Abdurrahman Wahid’s Profile

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Abdurrahman Wahid is one of president in Indonesia. He is also known as Gus Dur. He was born on 7th September 1940 in Denanyar, East Java, Indonesia and died on 30th December 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a politician and leader of Indonesian Muslim religious who was elected as an Indonesian president from 1999 to 2001. Gus Dur’s grandfather was one of the founders of the largest Islamic organization contains with 25-million members; it is Nahdatul Ulama (NU). When he was young, he studied at Islamic boarding school, which was founded by his paternal grandfather, Hasyim Asy’ari, and learned Qur’an intensively. When his father became the first religion cabinet minister of Indonesia, he studied at institutes in Jakarta. In 1965, Gus Dur got the scholarship to continue his study in a prestigious university in Cairo, Al-Azhar University. Nevertheless, he against the traditionalism of the faculty, and instead of studying the scripture, he read English and French books, devoured New Wave movies, and learned about Marxism. Several years later, he left the university without taking a degree and moved to Baghdad where he started to paid attention with his writing in religious topics.

In the late of 1960s, he returned to Indonesia, he became a scholar. Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur was elevated to become a post of NU’s general chairman in 1984. Then the organization severed the ties to Muslim political party and more focused on education and social network. The managers of 6,500 Islamic boarding schools nationwide opposed any moves of antigovernment. Nonetheless, He perceived widely to present the threat to a political authority for his vision promotion for NU which was he said in his words, “moves toward of the transformation of society, socially, and culturally”.

As a chief of NU organization, Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur was the one of the most respected character in Indonesian Islam, and also the most politically active. He led the group of political discussion, Forum Demokrasi, which welcomed the dissidents and advocates of human right. Gus Dur told frankly about the national issues to journalist, diplomats, ministers, and the others who consulted with him. Deviating from positions which were held by many Muslim country leaders, he suggested the normalizing ties with the Israel and contended that Bosnia and Herzegovina conflict was not religious. Many people admired his Indonesia’s Christian minority defense; even the powerful military hardly maintained the good ties to perceive the bulwark against radical Islam. In 1993, honored with Magsaysay Award, Abdurrahman Wahid was elected in the following year to become a leader of the World Council for Religion and Peace.


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