Hasyim Muzadi

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democracy, human rights, Islam, labour
Written and spoken word (public speaking)
Asia, Southeast
created on:
July 3, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since September 23, 2003. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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Hasyim Muzadi
© Wahidur Rahman Khandkar Czhoton


Moderate Muslim leader

Hasyim Muzadi is the leader of possibly the world´s largest Muslim social and educational organisation, the 47-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), based in Indonesia.
Indonesian Muslim leader Hasyim Muzadi is expected to present himself as candidate in the next presidential elections in Indonesia.

Muzadi has admitted that several political parties have asked if he would be willing to become a candidate. With more than 47 million members, the position of
traditionalist Muslim organisation Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in the upcoming 2004 presidential election is attractive in the eyes of many political parties. With 87 % muslims Indonesia is the world´s most populous Muslim nation.

As a moderate Muslim leader Muzadi is advocating for bringing the concepts of democracy and human rights closer to Islamic values.

During a recent meeting for religious leaders in Canberra in Australia, Muzadi, on his speech explained that Indonesia is currently in the process of transition to democracy, so that the emergence of various political and economic interest-related problems are inevitable. These problems, however, can produce a negative impact on the life of religious adherents, which eventually will result in the outbreak of social conflicts in some regions in Indonesia.

At the meeting Muzadi appealed to religious leaders:
"The role of Islamic organisations in Indonesia is promoting tolerance in south-east Asia", he said and stressed the moderate nature of Islam in Indonesia and the importance of promoting moderate religious movements as an aid to the development of democracy.

He urges radical organisations to cease campaigns for Islamic sharia law, as well as violence in promoting religion.

"Struggling for sharia to be enforced in Indonesia is not realistic. What we need is to develop universal values for the people´s prosperity", Muzadi has told Jakarta Post.

"For the government, law enforcement is the key. While people must deepen their knowledge about religion, they must remember that they live in Indonesia".

"No religion condones and supports gambling, corruption, and prostitution. The government can just formulate antigambling, anticorruption, and antiprostitution laws; it can formulate regulations with Islamic values in them, so as not to disturb the sensitivities of other religions and ideologies. In this way religion can develop properly in the nation state", he said.

Hasyim Muzadi urges the West to support moderate groups in their efforts to counter radical groups.

Muzadi said a moral movement involving national leaders of different faiths and non-partisan scholars should promote religious values that are coherent with national interests.

"This is because confusing religion with the state will only destabilise the country and its people. That´s why religious politicisation in a narrow-minded sense will only undermine noble values and religious universality", he said.

At a time when there is much discussion of extremist Indonesian Muslim groups, Mr Hasyim Muzadi recently demonstrated NU´s commitment to the overwhelmingly moderate and tolerant nature of Islam in south-east Asia by discussing projects to exchange persons and views with Britain´s religious, academic, political and community leaders.

Over the five years the programme is running, tens of thousands of young people will get the chance to meet via the internet or face to face, where they will exchange ideas on the issues that matter to them.

The vast silent Muslim majority that feels nothing but revulsion for terror is often suspicious of the West. But due to this arrangement Muslims and non-Muslims alike will call each to dialogue rather than the self-justifying monologues that can only lead to mutual destruction.

In a situation, where Indonesia is suffering from the danger of dissension, Hasyim Muzadi had a recent meeting with central Indonesian politicians - the general chair person of the Central Board of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and the general chairperson of the Golkar Party Akbar Tandjung.

The meeting agreed on the importance of advocating for four matters as priority: economic recovery, settlement of Aceh and Papua, eliminating of (corrupt) KKN and internal security.
Author: Karin Bergquist


1944: Hasyim Muzadi was born at Java.
1956-62: Islamic studies at Islamic
Bording School.
1964-69: Islamic studies at State
Institute for Islamic Studies.
1972-82: Member of Parliament
1986-87: head of different levels
of Nahdlatul Ulama,
1999-2004: chairman of NU


NU and Islam in Indonesia. Pre and Post Iraq war

Published Written,
Article, 20 pages.

Human rights and Democracy in Islamic Teachings: Indonesian Experiences

Published Written,
Article in Christian Muslim Dialoque on Human RIghts Solidarity. Co-author: H.Choesnoer Rhoviq. 5 pages.


Hasyim Muzadi has participated in many conferences around the world on Indonesian politics and religion.


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)