Indonesia Moderate Muslim Icon Dies at 66

Noted Muslim intellectual Nurcholish Madjid passes away at 66

JAKARTA (JP): Noted Muslim scholar Nurcholish Madjid died on Monday at the age of 66.

Cak Nur, as the intellectual was known, had been admitted to Pondok Indah Hospital in South Jakarta on Aug. 15 in a critical condition.

Cak Nur’s medical problems first became ill after he cast his ballot in the first round of the presidential election on July 5, 2004. He had withdrawn his presidential bid after many of hiscolleagues advised him not to run for election on a Golkar Party ticket.

Cak Nur later underwent a series of operations and medical treatment in Indonesia, China and Singapore before Pondok Indah Hospital in South Jakarta discharged him in March.

After having a liver transplant at the Taiping People’s Hospital in Guangdong, China, Cak Nur underwent three more operations to deal with the effects of the transplant.

After a month in China, Cak Nur was air lifted to Singapore’s National University Hospital, where he spent six months having an infection treated.

After being discharged from Pondok Indah hospital in March, Nurcholish underwent physiotherapy after having been confined to a hospital bed for almost a year.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Monday the nation had lost a very important figure.

“The President feels Cak Nur made a great contribution to the Indonesian people,” presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said as quoted by Antara.

Cak Nur, who was born in Jombang, East Java, on March 17, 1939, to a family with a background of Muslim boarding schools, got his doctorate on Islamic thought at the University of Chicago, Illinois, the United States, in 1984.

Majid was known for coining the slogan, “Islam yes, Islamic political parties no,” during the rule of president Soeharto. The slogan reflected his view that religion should be kept separate from politics.

Cak Nur is survived by his wife Omi Komaria, 56, and two children — Nadia Madjid, 35, and Ahmad Mikail, 31.

He will be buried later on Monday after being laid out at Paramadina University. (**)

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