The Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) is assembling the troops to combat the proselytizing activity of hardline Islamic groups, and also liberal ones.
In a meeting of about 150 NU proselytizers, or preachers, (dai) from Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi at the Asrama Haji Pondokgede, in Jakarta on the 2nd, Ma'ruf Amin, who is also the chairman of the Fatwa Commission of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), is leading the efforts to instruct the dakwah practitioners on how to combat the teachings of both fundamentalist groups and liberal ones.
Assisting him at the two-day meeting, Samsul Ma'arif, the head of the Dakwah Committee, said that the NU felt very concerned about the increased proselytizing activities of deviant sects considering that most Muslims in Indonesia were of the "ordinary" kind. If such ordinary folk were instructed in an incorrect way, he said, then their practice of Islam would also be incorrect. Of the kind of Islam that the NU promoted, the correct form it would appear, he said:
The kind of preaching that we do is a middle way between the left-wing of Islam and the right-wing, that is, it's a unique NU kind of proselytizing, a kind which emphasises the principles of moderation, justice, tolerance, and balance.
Dakwah yang kita pakai merupakan jalan tengah di antara gerakan Islam kiri dan Islam kanan, dakwah khas NU, yakni mengedepankan prinsip tawasuth (moderat), `itidal (keadilan), tasamuh (toleran) dan tawazun (berimbang).
The conference also placed some emphasis on the importance of the mass media in spreading the NU message. Samsul noted that although the NU was the biggest Muslim group in the country no NU preachers appeared on television.
Let a thousend flowers flourish. Set the imagination free.
Preaching moderation…….. As long as it’s the NU kind! Hah!