May 14, 2018 — New York, NY
Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the world’s largest Muslim organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council, will address the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum in Jerusalem.
The four-day conference, June 10-13, is the premier Jewish global advocacy organization’s signature annual event.
“We are deeply honored to host Pak Yahya on his groundbreaking journey to Israel at our Global Forum in Jerusalem,” said AJC CEO David Harris. AJC, throughout its history, has spearheaded interreligious initiatives, with an ever-increasing focus on Muslim-Jewish relations.
Over 1,600 participants, including hundreds of young Jews, from across the United States and many other countries are expected to attend the Global Forum, the first time in AJC’s 112-year history that the conference convenes outside the United States.
Pak Yahya has inspired many in Indonesia and elsewhere with his work that promotes understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, and underlines a tolerant, moderate vision of Islam. The organization he heads has over 50 million members and 14,000 madrasahs in Indonesia, the fourth-largest country in the world and the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. They adhere to Sunni Islam traditions that teach that the primary message of Islam is universal love and compassion.
Yahya was a member of Indonesia’s National Electoral Commission during the country’s transition from authoritarian rule to democracy, and served as spokesman for Abdurrahman Wahid, Indonesia’s first democratically-elected head of state.
President Wahid, who also had previously served as Chairman of the NU, addressed the AJC Global Forum in 2002, in Washington, D.C. He consistently worked for and publicly advocated for peace, mutual respect, and reform. Among his many courageous acts were speaking out against extremism and terrorism. He also called for Indonesia to establish relations with Israel, a goal that he was unable to fulfill during his presidential term.
AJC, through its Asia Pacific Institute (API), strives to help Israel, the U.S., and the global Jewish community strengthen relations with Indonesia. AJC engages regularly with Indonesian diplomats in Washington, D.C, and New York, as well as with the U.S.-Indonesia Society (USINDO), the premier non-governmental organization devoted to promoting mutual understanding between Indonesia and the U.S.
Yahya serves on the USINDO Council on Religious Pluralism and Tolerance, and co-chairs its Counterterrorism Working Party. He also is Director of Religious Affairs for Bayt ar-Rahmah, a North Carolina-based NGO that facilitates the global expansion of Nahdlatul Ulama activities.