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Jakarta Post

NU’s policy on ‘kafir’: Not new, but important

  • Azis Anwar Fachrudin

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Fri, March 15, 2019   /  01:28 pm
NU’s policy on ‘kafir’: Not new, but important President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (far left) delivers a speech during the national meeting of the Nahdlatul Ulama clerics at Miftahul Huda Al-Azhar Islamic boarding school in Citangkolo, Banjar, West Java, on Feb. 27. (Antara/Adeng Bustomi)

Muslims should not have been startled by Nahdlatul Ulama’s (NU) recent call for an end to addressing non-Muslims as kafir (infidels). This opinion, arising from NU’s Bahtsul Masa’il (forum for religious problems) at its recent national conference in West Java, is not new. However, it is significantly important for the current religious state of affairs in Indonesia. Many Muslims disapproved or even condemned NU’s appeal; yet, it does not concern the word kafir in its theological meaning, but rather its use in today’s social and national life. The accusation that NU wants to amend the Quran, which uses the word in many places, is simply a display of ignorance. What NU was reviewing was the medieval fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) discourse that recognized the category of kafir dhimmi, i.e. non-Muslims living in an Is...