Indonesian Muslims elected co-presidents at Religions for Peace

It is hoped leaders of country's two largest Islamic orgnizations will share their ideas of moderation with world community
Indonesian Muslims elected co-presidents at Religions for Peace

Nahdlatul Ulama chairman, Said Aqil Siroj. (Photo by Konradus Epa/

The leaders from Indonesia’s two largest Islamic organizations have been elected co-presidents of Religions for Peace, the world’s largest multi-religious coalition.

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) chairman, Said Aqil Siroj and Muhammadiyah chief, Haedar Nasir were elected during the organization’s 10th World Assembly, recently held in Germany. 

They will serve as co-presidents for five years.

“These two Islamic organizations have given a concrete example of the model of religiosity which brings peace to the democratic life in Indonesia,” said the Religion for Peace’s acting secretary-general Reverend Kyoichi Sugino, who visited the Nahdlatul Ulama offices in Jakarta on Sept. 9.

The Japanese Protestant pastor told NU online that the 900 religious leaders from 125 countries who elected the pair had high expectations the two Muslim leaders would share their ideas with the world community.

Both Said and Haedar were unavailable for comment.

Christian leaders in Indonesia welcomed their election.

“They deserve it, because they and their organizations have helped preserve diversity in accordance with Pancasila,” said Father Agustinus Heri Wibowo, executive secretary of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference’s Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. Pancasila is the term used to describe Indonesia’s founding principles, not least unity in diversity.

Reverend Gomar Gultom, general secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, said members of his organization supported the pair’s election at the assembly.

“Both Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah have successfully promoted a moderate form of religious life in Indonesia through local wisdom. Without them, such moderation would not exist,” he told

The Protestant churchman believed that under Said and Haedar’s leadership, the most influential Islamic organizations in Indonesia would be a role model for other religious organizations around the world.

Other Asian leaders among the 48 newly elected co-presidents of Religions for Peace include Myanmar’s Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon and Philippines’ Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.

The New York-based organization advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace and human development, works to end violent conflict, and promotes just and harmonious societies and environmental protection.

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