Most Influential Muslim Leaders

Nov 30th, 2009, in News, by

Prominent Indonesian Muslims striding the world stage, winning prizes, and on important lists.

“The 500 Most Influential Muslims – 2009”, a joint effort of the Saudi funded Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, USA, and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan, edited by Professor John Esposito and Professor Ibrahim Kalin, has three Indonesians in the top 50.

Hasyim MuzadiJust behind the Secretary General of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah, comes Indonesia’s first representative, striding his stage like a colossus at 18th – Dr KH Achmad Hasyim Muzadi, Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).

Hasyim was said to be “head of an expansive network”, the 30 million member strong NU, and a “social servant”, while the NU was praised for being a “model of traditionalism”.

Din SyamsuddinAt 35th came Professor Dr M Din Syamsuddin, Chairman of Persyarikatan Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organisation after NU, which was said to be focused on “social welfare”, while Din himself was a “leader of conservative shift” and a “reformist”.

Aa GymComing on strong at 48th was Abdullah ‘Aa Gym’ Gymnastiar, titled “Indonesian Preacher” and described as “Indonesia’s televangelist” and a “reformer”, but not ‘polygamist’ or ‘businessman’, said to have a

regular audience of over 80 million Indonesians, and an approval rating of close to 90%.

Other Indonesians on the list who didn’t make the top 50, alphabetically and with their listing category in brackets:

  • Prof. Dr Tuti Alawiyaah (Women)
  • Syafi’i Anwar (Development)
  • Azyumardi Azra (Scholarly)
  • Haidar Bagir (Media)
  • Syafii Maarif (Scholarly)
  • Siti Musdah Mulia (Women)
  • Lily Zakiyah Munir (Women)
  • Helvy Tiana Rosa (Arts & Culture)
  • Hajjah Maria Ulfah (Women)
  • Dr Nasaruddin Umar (Administrative)
  • H.E. Abdurrahman (Gus Dur) Wahid (Political)
  • H.E. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Political)

Abu Bakar BashirIn a separate section marked off from the main list under the heading “Radicals”, which included Osama Bin Laden among its 12 honorees, came elderly firebrand preacher and former jailbird Abu Bakar Bashir.

And the top ten worldwide:

  1. His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi
    Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
  2. His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei,
    Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  3. His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco
  4. His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein, King of the
    Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  5. His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the
    Republic of Turkey
  6. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id al Sa’id, Sultan of Oman
  7. His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani, Marja
    of the Hawza, Najaf
  8. His Eminence Sheikh Al Azhar Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi,
    Grand Sheikh of the Al Azhar University, Grand Imam of Al
    Azhar Mosque
  9. Sheikh Dr Yusuf Qaradawi, Head of the International Union of
    Muslim Scholars
  10. His Eminence Sheikh Dr Ali Goma’a, Grand Mufti of the Arab
    Republic of Egypt

“The 500 Most Influential Muslims – 2009” also gave population figures for Muslims in the countries of the world, interestingly stating that the Muslim proportion of Indonesia’s population was 80%, or 188,176,626 people, off by 6.1 points from the 2000 census figure, and 8 points from the commonly quoted 88% figure. (pdf)

Siti Musdah MuliaIn another, separate, honour Siti Musdah Mulia was also named international “Woman of the Year”, or “Il Premio Internazionale La Donna Dell Anno” at a ceremony at Saint Vincent, Aosta, Italy, on November 28th.

Siti Musdah Mulia won the coveted prize for her work in opposing discrimination against women, like polygamy. Siti bested co-finalists Mary Akrami from Afghanistan, Dunia Baroud El Khoury from Lebanon, Aicha Ech-Channa from Morocco, and Guo Jianmei from China, and won a 50 million Euro prize.

10 Comments on “Most Influential Muslim Leaders”

  1. Pena Budaya says:

    Hi Patung, Siti won 50 thousands Euros not 50 milions.. 😉

  2. David says:

    Great PB, the only comment this gets is a correction, thanks anyway. 🙂

  3. Oigal says:

    I cannot help but think what SBY could have achieved with his huge popular support from the people. If ever any President anyway had a mandate from the common man/woman for reform and change it was he. There was (is?) the very real opportunity for SBY to go down in History as one of the great world leaders who made a difference but….

    Sadly, it would appear that he is not up to the almighty challenge involved. I mean that in a non-critical way. There is no doubt championing those reforms would involve considerable personal risk in confronting entrenched and dangerous vested interests. Not a job I would envy or desire.

    I do think though, that history will show this period as an opportunity missed at a critical juncture for Indonesia’s future as a nation and History tends to judge harshly.

  4. Browser says:

    @ Oigal: SBY got this huge popular support because he’s compromising with (almost) everyone. I believe that is why he can’t be a leader who makes a difference, as he tries to make every people (party) happy, and there are too many people with different interests.


    Before he got elected for the first time, I actually sympathized this guy (SBY), as I heard one of his quotation, saying “To make a democratic country runs smoothly, there has to be one single, major power” or something like that. Maybe, almost like a dictatorship, although I guess the word is too harsh, but that was the idea.

    Oh well, time will tell..

  5. andy says:

    Most influential Muslim leaders..mmmm…let me think? Osama Bin Laden internationally and in that little backward tinpot nation to my north….Abu Bakar Bashir… Well they have put Islam on the world map in a way it never has been before.

  6. Burung Koel says:

    …a joint effort of the Saudi funded Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, USA…

    Sounds like a fun place to work, with lots of academic freedom, I imagine. The list of names seems to reflect the type of rigorous analysis we expect from American institutes of higher learning.

  7. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Seksi Mr. Patoengs,

    Seksi Friends,

    And why aren’t I, Indonesia’s leading poet, Ukulele player, pencak silat master and cabaret singer, on this list ? (Even that list of accomplishments is humble, you, my fans, know I am also a pole dancer and philosopher).

    Seksi Friends,

    Is there no justice on Indonesia Matters ?

    I thank you.

  8. David says:

    Is there no justice on Indonesia Matters ?

    You should take your complaints to Professor John Esposito of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, USA, since it was him/them who made the list. You may well uncover a nest of anti-Achmad conspirators there…..give em hell.

  9. deta says:

    And why aren’t I, Indonesia’s leading poet, Ukulele player, pencak silat master and cabaret singer, on this list ?

    I don’t know, Mas Achmad, but I really hope that the next most influential muslim leader is not someone who use the picture of a cannibal as his gravatar…. We’re fed up with Islam being associated with violence, you see…. 😉

  10. devilkitty says:

    I love “Mama Dedeh” she’s extremely cool :]

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