LibForAll Establishes
Media Production Center
to Expand its Global Reach


September, 2010 – LibForAll recently established an in-house media division, to produce high quality video, audio and internet communications in support of its global operations. Based in Jakarta, the Media Center is headed by TV advertising and public relations expert Lisa Tendri, and draws upon a wide network of Indonesian film professionals—including directors, producers, cinematographers and editors—who support LibForAll's mission and goals.

Our new Media Center aims to counter extremist narratives, and create a virtuous cycle of counter-radicalization in which spiritually-mature Muslim leaders—with immense theological knowledge, legitimacy and credibility—employ modern communications technologies to reach a mass audience with their message of a pluralistic and tolerant Islam, at peace with itself and the modern world.

Henry Siswanto, Hodri Ariev and Dimas Subhono (from left to right) filming on location outside a mosque in Duisburg, Germany.

With two camera crews on the road, working from before dawn to late at night, LibForAll Media Center Director Lisa Tendri (on phone, with film producer Aryotejo Subiyantoro) stayed focused on managing a demanding schedule, during a recent shooting expedition through Central and East Java.

Back in Jakarta, Media Center film editor and graphic designer, Muhammad Ibrahim, edits footage of noted Roman Catholic theologian Dr. Hans Küng, filmed in Europe.
One of the Media Center's first projects is to produce a film for LibForAll's
International Institute of Qur'anic Studies, to disseminate foundational narratives
to a wide audience in both the Muslim world and the West.

Here, IIQS Academic Director Dr. Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd of Egypt (far right) and LibForAll Director of Programs, Southeast Asia, Kyai Haji (K.H.) Hodri Ariev, discuss the IIQS's strategic plan with leaders of the renowned Al Munawir Islamic boarding school in Krapyak, Yogyakarta, K.H. Chaidar Muhaimin (far left) and K.H. Hilmy Muhammad (center), who is also a professor at Sunan Kalijaga Islamic State University in Yogyakarta, and long-time admirer of Dr. Abu-Zayd. Tragically, Dr. Abu-Zayd passed away several weeks after this photo was taken.

Setting for the recital of a Qur'anic passage in the IIQS video, filmed high on the slopes of Mount Merapi.

Gunung Merapi—"the Fire Mountain"—filmed from across the plain of Kedu in Central Java.


Deputy Director of Academics for the IIQS, Egyptian scholar Dr. Ali Mabrook, addresses students assembled outside their dormitory at Raudloh Al Thohiriyah Islamic Boarding School in Pati, Central Java, following an interview filmed with the head of the madrassa, K.H. Mu'ada Thahir (rear, far right).


LibForAll advisor and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of the 40-million-member Nahlatul Ulama, Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri (“Gus Mus”), with Media Center Director Lisa Tendri, at Raudlatuth Tholibin Islamic boarding school, in Rembang, Central Java.



Gus Mus being interviewed for the IIQS foundational video. His two hour presentation was so remarkable and compelling that the Media Center decided to produce a separate video consisting exclusively of this footage, in addition to excerpts that will be used in the IIQS foundational video.


K.H. Mustofa Bisri, LibForAll CEO Holland Taylor, LibForAll VP Dr. Ravi Krishnamurty, Dr. Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd, and K.H. Hodri Ariev, discussing Dr. Abu-Zayd's remark that he had to travel to Java to discover the spiritual essence of the Qur'an, and a profoundly Eastern (and Islamic) view of historicity (as revealing eternal truths), in contrast to the Western, hermeneutical orientation for which Dr. Abu-Zayd himself was renowned. Dr. Abu-Zayd's revelation came shortly before his death, but his vision of integrating Eastern and Western approaches to history lives on in the work of the IIQS.

Director of the IIQS foundational video, Hermawan Yulianto (right, with sunglasses), is a well-respected Indonesian film professional whose Nahdlatul Ulama family and madrassa background particularly suit him for this project. Director of Photography Yoyok Budi Santoso (left, with assistant DoP Indra Pradhisa) is also widely known and respected in the Indonesian film industry.
Mount Bromo (foreground, smoking) and Mount Sumeru (rear), in East Java, filmed in between IIQS events held at Sunan Ampel Islamic State Institute in Surabaya, and a variety of Islamic boarding schools scattered across the province.
The IIQS foundational video also includes original footage recently shot in Mecca....
....and at the Prophet's tomb in Medina, Saudi Arabia, with another film crew traveling to the Middle East in the fall of 2010, to record interviews in Cairo and Damascus.
LibForAll's Media Center is also completing the seventh episode of its
Ocean of Revelations
film series, entitled "State and Religion,"
shot on location in Europe and Southeast Asia.
Here, director Henry Siswanto and DoP Dimas Subhono film an interview with Imam Idriz, of Penzberg Mosque in Bavaria, Germany.

"It is our duty [as Muslims] to establish and safeguard religious freedom for all. If Christians, Jews and those of other faiths live in islamic lands, they should enjoy freedom of worship, just as we living in Europe enjoy freedom to worship as we choose. We build our own mosques, we pray in our mosques, and fast [during Ramadan]. We live in a state of peace and security."

~ Imam Idriz


Dr. Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd (left), being filmed on the grounds of Leiden University, near the site of LibForAll's European affiliate, Stichting LibForAll, in the Netherlands.

"Throughout history, once religion has 'evolved' into an institution, the state/rulers have infiltrated the religious institutions in question, in order to employ religion as a tool in their political competition with other states, and with those of other faiths.... Whenever this occurs, we witness what may be called the manipulation of religious meaning, in order to strengthen the power of the state/ruler. Religion is harnessed to fuel the state's political agenda. In this situation, it's inevitable that religion will be 'burnt' and destroyed."

~ Dr. Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd


"I believe that the problems they still have in Turkey are the result of those earlier reforms, and that Turkey should have taken a different path. During the Ottoman Empire they had one extreme, namely the caliph—'God's shadow upon the earth'—and then came the other [militant secular] extreme. I believe that Turkey missed the opportunity to take a different path, such as that of Germany, in which state and religion are separated, but partners. Unfortunately, that did not occur."

~ Dr. Rauf Ceylan, Social Scientist,
University of Düsseldorf, Germany


"In our view, politics should never mix with religion, for that is extremely dangerous. We oppose the transformation of religion into an ideology, or its instrumentalization [as a tool of political power]. We see from history that the instrumentalization of religious belief has cost an untold number of human lives.... and that is not the mission of Islam, Christianity or any of the great religions. Their mission is to show humanity the path to inner and outer peace; to show how we may avoid war; and build a truly peaceful world."

~ Haluk Yildiz, President of Muslim political party, Alliance for Peace and Fairness, Bonn, Germany


"The notion of an Islamic state does not exist in the Qur'an, [but] some moderate Islamists say they want to have a democracy based on an Islamic constitution. Tathbiq al-shari'ah is [said to be] an Islamic way of constitutionalism. This is baseless and has no foundation in Islam."

~ Dr. Bassam Tibi, Göttingen University, Germany

"When one speaks about religion in Europe, then one is speaking about Christianity. That is our history, and our history is drenched in blood. We've had problems with other religions, but have also had problems with Christians fighting each other. There were the crusades, with widespread chaos and destruction, and there were also wars between Catholics and Protestants, with enormous bloodshed and destruction. Our current constitution is grounded in the reality of this historical experience, which has led us to separate state and religion, so that these previous tragedies do not repeat themselves....

"Freedom, according to the European understanding, means that no one may be forced to live according to the dictates of another religion, and that is truly a fundamental human right, from a European perspective. We no longer believe in the idea of a religious state, because the idea of a religious state inevitably leads to war."

~ Prof. Dr. Winfried Hassemer, legal scholar and former Vice President of the German Constitutional Court


"I think we also need—in a modern society, in a secular society—to respect the transcendental dimension, to respect that the human being is not only a material being, but at the same time a spiritual being, and society should give freedom to this development. So, we should have a state in a secular society, but without [pure] secularism, without Godlessness."

~ Dr. Hans Küng, Renowned Swiss Catholic Theologian




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