The Jakarta Post
When critics began questioning Indonesia’s global reputation as a tolerant Muslim-majority democracy, all eyes were on the country’s two biggest Islamic organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, which together have been called the face of Indonesia’s moderate Islam.
Work to promote moderate Islam seemed to slowly collapse when increasingly strong and divisive sectarianism became evident during the Jakarta gubernatorial elections. Several large rallies supported by hard-line organizations hit Jakarta’s streets to demand the then incumbent candidate Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, be jailed for blasphemy.
Grassroots members of both NU and Muhammadiyah joined the rallies, but the appearance of prominent Muhammadiyah figures siding with the hard-liners prompted many to question the organization’s moderate stance.