda of earthly power and control.”