NU Official Cautions Against Politicization of Ma'ruf Amin

BY :MARKUS JUNIANTO SIHALOHO & EKO PRASETYO

FEBRUARY 03, 2017

Jakarta. Ahmad Baso, a prominent figure in the Nahdlatul Ulama, or NU, has cautioned against efforts to politicize Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI.

Ahmad, who wrote a biography of Ma'ruf, said such efforts are part of the ongoing drama involving the MUI chairman and Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

"Be careful, friends," Ahmad said on Friday (03/02).

Ahmad, who is deputy chairman of the NU's human resources development and study institute, said even though Ahok apologized to Ma'ruf, and received forgiveness, the issue remains in the spotlight.

Ahmad said moves to raise the political temperature originate from within the inner circle of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has been schooled in the art of politicizing religion since the administration of former President Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur.

"[They] also have unlimited funds," he added.

Ahmad said it appears that the issue involving Ma'ruf and Ahok moved center stage after the previous central figure, firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab, become a dead card – especially since he became embroiled in legal wrangling involving several different cases.

"The FPI [Islamic Defenders Front] card is considered unplayable after several cases started to pile up against Rizieq. This left only the NU supporters' card, through a setting that uses Ma'ruf Amin. The effect will be grave if it is played daily," Ahmad said.

Yudhoyono earlier claimed that his rights had been violated by the alleged wiretapping of a conversation he had with Ma'ruf before the MUI chairman met his son, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono – who is opposing Ahok in this month's Jakarta gubernatorial election.

However, security agencies deny that they intercepted Yudhoyono's conversation.

Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly also gave his assurances that the government was not involved in such actions against civilians.

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