Asia - Pacific

Prominent Indonesian Muslim cleric Yunahar Ilyas dies

Ilyas known for support to world peace, Turkey, Islamic world

Pizaro Gozali Idrus   | 04.01.2020
Prominent Indonesian Muslim cleric Yunahar Ilyas dies

JAKARTA, Indonesia

Prominent Indonesian Muslim cleric Yunahar Ilyas died due to kidney failure on the southern island of Java.

Ilyas, an influential scholar from the Muhammadiyah organization -- a major Islamic non-governmental organization -- died on Thursday in the city of Yogyakarta.

Born in 1956 in Bukittinggi city of the West Sumatra province, he obtained two bachelor's degrees from in Ibn Riyadh University in 1983 and the Imam Bonjol Islamic University in 1984, as well as a master's degree from Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University in 1996 and a Ph.D. from the same school in 2004.

Ilyas joined the Muhammadiyah in 1986 and served as chairman of the organization in 2005-2010.

An active advocate of world peace who expressed support for Turkey and the Islamic world, he once asserted that as a sovereign state, Turkey had the right to protect itself from attacks from the PKK/YPG terrorist group.

He had underlined that the war between Turkey and the PKK/YPG was not a war against the Kurds.

"A Kurdish representative explained that his people always supported the Erdogan administration. But, they are afraid to speak out since they will be the target of the PKK," Ilyas told Anadolu Agency in 2018, referring to Ankara's anti-terror operations in northern Syria.
He had also strongly opposed a coup attempt by the Fethullah Gullen Terrorist Organization (FETO) on July 15, 2016.

"One of the hopes of the Islamic world is in Turkey because it has an advanced economy and undivided force," Ilyas told Anadolu Agency in 2017.

He also praised the courage of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the face of the West's oppression towards Islamic countries.

Under the Indonesian Ulema Council, Ilyas initiated dialogue for peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

He welcomed the Taliban at the council's office in Jakarta in July to reconcile Afghanistan.

Ilyas also called on the world's Muslims to unite to help Palestinians following the closure of the Al Aqsa Mosque area in Jerusalem.

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