World's largest Muslim organisation admits extremism problem springs from Islamic teachings

Police officers react near the site of a terrorist attack in Jakarta, Indonesia on Jan. 14, 2016.Reuters

There's been so much debate as to whether violent extremism—which has triggered numerous terrorist attacks that have claimed thousands of innocent lives—should be attributed to Islam as a religion.

The largest Muslim organisation in the world recently admitted that bad elements of Islam are indeed part of the extremism problem.

During an international meeting of moderate Islamic leaders in Jakarta earlier this month, the Indonesia-based Nahdlatul Ulama group came out with a strong condemnation of their fellow Muslims, particularly extremist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda.

"We are like traditional opposition to supremacist Islamism," Yahya Staquf, an Indonesia cleric affiliated with the Nahdlatul Ulama, told CNN, as quoted by CBN News.

Staquf openly admitted that to be able to combat the global jihadi movement, world leaders and the general public must recognise the fact that extremism originates from Islamic teachings, which are being used by terrorist groups to justify the use of violence.

"We keep denying the source of the problem, namely some ailments within Islam itself," the Muslim cleric said.

Staquf further lamented how other Muslims, such as teachers and students in Indonesia, are being hurt by people who also believe in Islam.

"We have to find a way, to find a strategy to protect them," he said.

Other participants of the conference lauded Nahdlatul Ulama's move to acknowledge that there is something wrong within the Islamic religion.

For instance, Magnus Ranstorp, a counterterrorism expert with the Swedish Defense University who attended the conference, particularly commended the Indonesian group for pushing for the modification of some parts of Islamic law to make them in line with the modern era.

"I don't see any other Muslim leaders coming to Europe standing up like a tower and saying, 'Look, we are prepared to take this on,'" Ranstorp also told CNN.

"This has to be resolved by Muslims. The West can't come from the outside to try to reinforce that," he added.