International Media Coverage of the G20 Religion Forum (R20),
Nahdlatul Ulama, and the Center for Shared Civilizational Values

“It would be truly a game changer, I will suggest, if the R20 were to stimulate the world’s most important religious authorities to reform their traditions from within and become forces for peace, carrying along with them the huge number of adherents that each of them could mobilize.”

~ Sciences Po, Observatoire

“Nahdlatul Ulama has laid down a marker that other Muslim religious authorities will ultimately be unable to ignore if they want recognition as proponents of a genuinely moderate Islam.”

~ Sciences Po, Observatoire

“‘The idea of hosting [the R20] was mooted by Nahdlatul Ulama. We from India join hands with them to address the challenge of radicalism, terrorism, war, and violence. Right now, there is no role of spiritual or civilisational leadership [within the G20]. R20 is aimed at developing a global platform of cultural, religious, and civilisational leadership that can pro-actively help countries in tackling some of the 21st-century challenges,’ added [Ram Madhav].”

~ The Print (India)

“As I left this year’s meeting, I could not help but feel that the group’s dreams were wildly ambitious. Yet, as Pope Francis said in his message to the R20, if one looks beyond ‘the ways in which religion is weaponized to stoke hostility and achieve political goals,’ one finds that the ‘major religious groups overwhelmingly espouse a set of values that, when widely observed, make possible civilizations marked by peaceful interaction and mutual respect.’ I permit myself to entertain the thought that possibly, just possibly, this little noticed meeting in Bali might have a larger effect on world stability and prosperity than any decision reached by world leaders at the G20 Summit.”

~ First Things

“Like the G20, the R20 issued a final communiqué. It committed the participants to ‘prevent the political weaponization of identity,’ ‘curtail the spread of communal hatred,’ and ‘promote solidarity and respect among the diverse peoples, cultures, and nations of the world.’”

~ National Post (Canada)

A 2006 painting by the Dutch artist John van der Sterren depicts Indonesia’s founding leader, Sukarno, cradling an independence fighter in the 1940s. The rebel’s Christian cross has made the image a symbol of the drive to reinterpret Islamic law. Nahdlatul Ulama

Indonesians Seek to Export a Modernized Vision of Islam

The youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, an Indonesian Islamic group, is pressing governments around the world to bring Islamic law into line with 21st-century norms.

by Joe Cochrane

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The imposing, six-foot-tall painting is a potent symbol of modern Indonesian history: the country’s founding father, Sukarno, cradling a dead, barefoot rebel killed by Dutch colonial forces amid rice fields and smoldering volcanoes in late-1940s Java.

The fighter’s bloodied shirt draws immediate attention — but so does a necklace dangling from the body: a Christian cross, worn by the independence martyr for the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

The 2006 painting has become the symbol of a global initiative by the Indonesian youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest mass Islamic organization in the world, that seeks to reinterpret Islamic law dating from the Middle Ages in ways that conform to 21st-century norms.

“The R-20 will move from Muslim-majority Indonesia this year to Hindu-majority India next year and Catholic-majority Brazil in 2024. This process can help the three world religions, together with Buddhism and other important religions, evolve a universal value system and also become equal partners with the political, economic and technological leadership of the world in defining the destiny of mankind in the 21st century.”

~ The Indian Express

“[A] unique and significant initiative… that will bring together leaders of all the important world religions to assist G-20 governments in building a united, pluralist and peaceful world”

~  The Print 

“For Catholics, the opportunity to work with faith leaders with similar priorities and common commitments is exciting. It means our dedication to religion, to social development and to stewardship of the Earth is not one we make alone. And that is something all the world should heed. For Dr. Al-Issa is right: Behind many of our earthly problems are spiritual problems. We cannot solve the former without a deeper consciousness of who we are, where we came from and where we are going.”

~ National Catholic Register

“Let us, gathered here in Bali for the first annual G20 Religion Forum, carry forward the work of cultivating respect for human rights through teaching and education. Inspired not least by Indonesia’s national motto of unity in diversity, let us cherish our own traditions while reaching outward to the principles that reflect our shared humanity.”

~ Real Clear Politics

“A remarkable transformation has been taking place in the Muslim world, a years-long shift towards pluralism and tolerance belying common assumptions about Islam. Maybe we missed this earlier: a lot has been going on, after all. But last week in Bali, at the G20’s ground-breaking Religion Forum, the R20, that transformation took center stage. Not only is it an epochal moment in modern Islam, but this moment also helped create the world’s most important interfaith conversation.”

~ The Hill

“During his remarks, [Archbishop Warda] stressed that ‘sectarian violence’ is a significant problem in Iraq. This country suffered the rise of an Islamic State stronghold during the last decade in which thousands of Iraqi religious minorities were killed, enslaved or forced to flee their homelands. Warda stated, ’without an end to this sectarian violence, there is no future for religious pluralism in Iraq, or anywhere else in the Mideast for that matter.’”

~ The Christian Post

“Humanitarian Islam… provides a model for an Islam that is accepting of differences, that profoundly honors nature, and that cooperates with the best of non-Islamic cultures. It is an Islam that does not create enemies, that is self-assured but not aggressive, that lets virtue speak for itself.”

~ Huffington Post

“A worthy model for the world to emulate”

~ Nobel Laureate H.E. José Ramos-Horta

“A firewall against terrorism in the name of Islam.”

~ Aftonbladet (Sweden)

“If it can work in Indonesia, why not in the rest of the world?”

~ Washington Post

“Nahdlatul Ulama is now poised to export its collective wisdom and experience throughout the world, for the benefit of humanity.”

~ Al-Ahram (Egypt)

“From Indonesia, a Muslim Challenge to the Ideology of the Islamic State”

~ New York Times

“Islam Nusantara,” or the Humanitarian Islam of the East, “aims to transform the role of religion from being a source of conflict and hatred to a wellspring of compassion and collaboration”

~ Open Magazine (India)

“I regard the work of Humanitarian Islam and the Movement for Shared Civilizational Values as one of the most pathbreaking and important developments in world politics and civilizational ethics in our generation. No event that I know of is more timely, urgent or well conceived.”

~ Dr. Robert Hefner, President of the American Institute for Indonesian Studies