Points 1 – 3 of the ISOMIL Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration affirm that it is legally permissible, within Islam, to employ widely varying cultural and artistic modes to express and convey the essential (spiritual) teachings and values of Islam. This traditional Sunni view of Islam rejects extremist efforts to annihilate cultural diversity throughout the Muslim world, and impose a monolithic Wahhabi interpretation of Islam upon Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The Declaration encourages others to embrace “a salutary paradigm of Islam in which religion contributes to civilization, by respecting pre-existing cultures and prioritizing social harmony and peace.”
Point 4 affirms the religious legitimacy of nation states, and the virtue of patriotism—thereby rejecting the claim that Muslims have a religious obligation to establish an Islamic Caliphate, a key goal of not only jihadi movements, but also “non-violent” extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Point 5 rejects ISIS and al-Qaeda’s call for global conquest, and instead asserts that Islam enjoins its adherents “to engage in the continuous development of akhlaqul karimah, or noble character and virtue, for it is only through akhlaqul karimah that Islam can manifest as Divine Grace for all creation.”
Point 8 identifies “specific modes of interpreting Islam (tafsir) as the most significant factor causing the spread of religious extremism among Muslims.”
Point 9 states that “various governments in the Middle East” [viz., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran] “have deliberately nurtured religious extremism, and stimulated the spread of terrorism throughout the world.”
Point 10 identifies Islamist extremism as the primary cause of a rising tide of Islamophobia in the West.
Point 11 states that “Certain governments in the Middle East derive their political legitimacy from precisely those problematic interpretations of Islam that underlie and animate religious extremism and terror. These governments need to develop an alternate source of political legitimacy if the world is to overcome the threat of religious extremism and terror.”
Point 12 states that “The Nahdlatul Ulama is prepared to help in this effort.”
Point 14 “urges the Indonesian government to play an active and constructive role in seeking a resolution to the multi-faceted conflicts raging in the Middle East,” in conjunction with the Nahdlatul Ulama.
Point 15 “calls upon people of goodwill of every faith and nation to join in building a global consensus not to politicize Islam, and to marginalize those who would exploit Islam in such a way as to harm others.”
Point 16 commits the Nahdlatul Ulama to “consolidate the global ahlusunnah 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.”
The ISOMIL Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration was signed by Kyai Haji Said Aqil Siradj, General Chairman of the NU Executive Board; Dr. Helmi Faisal Zaini, General Secretary of the NU Executive Board; Kyai Haji Ma’ruf Amin, General Chairman of the NU Supreme Council; and Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the NU Supreme Council.
Read the full text of the ISOMIL Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration and view sample media coverage of the event.