Monday, March 29, 2010

NU & The Civil Society

The 32th national congress of muslim largest organization Nahdlatul Ulama in Makassar ended on Sunday with appointment of new NU head KH Said Aquil Siradj for the period of 2010-2015. His tagline campaign ‘Kembali ke Pesantren’ or Return To Pesantren helped him to gain majority votes.
Abdus Sair, secretary of a youth organization GPNU, said the new NU board will face both external and internal challenges. Externally, NU has to encounter radicalism, Islam sectarian and terrorism issues. Internally, the new NU board will have to deal with some NU elites' move may take advantage of their position in NU for personal political interest. NU should return to its basic essence – i.e. focusing on religious and societal issues, in particular grassroot supporters of NU, who mostly live in rural areas and do not have economic access.
Some prominent figures of NU feared that the the new NU board might be ‘coopted’ by the State Palace, referring to the SBY government. The head of Pesantren (muslim boarding school) As’saidiyah Jamsaren Kediri, East Java, Anwar Iskandar, who is also forum for East Java and Central Java muslim boarding schools expressed his pessimism over NU’s future.
He was quoted by Tempo online that although the process to elect new NU head has been democratic, he views that the new head’s independency is “questionable”. He sees that Said Agil is too close to the government, which could cause resistance at the NU’s grass-root level.
Some observers say NU should position itself as a leader in civilian society movement. “As a strong civilian organization, NU should become the driver (in civilian society movement), not allowed itself to be taken advantage (by others),” Qasim Mathar, a professor at Islamic University Alauddin, Makassar, was quoted by Kompas as saying.
Given the public’s trust on the government and the parliament is deteriorating, due to corruption cases, -- such as the Gayus Tambunan tax case, traveller’s cheque case involving a number of Parliament members, and many others--, it is time for such big civilian organizations like NU to voice the interest and concerned of the public at large. (by Haryanto Suharman & Roffie Kurniawan)




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