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Kiai Said OKs to be re-elected as NU chairman

Kiai Said OKs to be re-elected as NU chairman

NU Congress will be held in August 2015 ahead. Those who will lead the organiation is interesting to be taken into account by NU members (Nahdliyin) in particular and the Indonesian people in general, given the magnitude of the effect of NU. In the tradition of NU, there is no candidacy of any individual to automatically become chairman, but the would-be chairman should first of all fulfil certain requirements, including securing at least a 99-vote support or in accordance with the election rules and regulations. NU chairman for the  period 2010-2015 KH Said Aqil Siroj told NU Online that he would be ready to be re-elected as NU chairman for the second term. Here is an interview of NU Online's Mukafi Niam with KH Said Aqil Siroj.<>

Are you still willing to be nominated again?

Thank you for the question, I will keep on rolling with the flow. If still believed I am prepared, but it does not mean I am ambitious to be chairman. If I do not become chairman I also do not "run out". I do not like that. I speak frankly, it is embarrassed, (and) ashamed if in the NU mileu  there are some so ambitious (for certain position) because the first in the NU is devotion, worship, and trust.

Yes, we admit that in the NU, becoming chairman is respected by people everywhere. But in terms of the material, it is nothing at all. I have a company, (it is) not because of becoming NU chairman, I also have rice fields in Cirebon (homeland. Ed). Because I become NU chairman, then my wealth continues to increase, no ... no ...it's not true.

So if entrusted (to be NU chairman candidate) again, I am ready. If not, it is OK. I won't campaign to and fro, (it is) shameful ...

Indeed, the most interesting in the NU is because of many challenges (facing it). The more challenges we address, the more mature we are. There have been many internal and external challenges. If there were  problems, I always remembered (the late) Gus Dur, his challenges were more complicated than the ones I dealt with for Gus Dur had to face the TNI (Indonesian military), and the New Order regime. But I did not. Certainly, there are some not happy with challenges. People criticize me, (it is OK) I'll deal with for I am happy with any constructive criticism.

If re-elected (as NU chairman), what are your vision and mission?

First, my dream is building a university. In the Makassar's NU congress, my dream was establishing five universities for five years. Thank God, now there have been some 23 universities.  How high the percentage it was. I thought there were five. Second, in terms of NU member card (Kartanu). Third, I want to return the NU lost /unclaimed assets. It's not easy, masyaallah, it's already won in the Supreme Court (MA), had inkracht (legally binding), property in Tomang for instance, but until now it has not been able to be executed.

And Thank God, since my leadership, I has started to open financial management, thank God, the result is good. Financial institutions are also audited, especially the ones have much money.

But my dream is the institutions (lajnah) do not have to have a treasurer because they are part of the NU elements. Apparently it has not well run, because there are "wet" and "dry" institutions. It's actually not good.

And my motto "back to pesantren (Islamic boarding schools), in addition to holding plenary and big events of NU in boarding schools, pesantren values should be taken into account and prioritized. NU is pesantren and pesantren is NU littered fully with such values as simplicity, independence, honesty, akhlakul karimah (good character), and scientific. I will continue (such long-standing pesantren traditions).

As for new ideas, we will go international. We're "desperate" to the conflict in the Middle East. Condition have increasingly worsened (in the region). Al Qaeda was vanished, Osama bin Laden was killed. But there has been a group caleld ISIS that is more cruel for killing Shiites, however they are also Muslims, they were killed. Kurds, how cruel they are. What Islam it is. Wallahi, Islam is not like that. They've been at odds with the teachings of Islam, they have tarnished and contaminated the Islamic values. But I do not say they are unbelievers, as long as they bear witness that there is no Lodr but Allah and Prophet Muhammad is His Messenger). This is contrary and not in line with the teachings of Islam.

NU has faced many external challenges. it has large members and political influence as well?

NU is a (religious) social  organization having political and social influence, as I said recently. Our democracy has not been accompanied by prosperity. (It is) still transactional. Wani Piro, mbayar Piro, (those who could pay with rocketing money) will take the lead. Democracy will be healthy if it is coupled with welfare. Yes, the process could run democratically in the elections of House of Representatives, regent or mayor, but it was always with the money. We need money, but it not the first and the foremost.

Our attitude as Islamic organization, first we need to have so-called amanah diniyyah (religious mandate). NU will always guard and strengthen so-called Islam Aswaja, second it is called amanah wathoniyah (defending the nation's integrity). Islam without nationality is like the Middle East, that is Islam without a commitment to save the integrity of the nation. War has continued. Nationalism without religion will be dry, secular, nationalism without spirit. The two mandates are in the NU. We will continue these mandates.

And this does not mean that all this is the NU chairman's responsibility, no, this is the work of all the team members, chairman, deputy chairmen, chairmen of institutions and committees.

There have been many asking you to run, from from branches, regions and even kiai (clerics)?

Yes, there have been many. If more than three it is many, (he said with a laugh)




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