(Time) Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, has a constitution that recognizes other major religions, and practices a syncretic form of Islam that draws on not just the faith’s tenets but local spiritual and cultural traditions. As a result, the nation has long been a voice of, and for, moderation in the Islamic world.
Yet Indonesia is not without its radical elements. Though most are on the fringe, they can add up to a significant number given Indonesia’s 260-million population.
Among Indonesia’s most influential Islamic leaders is Yahya Cholil Staquf, 51,advocates a modern, moderate Islam. He is general secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama, which, with about 50 million members, is the country’s biggest Muslim organization. Yahya. This interview, notable for Yahya’s candor, was first published on Aug. 19 in German in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.