Muslim extremists and radicals misunderstand their religion, says a senior cleric.
Hasyim Muzadi of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) says terrorists and radicals who operate under an Islamic banner have just misunderstood the teachings of Islam, particularly in the area of war.
The concept of war and jihad have to be understood within the context of the time of Muhammad, he says. Muhammad never attacked anyone, he claims, he never started any wars but simply fought in self-defence. What's more, opines Hasyim, the prophet of Islam never killed women and children, never destroyed crops, never burnt down houses and churches, or any other buildings.
Sectarian conflicts were an increasing trend in Indonesia, such as in Poso and Ambon, and their occurrence meant that religion had lost its positive influence.
He went on to say that both Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah had decided to shoulder the responsibility of making sure that Islam had a peaceful, benevolent aspect and role in Indonesia, that it uplifted humanity, that is was rahmatan lil alamin, a blessing for the world.
Over the past seven years, he said, the NU had focused on implementing the key concepts of moderation, uprightness, tolerance, balance, and dialogue. This was part of NU's committment to the unitary republic of Indonesia, based on faith in God but not based on any particular religion and its laws. mediaindo