Jusuf Kalla calls for moderate Islamic world

Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders in Jakarta on May 9, 2016.
Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders in Jakarta on May 9, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA • Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla yesterday called for a "moderate" Islamic world and pressed for unity in the fight against radicalism.

"Surely, we all want an Islamic world that is moderate... Islam, as a religion that brings a blessing to all, brings good and unifies its people," he told delegates from more than 30 countries at the opening of the International Summit of Moderate Islamic Leaders in Jakarta.

The event was organised by Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).

Mr Kalla, in a speech, said radicalism often emerged in "failed" Muslim nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, "which are authoritarian and where the actions of the leaders do not respect their people".

He added that Muslim-majority Indonesia implemented moderate teachings despite its diverse people, faiths, cultures and languages.

A top NU official yesterday spoke about efforts by the organisation, which has about 40 million members, to combat radicalism.

It plans to provide resources with the "correct interpretation of Islamic teachings" through social media and television, said NU organising committee head Imam Azis.

So far, it has launched a smartphone application called Nutizen, and plans to work with the Foreign Ministry to share ideas with foreign counterparts, he said.

NU secretary-general Yahya Cholil Staquf said the organisation's 500 volunteer cyber warriors were on social media to quash radical ideas and statements, but added that the efforts were "minuscule" against the "extraordinary" resources of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Arlina Arshad

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Kalla calls for 'moderate Islamic world''. Print Edition | Subscribe