Nahdlatul Ulama

Nahdlatul Ulama (also Nahdatul Ulama or NU) is a conservative Sunni Islam group in Indonesia. Its traditionalist nature is evident in the name Ulama, referring to the scholar-preachers of Islam, trained in Qur'anic studies, including the interpretation of the religious laws contained therein. NU was established on January 31, 1926, around the same time that the reformist Muhammadiyah was established. Its first president was the Ulema Hasyim Asy'ari. In 1965, the group took sides with the General Suharto-led army and was heavily involved in the mass killings of Indonesian communists. However, the NU later began to oppose Suharto's regime. In 1984, Abdurrahman Wahid, the grandson of NU founder Hasyim Asy'ari, inherited the leadership from his father, and was later elected President of Indonesia in 1999.[1] NU is also one of the largest independent Islamic organizations in the world. Some estimations of their membership range as high as 30 million, although it is hard to account for this number. NU acts as a large charitable body helping to fill in many of the shortcomings of the Indonesian government in society; it funds schools, hospitals, and organizes communities or "kampungs" into more coherent groups in order to help combat poverty.

1. ^ Barton, Greg. GUS DUR: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF ABDURRAHMAN WAHID, Equinox Publishing, Jakarta, Singapore, 2002

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