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Cablegate: East Java Islamic School Launches Radio Station With

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INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
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RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0201
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0233
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0541

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DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS AND NEA/ARP

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TAGS: PREL PTER SOCI ECPS YM ID
SUBJECT: EAST JAVA ISLAMIC SCHOOL LAUNCHES RADIO STATION WITH
YEMEN-BASED PROGRAMMING

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This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: An East Java pesantren (religious boarding
school) launched a local radio station designed to support
Islamic teaching and values drawing on programming relayed
directly from Al-Ahqhof University in Yemen. The Rector and
Indonesian alumni of Al-Ahqhof University attended the station's
January 26 launch. The Rector told the press that the station
would help "provide information of Islamic development so that
the Muslim Community will not be confused by global issues
raised by Western countries." Published programming schedules
offer discussions of books common to the study of Islam, however
we are not yet able to comment on the tenor or tone of the
broadcasts. We will continue to monitor. ConGen staff have
visited the Mambaus Sholihin Pesantren, located an hour outside
Surabaya, on a number of occasions. End Summary.

Yemen Connection
------------------------

2. (SBU) The Pondok Pesantren Mambaus Sholihin, an Islamic
boarding school in Gresik, just north of Surabaya, has operated
a local radio station for the past year. On January 26, the
radio station launched a new Islamic format, designed to support
Islamic teaching and values. The Kiai (religious leader) of the
pesantren explained that, in addition to broadcasting
Islamic/Arabic songs rather than Indonesia songs, the new "Madu
Yemen Mambaus Sholihin" station would relay directly programming
for Al-Ahqhof University in Yemen. Although the station's range
is currently limited, the pesantren is building a new radio
tower to expand coverage throughout East Java.

3. (SBU) The pesantren took advantage of a 12-day visit to
Indonesia of Prof. Dr. Al Habib Al Allamah Ustad Abdullah
Muhammad Baharun Yemeni, the rector of Al-Ahqhof University to
officially launch the new station. The rector was accompanied
by 100 Indonesian alumni from Al Ahqhof. Approximately 30
alumni of the Mambaus Sholihin pesantren are currently studying
at Al-Ahqhof. The rector told the media that the radio station
would become a channel for information between Yemen and Gresik
because Gresik has great potential for Muslim intellectual
development along with its industrial development. "Muslims can
provide information on Islamic development so that the Muslim
community will not be confused by global issues raised by
Western countries," he said.

Programming
-----------------

4. (SBU) Although the station's range does not yet include
Surabaya, the station's website (www.radiomadufm.com) includes
links designed to allow listeners outside the broadcast area to
hear the programming. The site's schedule advertizes
Yemeni-based programming focused primarily on discussions of
books common to the study of Islam. For example, one program
discusses "Riyadushalihin," a book that contains "Hadis Shohih"
about the words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad. Another
discusses "Ta'lim Mutaa'lim" ("An Instruction for Students")
which includes mandatory instructions for Muslims to study.
Other radio programming is entitled: the "History of the
Prophet Muhammad," the "Biography of Ulamas," "Nahwu" (the
grammar of the Koran), and "Sunnah Bid'ah" (Sunnah = Islamic
teachings based on the Prophet's words and deeds; Bid'ah =
Islamic teachings not based on the Prophet's words and deeds.)
We don't yet have an indication of the tone or tenor of the
broadcasts, but will continue to followup.

Pesantren Background
----------------------------

5. (SBU) ConGen staff have visited the Mambaus Sholihin
Pesantren on a number of occasions, most recently for a
discussion about the Indonesian education system with members of
the Peace Corps. Throughout our engagement, the pesantren
community has always expressed openness to the discussion of
differing ideas and experiences. The pesantrean's owner and
religious leader, Kiai Masbuhin Faqih, is a member of Nadhatul
Ulama (NU), the largest moderate Muslim organization in
Indonesia, although the pesantren itself is not affiliated
directly with NU. Until two years ago, the pesantren received
most of its funding from the Middle East. In recent years, the
pesantren has begun accepting donations from Indonesian sources.
According to a teacher at Mambaus Sholihin, Kiai Masbuhin Faqih

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is the sole owner of the radio station.
MCCLELLAND

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