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Jakarta Post

EDITORIAL: Women ulema for the world


    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 28, 2017   /  08:26 am
EDITORIAL: Women ulema for the world Students walk to Kebon Jambu Al-Islamy Islamic boarding school in Cirebon, West Java, on Tuesday. The school hosts a three-day national congress where hundreds of female clerics from across the country discuss challenges Indonesian women face. (JP/Nurul Fitri Ramadhani)

The first-ever national congress of women ulema, and the world’s first, organizers claim, was held from Tuesday to Thursday in Cirebon, a major area of Islamic heritage from which Islam spread to West Java. The host, in a province with one of the highest numbers of discriminatory bylaws in the country, was Nyai Masriyah Amva, leader of Kebon Jambu Al Islamy boarding school, which has about 1,000 male and female santri (students.) Amid the rise in political tension, news of the congress brings fervent hope, though the term “ulema perempuan” sounds strange — people are more familiar with fiery female preachers, the ustadzah, female teachers of Islam, or the revered nyai, wives of the kyai or male pesantren leaders. Indonesia’s congress presented to a restless nation and the world the concept behind women ulema — female, but also male, Muslims with ...