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Sunday, November 13, 2005


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A.M. Mora y Leon

NU has a long history of being the peaceful, easygoing, friendly, gentle face of Islam in Indonesia. I've been to parts of central Java where some of these NU Muslims (the old ladies) go topless, in keeping with the Javanese custom at ceremonial events. Nobody gets mad.

The NU people are a gentle tolerant breed, and some of them are so 'tolerant' they slop together Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and tribal religions in with their unique local-brew blend of Islam. They're not and never have been fanatics.

Most of the NU people are farmers or army guys, perfectly content to live and let live. (The townspeople and the urban traders are where you find Islamofascists, at least a few of them).

Educationwise, these people don't have any real education (and because of that they often vote in blocs), but they are the people who ran pesantran (sort of like madrassas) Koranic institutions. The emphasis there is mostly rote learning of the Koran, but I have never heard of any of these NU institutions being havens for Islamofascist troublemakers.

They were, however, very instrumental in providing shelter and refuge to Indonesians during the struggle for independence from the Dutch. The goal of independence in those days was a secular state so that the pesentran could be left alone in peace. They have a long secular tradition and never have had any sort of soft spot for Islamofascism.

There are other interesting things about them: the blind cleric who was Indonesia's first elected president in 1999, a decent if inept guy called by his Javanese nickname Gus Dur, was the head of NU before being elected president. He never had any education either - EXCEPT the education he got in -- of all places, Iraq. His teacher was the Grand Ayatollah Sistani.



You may also wonder why moslems who condemn terrorism are mostly worried about the reputation of Islam rather than the people killed.

You would understand this if you knew more about how many moslem historians glorify the massacres of hindus, subsidize terrorism through 'charity', believe in bizarre conspiracy theories, etc.


I will never understand how being civilized and condemning terrorist attacks is always somehow seen as being pro-USA rather than pro-civilized behavior

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