The Council of Indonesian Ulama (Majelis Ulama Indonesia, MUI) and its fatwas have been the subject of much discussion. It has commonly been argued that MUI played a significant role in shaping Indonesian Islam, including the tendency towards more conservative expressions. Since its inception in 1975, this institution has never been a gathering of liberal, progressive Muslim thinkers. What is generally neglected in the current scholarship is a critical examination of the MUI’s statements responding to various issues facing Indonesian Muslims. In the post-Suharto era, the MUI issued several non-fatwa statements, called “pernyataan sikap”, expressing its views and, sometimes, advice on issues ranging from local conflicts involving intra and inter-communal relations, ongoing legislative debates, to highly politically charged issues, such as religious blasphemy or Muslim mobilization during the election campaigns, and so forth. A close reading of these statements suggests that MUI’s stance is more pragmatic than has usually been assumed. Most of the MUI’s statements – if not all – have been influenced by the immediate concerns and local contexts. On certain issues, the MUI seems harsh and quite partisan in defending “the Muslim interests”, while on other issues it calls for cooling down and peaceful coexistence. The political pragmatism of MUI is also evident in the diversity of its stance, not only between different branches or between the central MUI and its branches, but also among its leaders. It is this pragmatic dimension of MUI that will form the focus of my paper.