The face of Indonesia's moderate Islam nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah are the main Islamic organizations in the country.  They are crucial to stem the tide of religious extremism.  Fr. Franz Magnis-Suseno, philosopher and priest: "Thanks to them, we have tolerance, peace and stability".



Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Indonesia's greatest scholars support the candidacy of Nahdlatul Ulama (Nu) and Muhammadiyah - the two major moderate Islamic organizations in Indonesia - for the Nobel Peace Prize, stating that the two groups play a key role in the  promotion of religious tolerance.

The well-known Catholic philosopher and priest Fr.  Franz Magnis-Suseno (photo 2) acknowledges that the two institutions have helped shape the face of Indonesian Islam.  "This is completely different from what extremists are trying to portray," he says.  Two days ago, Fr.  Magnis-Suseno was among the participants in the conference "Challenging Islamic Extremism in Indonesia" .  The event took place in Oslo (Norway) and was organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and the Peace Research Institute (Prio), an institution based in the Norwegian capital.

The priest adds that both groups, established before independence, had a fundamental role in the construction of the nation.  "It is thanks to them that Indonesian Islam has remained moderate;  that Indonesians enjoy internal peace;  that Indonesia is an important stabilizing factor in Southeast Asia and the world, "he says.

Participants in the Oslo seminar included dozens of academics, ambassadors, government officials, representatives of Norwegian civil organizations, as well as the chairman of the executive committee of Nu, Marsudi Syuhud, and general secretary Muhammadiyah, Abdul Mu'ti.  The event was facilitated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Csis) of Jakarta and by the Wahid Institute.

The Indonesian ambassador to Norway, Todung Mulya Lubis, points out that the country is witnessing the emergence of religious extremism.  "This fundamentalism - he explains - comes from beyond national borders and has spread as an effect to globalization.  If these ideas took root in the Indonesian people, religious conflicts would explode and the country would disappear.  Indonesia would be destroyed, just like Syria ".  Lubis claims that NU and Muhammadiyah, as the "backbone" of moderate Islam in Indonesia, are crucial to stem the tide of religious extremism.