Sinta Nuriyah, wife of former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, has expressed her desire for a tolerant and feminist Islam. In an interview, she said, “We live among different religions, ethnicity and cultures. It’s necessary that we stand up to extremists.”
Read on to know 10 interesting facts about this feminist Muslim woman:
1. She was born in 1948 in the Javanese town of Jombang. She had 17 siblings and was the eldest of them. Her father was a calligrapher. She went to a local Islamic boarding school for girls. She was in her teachers’ good books as she was inclined towards academics.
2. She married Abdurrahman Wahid after he proposed to her. At that time, he worked as a teacher. Later, he went on to become Indonesia’s first president to win a contested election. The couple has 4 children.
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3. Despite their affluence, the family resolved to stick to their simple ways of living. They wore simple clothes and acted simply.
4. Sinta was paralyzed from waist down in a car accident in the 1990s. Her physical disability couldn’t deter her from carrying forward the family’s campaign for a tolerant Islam. Security guards used to carry her everyday to her class on stretchers.
“We live among different religions, ethnicity and cultures. It’s necessary that we stand up to extremists,”- Sinta Nuriyah
5. Her crusade for women’s rights stems from the fact that she holds a major’s degree in women’s studies. The motto behind studying the subject was to know the influence religion had on women and vice-versa.
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6. She is, specifically, averse to the institution of polygamy. She mentioned that it is impossible for men to be fair to multiple wives.
7. For her senior thesis, she studied the health effects of pregnancy on child brides.
8. After her husband was impeached from office, she continued to struggle for the cause of girls’ education. She established a network of progressive Islamic boarding schools for girls to promote gender equality in some of the most rural and conservative parts of the country.
9. She aspires to materialize her dream of creating moderate Islamic institutions that preach feminism and tolerance.
10. Sinta is an ardent believer of the fact that people from different faiths are siblings to each other. Thus, they must strive to maintain peace and harmony in the world. She advocates for rights of minorities and tours Indonesian cities during Ramzan to promote tolerance among Muslims by initiating interfaith breaking-the-fast ceremonies.
Image credits: beritateratas.com
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Charvi Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV