ISIM Home – Former ISIM fellow ‘Hero against Slavery’
Kyai Husein Muhammad, who was a visiting fellow at ISIM in 2002, was named as one of ten ‘Heroes Acting To End Modern-Day Slavery’ in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2006, which was released earlier this month.
The report writes:
Kyai Husein Muhammad, founder and leader of The Fahmina Institute, Indonesia, has helped raise awareness of human trafficking among women and children in rural communities in West Java through an anti-trafficking media campaign, which included the distribution of 22,000 leaflets each week in mosques after Friday prayers, along with outreach to village health clinics and schools. He has researched and produced written works concerning the application of Islamic Law and human trafficking, an unprecedented initiative to use Islamic arguments and traditions to combat this crime. His scholarship highlights the Islamic perspective on victims’ rights, the rights of women and children, and the immorality of human trafficking, while emphasizing that victims should not be criminalized and that communities have a responsibility to combat trafficking. Kyai Husein’s efforts were instrumental in raising awareness of the risk of trafficking in posttsunami Aceh, and enlisting Muslim schools there in the ultimately successful prevention of trafficking in persons.
Kyai Husein (kyai is the Indonesian title for a religious scholar) is best known in Indonesia as the most senior scholar to support, and make major contributions to, efforts to develop a Muslim feminist theology. Besides leading his pesantren (traditional Islamic school) and the Fahmina Institute, which are based in Cirebon in West Java, he is also actively involved in the Jakarta-based major Muslim women’s NGO, Rahima.
His stay at ISIM was in the context of research for his book Islam agama ramah perempuan: pembelaan kiai pesantren [Islam, a woman-friendly religion: an apology by a pesantren-based kyai], Yogyakarta: LKiS & Fahmina Institute, 2004.