Maybe you can help me to answer my (stupid) question: do you really think that the best way to to influence the perception of Islam in the U.S is to send
[...NU communities in Java have...] many amateur but excellent music, theater and martial arts groups that given the opportunity could easily capture a Western audience for a breathtaking hour or two. The very rich and sophisticated but relatively unknown performing arts of Banyuwangi (a traditional NU stronghold) for example, would be a safe bet to help shift perceptions of Islam in the U.S.and call it a cultural diplomacy?
The same goes for the beautiful but devastating, obscure martial art of pencak silat. NU and its Pagar Nusa schools of pencak silat have many young and old masters who cannot only apply punches, kicks, takedowns, throws and joint locks, but can also, to an extent, defy gravity and demonstrate invincibility to fire and sharp blades. Managed creatively NU's artists could put together a show as entertaining as the famous Chinese State Circus, guaranteed to inspire and capture people's imagination.
Punches, kicks, sharp blades?
If you do think it is, then maybe the Jakarta Post's opinion editor was right.