İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO-03.05.2017 Ansor, the Indonesian youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest mass Islamic organization in the world, seeks to reinterpret Islamic law and conform itto 21st-century norms.

Leaders of the organization, calls for are-examination of elements of Islamic law that dictate relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, the structure of government and the proper aims and conduct of warfare.

Theyargue that such transformation is needed as elements of Shariah is being manipulated by groups like the Islamic State and Al Qaeda to justify terrorist attacks and seek to turn Islam into a political weapon.

 H. YaqutQourmas, Ansor’s chairman said in an interview as “The classical Islamic perspective is dominated by views that position non-Muslims as enemies or, at best, as suspicious figures not worthy of trust”.

The group aims to directly approach governments around the world, both Muslim-majority and others, as well as at the United Nations, to achieve a global consensus on reforming what it views as archaic interpretations of Islam.

Nevertheless, there are some technical problems about the issue as there are various forms of Islamic religion and culture. Yaqut said “The challenge we face is not confined to religious views that emerged through an intellectual process conducted a thousand years ago. We are also confronted by religious and political authorities whose institutions are deeply intertwined with these views, and thus continue to inculcate such teachings among each new generation of Muslims”.

Additionally, Abdel Rahman El Haj, a professor at Ankara Social Sciences University in Turkey, said “If you want to have only one universal interpretation, you have to deal with the cultural differences and find an international central authority. This is impossible”.

Founded in 1926 by Hasyim Asy’ari, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) supports education, cultural engagement, and socioeconomic development rooted in Islamic principles of justice, diversity, and tolerance. NU is a conservative Sunni Islamic groupwhich is strongly against radical Islam and argues that Indonesia needs to build a national identity that includes all religious groups. 

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