Rahmatan lil 'Alamin (Blessing for All Creation)
Global Counter-Extremism Network

LibForAll allies The Wahid Institute, the Maarif Institute and Gerakan Bhinneka Tunggal Ika launch "pathbreaking" (Wall Street Journal) LibForAll-inspired book and TV/Video series


The Illusion of an Islamic State: The Expansion of Transnational Islamist Movements in Indonesia
Editor: H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid
Prologue: Prof. Dr. A. Syafii Maarif
Epilogue: Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri

Ocean of Revelations: Understanding Islam
as a Blessing for All Creation

Program Design and Supervision:
Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri


LibForAll co-founders Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid and C. Holland Taylor meeting with former Muhammadiyah Chairman A. Syafii Maarif (right) and renowned Nahdlatul Ulama leader A. Mustofa Bisri (second from left) to establish the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Oneness Amid Diversity) Movement, whose objective is to mobilize Indonesia's elite, and general public, to preserve the nation's traditions of religious pluralism, tolerance and diversity, while simultaneously developing the institutions of good governance and the rule of law.



Approximately 40 members of the Indonesian print and broadcast media attended the book and video launch on the evening of May 16th in Jakarta, and news of the book quickly went "viral" in the nation's mass media and on the internet. Volunteers (left) prepare copies of The Illusion of an Islamic State and excerpts from the video series for members of the press.



Journalists also received Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Movement t-shirts featuring the organization's spiritual leaders (resi, in Old Javanese) and slogans associated with each of them.

"Although a ruler has the body of a human, he or she should have the characteristics of a Divine Being, armed with the sacred trident (honest, grounded in Truth, and free of egotistical self-interest); be obedient to holy sages, whose unshakable grip upon the sacred trident is embedded in their very souls; and live to serve the people." – Gerakan Bhinneka Tinggal Ika’s motto, inspired by the Old Javanese text, Serat Jongko Joyoboyo


Entrance to the launch venue, as the first guests arrived.


More than 300 guests attended the event, including key leaders in the fields of religion, education, government, military, business, entertainment and the mass media. Dinner was accompanied by the first public screening of LibForAll's television/video series, Ocean of Revelations: Understanding Islam as a Blessing for All Creation.



Executive Director of The Wahid Institute, Ahmad Suaedy (at podium), welcomed guests to the event. Guests included former commander of the Indonesian armed forces, General Wiranto (seated in audience/pictured on screen), who was in the midst of running for Vice President in Indonesia's national elections.

 LibForAll Chairman and CEO, C. Holland Taylor, described the vital role that Indonesia and its religious leaders can play in helping to overcome the "crisis of misunderstanding" about Islam which threatens humanity.


Dr. Syafii Maarif and Kyai Haji Mustofa Bisri awarded ceremonial copies of The Illusion of an Islamic State to Lt. General (ret.) and former Indonesian Vice President Tri Sutrisno, and to Frans Tshai, a member of Indonesia's national assembly.


Mustofa Bisri read his poem, "In the Name Of":

 "Some, in the name of God, despise and insult God;
 Some, in the name of patriotism, rob their nation blind;
 Some, in the name of the people, oppress and exploit the people;
 Some, in the name of humanity, prey on their fellow man;
 Some, in the name of justice, corrupt justice;
 Some, in the name of unity, undermine unity;
 Some, in the name of peace, destroy the peace;
 Some, in the name of freedom, imprison freedom;
 So, in the name of whoever or whatever, let your curses fly;
Or... acting in My Name... battle the ignorant with love and compassion."


Guntur Romli (far left) led a panel discussion on the threat of extremist infiltration of Indonesian society, with speakers that included, from left to right, former President Wahid; Dr. Maria Ulfa, Chairwoman of Fatayat NU, or the Women's Branch of the Nahdlatul Ulama; KH. Mustofa Bisri; Muhammadiyah leader and National Human Rights Commissioner, Dr. Abdul Munir Mulkhan, who headed the project's field research;  senior Muhammadiyah statesman Dr. Syafii Maarif; Kyai Haji Ghozalie Said, Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama's Bahtsul Masa'il, or law-making body; and Dr. Abdul Kadir Ahmad, head of the South Sulawesi chapter of the NU.



As LibForAll co-founder KH. Abdurrahman Wahid wrote in his introduction to The Illusion of an Islamic State:

"People who are convinced that they know more than anyone else about Islam, and yet are full of hatred towards any of God’s creatures who do not travel the same path with them; and those who claim themselves to be in possession of the absolute truth, and for that reason entitled to act as God’s vice regents on earth (caliphs) and to dictate how everyone else must live – clearly, their words and behavior will not lead us into the presence of God. Their dream of an Islamic state is merely an illusion, for the true Islamic state is not to be found in the structure of any government, but rather, in hearts which are open to God and all His creatures.

"Truth and falsehood are abundantly clear. Extremists wish to compel the entire Indonesian people to prostrate before their extreme and rigid doctrines concerning Islam. The history of our nation – including the Babad Tanah Jawi, the Padri War, the Darul Islam rebellion and other such bloody eruptions – clearly demonstrates that restless, discontented souls will constantly shove our nation towards the brink of destruction until they succeed in acquiring total power, or we stop them, as earlier generations of tranquil souls – i.e., our ancestors – have done so many times before. Now it is we who must decide the fate of our nation."


As Kyai Haji Mustofa Bisri (left, with the former first lady of Indonesia, Ibu Sinta Nuriyah) wrote in Illusion of an Islamic State:

"If extremists wanted to continuously learn and listen to others, they would become progressively more informed and complete in their understanding of Islam, and would not seek to reduce Islam to a mere ideology or rule of state. They would understand that Islam is too great to be boxed into a narrow ideology, or confined by the limits of state laws. For that reason, the vital insight contained in this book is the struggle (jihad) to constantly inspire every person to learn without ceasing; to oppose ignorance; to inspire all people to open their hearts and minds to humanity; and the struggle (jihad) to free every man, woman and child on earth from ideological and dogmatic strictures which have long prevented them from understanding the glorious teachings of religion, and instead confined their comprehension to those elements of the message which they can squeeze into a narrow box of their own or others’ construction."


Guests of honor included NU activist Dr. Siti Musdah Mulia (center, in red) and top model and film celebrity Okky Asokawati (right).



In the words of former Muhammadiyah Chairman Dr. A. Syafii Maarif (left, signing copies of The Illusion of an Islamic State, which was co-published by the Maarif Institute):

"The shari’a we know today is the result of ijtihad, or centuries-old human reasoning, and thus it is time-bound. Consequently, a huge project such as creating an Islamic state is extremely difficult, if not impossible, without rethinking the very basis of our ideas about shari’a.

"For those who want to think honestly, and seriously, the project of an Islamic state is not a simple one… Small, narrow minds cannot provide a solution as to what constitutes an Islamic state or government… We need big, broad minds to understand the Qur’an’s fundamental message, which is one of mercy and grace for all mankind, not oppression or violence… This book is a serious effort to observe the socio-political reality of Indonesian Islam… Although its title is challenging and some Muslims may not like it, LibForAll is publishing this book not to create enemies, but to develop a positive, constructive dialogue, both among Muslims and between Muslims and non-Muslims."


Journalists interviewing Kyai Haji Mustofa Bisra following the event. The Illusion of an Islamic State quickly became the most controversial and widely-discussed book in Indonesia, with over 457,000 mentions on the internet within just two weeks of its launch (source: Google). While extremists threatened to burn down any stores that sold the book, Indonesians quickly downloaded over 45,000 copies on the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Movement's website alone, with dozens of other websites also offering free downloads to the public.



Learn more.


About The Wahid Institute
The Wahid Institute strives for a just and peaceful world by espousing a moderate and tolerant view of Islam and working towards welfare for all. The Wahid Institute seeks to expand the vision and intellectual principles of H.E. Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), former President of Indonesia and world-renowned religious statesman, for the development of moderate Islamic thought to promote democratic reform, religious pluralism, multiculturalism and tolerance amongst Muslims both in Indonesia and around the world.

About the Maarif Institute
The Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity was founded by Professor Ahmad Syafii Maarif, former Chairman of the Muhammadiyah, the world’s second-largest Muslim organization, and 2008 recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award (often considered Asia's Nobel Prize). The Institute is committed to promoting the values of Islam, humanity, and keindonesiaan (Indonesianness), which have been the most important concerns of Dr. Maarif, throughout his intellectual and activist life. The Maarif Institute is an inseparable part of the reform movement of Islamic thought in Indonesia, and addresses the growing complexity of humanity’s problems that requires a new understanding of Islamic teachings on issues such as democracy, human rights, pluralism, gender, interfaith and civilizational dialogue.



[Going Viral on the Internet]       [English Excerpts from the Book]       [International Media Coverage]