In Israel, Indonesian Muslim leader risks backlash at home

Source: Associated Press

By CARON CREIGHTON

JERUSALEM (AP) — A leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization is visiting Israel this week, braving angry protests at home in order to spread what he calls a message of interfaith compassion.

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Yahya Staquf, secretary general of the 60 million member Nahdlatul Ulama, is in Israel as a guest of the American Jewish Committee, a U.S. advocacy group holding a major conference in Jerusalem.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, and support for the Palestinians there is strong. Staquf’s presence has triggered angry reactions, as seen on Indonesian social media.

But in an interview, Staquf said he remains committed to the visit and hopes the controversy can bring more attention to his message of tolerance.

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