The points to note in this report and the following short video are that Yahya Staquf and his group acknowledge that Indonesian Islam is a mix of Islam with pre-existing local religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. They call this "Traditional" and Moderate Islam, but it could be criticised - and is criticised by IS and such groups - as being such a mix that in fact it's not representative of traditional, orthodox Islam at all. This is in fact what missiologists term syncretism and is comparable to Christianity in some parts of Africa where Christians still use fetishes or put curses on people through employing the local witch doctor. Such elements are not a part of Christianity at all, the central elements of not being materialistic and of forgiveness have been usurped by a focus on material prosperity, invoking spirits other than the Spirit of God and personal revenge. Matters Jesus Christ had quite a lot to talk about.
Indonesian Islam is similarly criticised by the more observant Muslims based on the primary texts of the Qur'an, Hadith and Sira - the Sunna (regarded as the normative way of life for Muslims based upon the teachings and “examples” of the Prophet Muhammad). Further the Nahdlatul Ulama are quite heavily influenced by Sufi thought. Sufism is itself considered by mainstream Sunni Islam to be an error and even heretical.
Secondly, one can also pick up that one of the group's major issues with IS and al-qaeda is that they kill other Muslims. This is due to the doctrine of takfir. IS denies that it is killing real Muslims at all, only hypocrites or apostates, because they are not adhering to the Sharia of Allah. The IS understands itself - as many other jihadi movements throughout history understood themselves - as a Revivalist movement seeking to bring the Ummah (the international Muslim community) back to the basic teachings of Islam.
Lastly, if the learned Muslim Sheikhs of Indonesia were really to acknowledge the problematic use of Islamic sacred texts then perhaps they should urgently work on a couple of issues closer to home. One being the sometimes brutal treatment of the minority Muslim group the Ahmadis. These are followers of a minority Ahmadiyya sect founded in the 19th century who believe there have been other prophets of Islam since its founder Mohammad, although he is regarded as the most important. Mainstream Muslims consider them heretical, and Ahmadis face increasing threats of violence. Indonesia recognizes five religions. The Ahmadis version of Islam is not one of them.
There is also the suffering imposed on Indonesian girls and women through the practice of cutting out the clitoris - Female Genital Mutilation - which should urgently be attended to. According to UNICEF about half of all Indonesian girls undergo the practice by the time they are eleven.
Indonesian Muslims belong almost exclusively to the Sunni Shafi'i school. Their authoritative book of Sharia Law is called The Reliance of the Traveller. It states the following about FGM: "Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” Reliance of the Traveller e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64.
What is the Nahdlatul Ulama doing about that? Or is that an OK part of "Traditional Islam" that we shouldn't be worried about? To an outsider like me it seems a very important issue, but it is not important to them. If the Nahdlatul Ulama are really going to deal with ailments within Islam itself then perhaps it would be best if they began implementing nation-wide programmes on stopping FGM in their own back yard.
Here is the article from Gospel Herald:~
The world's largest Muslim organization admitted that the problem of extremism sprang from the Islam teachings, which need to be revised to become in accord with the modern world.
Yahya Staquf, an Indonesian cleric affiliated with the Nahdlatul Ulama, said many Muslims have evolved from traditional opposition to supremacist Islamism, according to CNN.
His admission reinforced former Pope Benedict's statement that had strained the relationship between Muslims and the Vatican when he said that Islam is not a religion of peace.
At the international meeting of moderate Islamic leaders in Jakarta, the Indonesia-based organization strongly condemned their fellow Muslims particularly the Islamic State (ISIS) and the al-Qaeda.
"We keep on denying the source of the problem, namely some ailments within Islam itself," Staquf said, adding that bad elements of Islam are indeed part of the extremism problem.
Participants of the conference praised the group's admission of some ailments within Islam, and urged Muslims leaders to institute modifications into their laws to make it in consonance with the modern world.
Magnus Ranstorp, a counterterrorism expert from Sweden, said these issues have to be resolved by among the Muslims themselves with no intercession from the West.
"I don't see any other Muslim leaders coming to Europe standing up like a tower and saying, 'Look, we are prepared to take this on,'" he said.
Effect of extremism is evidently destructive in the Middle East. Millions of Syrians and Iraqis lost their homes and loved ones by the atrocities of the ISIS. Women were raped and killed, and families were stripped of their belongings.
Staquf said Islamic teachings are being used by terrorist to justify the use of violence. "To be able to combat the global jihadi movement, world leaders and the general public must recognize the fact that extremism originates from Islamic teachings," he said. He said even in Indonesia Muslims are hurting fellow Muslims, and we need to find a way on how to protect them.
A short video on the matter follows.
Again, the group's goals are laudable and to be completely supported, I wish them well. However, there remain obvious elements within their "traditional and moderate" form which they don't seem prepared to tackle. I doubt that attempting to convert the rest of the Muslim world to what that world sees as a heretical & syncretistic muddle will meet with great success.