NU Urges Politics Free From Religious Sentiments, More Support for KPK


NOVEMBER 27, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, has called on political parties and politicians to stop using religious sentiments and emphasized the need for the national antigraft agency to exercise its legal mandate.

NU issued a comprehensive set of recommendations for the government on Saturday (25/11), following the conclusion of the organization's national meeting and major conference in West Nusa Tenggara over the weekend.

The two-day meeting was opened by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, and attended by several officials, including Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo.

The recommendations from NU's scholars and ulemas touched on issues such as the economy and prosperity, terrorism prevention and counterterrorism efforts, health, education, domestic politics and foreign affairs.

On domestic politics, NU called on political parties and politicians to stop using religious sentiments in their activities.

"Using religious sentiments in elections is irresponsible and it can damage our nation," the organization said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe.

It also called on the law enforcement institutions, including the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), to monitor money politics and corruption in the country's 2018 regional elections.

"The government needs to consolidate the power of the state apparatus and its supporting political parties to participate in enforcing and strengthening corruption eradication efforts by the KPK," the organization said.

NU noted that inequality is a "real threat" to national unity and urged the government to address religious radicalism through active participation in spreading moderate Islam.

"Indonesia is facing a national test, reflected by the erosion of nationalism, rampant use of race, religion and ethnicity in social and political life, increasing radicalism and sectarianism, as well as rife corruption and terrorism," NU said.

On the economy and prosperity, the organization said the government should guide the country's agrarian reforms, and urged it to focus more on industrializing the agricultural sector and ensuring inclusive economic development.

NU also emphasized the role of education in tackling increasing religious radicalism.

It said the government needs to increase the quality of Islamic boarding schools, or pesantren, and other institutions for religious education "so that they can play an active role in countering extremism and radicalism."