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Film: “The Divine Grace of Islam Nusantara”: Cultural Diversity in Islam, in Indonesia, and in the Muslim World —A Film Screening and A Conversation


April 6, 2016
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central
616 Serra Street, Stanford University

Film screening and brief discussion (screening: 4:00 – 5:30 pm; discussion: 5:30 – 6:00 pm). This event is co-sponsored by the Southeast Asia Program, the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies and the Department of Religious Studies. Free and open to the public; RSVP required by April 5, 5:00 p.m. http://aparc.fsi.stanford.edu/southeastasia/events/registration/220800

The New York Times has described The Divine Grace of Islam Nusantara as “a 90-minute film that amounts to a relentless, religious repudiation of the [self-styled] Islamic State and the opening salvo in a global campaign by the world’s largest Muslim group [Nahdlatul Ulama] to challenge [IS’s] ideology head-on.” The film documents the enthusiasm with which Indonesian Muslims have commemorated the historic role of the 15th-16th century Walisongo (“Nine Saints”) movement—a movement that precipitated the development in the East Indies (now Indonesia) of a great Islamic civilization rooted in the principle of universal love and compassion (rahmah).

The film and a panel discussion the following day will unpack a perspective that has been historically central to Muslim cultures stretching from North Africa to Southeast Asia. The essence and mission of Islam Nusantara is to build civilization, not to destroy it. Yahya Staquf has described the film as an invitation to Muslims everywhere to reject radicalism and theological straight-jackets and stand up for their own cultural adaptation of Islam.

Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf is a leader of what is widely regarded as the largest Muslim organization in the world. Located in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama adheres to the traditions of Sunni Islam. Yahya has primary responsibility for the expansion of NU’s activities to include North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Earlier positions included service as spokesperson for Indonesia’s 1999-2001 president Abdurrahman Wahid, the country’s first democratically elected head of state.

C. Holland Taylor’s leadership of the LibForAll Foundation dates from its co-founding in 2003 by Taylor and former Indonesian president Wahid. The Wall Street Journal has called LibForAll “a model of what a competent public diplomacy effort in the Muslim world should look like.” An expert on Islam and Islamization in Southeast Asia, Taylor has lived, studied, and worked in Muslim societies from Iran to Indonesia. He was educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Princeton University.

Note:  Although the panel will reference the film, the panelists will range beyond the film to present and discuss the role and relevance of the concept of Islam Nusantara in Indonesia and the larger Muslim world. Viewing the film is thus not a prerequisite to understanding the panel.