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Indonesian cleric’s call for compassion lost in controversy over Jerusalem visit

During a visit to Israel, Yahya Staquf, leader of the world’s largest Islamic organization, expressed his vision for the peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and his strong support of the Palestinian cause.

Yahya Staquf, an Indonesian cleric and secretary-general of the Jakarta-based Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, believes that “rahma,” meaning “compassion” or “mercy” in Arabic, can provide the basis for a political solution to the conflict between Israel and the Muslim world. 

Leading a small group of Indonesian Islamic scholars, Staquf was in Israel from June 10-13, invited to speak at the American Jewish Committee's annual Global Conference, which was held in Jerusalem. During his stay, Staquf met briefly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; spoke at several forums, including at the Israel Council on Foreign Affairs and the Hebrew University; visited with a delegation of Women Wage Peace, an Arab-Jewish peace group; and was guest of honor at a song fest at the Tower of David in Jerusalem’s Old City, where he delivered a convocation of peace together with a priest and a rabbi.

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