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NU kicks off its 33rd congress

NU kicks off its 33rd congress

Jombang, NU Online
Thousands of members of the country’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), have arrived in the East Java town of Jombang to attend its 33rd national congress, also known as a muktamar, which has several items on its agenda, including the election of the organization’s new chairman.

Several candidate names have been mentioned in the media, including KH  Salahuddin Wahid (Gus Sholah), the younger brother of the country’s fourth president, KH  Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid.

Gus Sholah himself met with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at the State Palace on Thursday night.

“I reported on the preparations for the muktamar. He did not specifically support [my candidacy]. If he supported me, I would not tell you about it here,” said Salahuddin, who in 2004 was the running mate of presidential candidate Wiranto.

Besides Gus Sholah, participants of the five-day congress will also consider other candidates, including incumbent NU general chairman KH Said Aqil Siradj and deputy general chairman KH As’ad Said Ali.

Analysts have said that As’ad, a former deputy chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), is a strong contender due to his close ties with Jokowi during the 2014 presidential election. 

Said Aqil’s chance of reelection is considered slim given his ties to the Gerindra Party’s losing presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto.

Apart from the election of its chairman, participants of the congress are expected to endorse a grand statement emphasizing the NU’s stance as a moderate Muslim organization.

NU was founded by several Muslim clerics on Jan. 31, 1926, including Gus Dur’s grandfather KH Hasyim Asy'ari, who became the organization’s first rais aam (the supreme leader) of NU. 

“In the muktamar, we will reaffirm our stance on Islam being the grace for the nation. This is actually, among other things, the meaning of the term Islam Nusantara,” Abdul Halim Iskandar, a member of the congress’ steering committee, told The Jakarta Post.

Along with other Muslim leaders, NU clerics are campaigning for the use of the term Islam Nusantara (Islam in the archipelago) amid increasing religious violence and the creeping influence of Muslim fundamentalists.

Besides campaigning for Islam Nusantara, the congress will also discuss several contemporary issues, such as the need to implement capital punishment for corruption. (masdar)



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