Highlights of International Media Coverage

Many of the world's top media outlets have documented LibForAll Foundation's pioneering role in developing, and implementing, an effective strategy to discredit the ideology of religious hatred that underlies and animates terrorism.  We do so by mobilizing support for a pluralistic and tolerant understanding of Islam, at peace with itself and the modern world. 
 

 

 
 

"Indonesia’s ‘big idea’: Resolving the bitter global debate on Islam"
by A. Mustofa Bisri and C. Holland Taylor

"Men and women who embody the exemplary values of our ancient culture, including its profoundly spiritual view of religion, constitute what may be Indonesia’s most geopolitically significant - and certainly its most unique - strategic asset... In the words of Wahid, Indonesia can help 'restore honor and respect to Islam, which the extremists have desecrated,' and 'restore the majesty of Islamic teachings as rahmatan lil ‘alamin [a source of universal love and compassion], which represents a vital key to building a peaceful world.' ” (Essay distributed by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry to participants at the 2012 G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.)

 

 

Al-Ahram (est. 1875), one of the oldest and most widely-read newspapers in the Arab world 

“Extremism is Alien to Islam”

"LibForAll Foundation, an NGO which cares deeply about Islam and Muslims... strives to express, clarify and widely disseminate a true understanding of Islam not only to non-Muslims, but also to Muslims in general.  LibForAll aims to present the moderate and tolerant face of Islam, and explain the importance of [Muslims] returning to the essence of Islamic teachings which, until now, have been poorly understood by many groups [both in Islam and the West]."

“The Classical Roots of Abu-Zayd’s Thought”
by Dr. Ali Mabrook

“When the role of the text is demoted from that of Divine communication/interaction with humanity, and Scripture harnessed to legitimize and support a specific political authority, it is logical to expect that the temporal authorities in question will tend to pronounce the text [and specifically, their interpretation of it] as authoritative, and thus beyond human questioning, interaction or debate. The political authority thus seeks to conceal its true nature – as a self-interested, unjust and oppressive tyrant, whose absolute power must not be challenged – behind its depiction of the text as a similarly unquestionable and unchallengeable authority. Which is to say, that in such an authoritarian context, the distinction between political and Scriptural authority is completely dissolved, and the two merged into one."

"The Civil State and its Totalitarian Opponents"
by Dr. Ali Mabrook

"Totalitarian systems are based upon the assumption that human beings are mere 'tools,' rather than effective entities. I still recall how—on the night of Mubarak's resignation—a man [in Tahrir Square] lifted a placard that read, 'It was God and God alone who felled Mubarak's regime.' I asked him: 'What have all these people been doing for the past two weeks?' He replied: 'The people were merely tools in the hand of God.'

"This last statement reveals how some political groups may drive Egypt towards a religiously-masked totalitarianism. The statement 'God and God alone felled Mubarak’s regime' expresses a genuinely political, rather than religious, reality. For when some people insist on attributing human actions to God, we should realize that their attributions are merely metaphorical. In reality, they are attributing [the revolution’s success] to those who hide themselves behind God, and claim to speak in His name. Attributing the fall of Mubarak's regime to God thus reveals the attempts of certain religious groups to steal the Egyptian revolution, so that they may dominate post-revolutionary Egypt in the name of God."

 
 

"Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam"

by Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid

"Muslims and non-Muslims must unite to defeat the Wahhabi ideology."  This "must-read" op-ed by LibForAll's co-founder, board member and senior advisor appeared in the year-end editions of the U.S. and European Wall Street Journal (Friday, December 30, 2005) labeled "EXTRA! Read all about it!", and in the first edition of 2006 in the Asian Wall Street Journal.  Subsequently described by the Wall Street Journal as "a seminal article for this newspaper" (February 25, 2006), and praised by the Hudson Institute's Center on Islam, Democracy and the Muslim World as "a far-ranging and detailed account of what [Wahid] views as 'the global struggle for the soul of Islam'... We recommend this article, which we’ve re-published in this issue of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, to very serious reading and reflection."

 

“Wahid and the Voice of Moderate Islam”
by Paul Wolfowitz

"Even more important than his role as a politician, Wahid was the spiritual leader of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, and probably in the world, with 40 million members. He was a product of Indonesia’s traditionally tolerant and humane practice of Islam, and he took that tradition to a higher level and shaped it in ways that will last long after his death."

 

“A President for All People”

“Many Muslim Indonesians considered Mr. Wahid a living saint. But Christians, Buddhists and many others mourned his passing last week. Their grief is testament to the power of his ideas, not just for Indonesians, but for every other pluralistic society seeking a peaceful and prosperous future.”

 

"The Last King of Java"

by Bret Stephens

Bret Stephens, writing in the Wall Street Journal, calls LibForAll co-founder Abdurrahman Wahid "the single most influential religious leader in the Muslim world" and "easily the most important ally the West has in the ideological struggle against Islamic radicalism."

 

"The Exorcist"

by Bret Stephens

Article describes the successful efforts of LibForAll advisor and senior fellow Dr. Abdul Munir Mulkhan to help stem the tide of radical Islam in Indonesia.

 

"The Evils of Holocaust Denial"

by Abdurrahman Wahid & Israel Lau

"BALI, Indonesia – Today, religious leaders from many faiths and nations will gather here for a landmark conference in a unique place ~ an island of tolerance, not terrorism. In a world in which religion is manipulated to justify the most horrific acts, it is our moral obligation not only to refute the claims of terrorists and their ideological enablers but also to defend the rights of others to worship differently: in freedom, security and dignity...."

 

"Public Diplomacy for Dummies"

by Bret Stephens

"LibForAll itself is a model of what a competent public diplomacy effort in the Muslim world should look like.

"In its brief life, LibForAll has helped turn back an attempted Islamist takeover of the country's second-largest Muslim social organization (with 30 million members), translated anti-Wahhabist books into Indonesian, sponsored a recent multidenominational conference to denounce Holocaust-denial, brought Mr. Dhani to Colorado to speak to U.S. military brass, and launched a well-researched 'extremist exposé' in order, Mr. Taylor says, 'to get Indonesian society to consciously acknowledge that there is an infiltration occurring of radical ideology, financed by Arab petrodollars, that is intent on destroying Indonesian Islam.' "

 

"The Obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian Peace"

by Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid and Abdul A'la

 

"Palestinians and Israelis need the world's support to create a new reality, in which the highest values of religion and humanity are restored to their proper dignity. We must also help Muslim populations – not only in Palestine, but throughout the Arab world – to rise to embrace a profoundly spiritual and tolerant understanding of Islam, and a humanistic attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that acknowledges the legacy of suffering on all sides. Such an attitude is a necessary precondition for recognizing Israel's unique history and right to exist, while truly advancing the interests of Palestinians as well.

"Last year's LibForAll/Indonesian Peace mission to Israel and Palestine was designed to initiate such a process. After the religious leaders who participated returned to Indonesia, they faced intense condemnation from Muslim extremists, who accused them of having betrayed their Palestinian brethren and embarrassed Indonesia's Muslim community. Yet there is nothing shameful about working to realize the highest values of religion – which God intended to serve as a blessing, and not a curse, to all of humanity.

"Although the obstacles to peace in the Holy Land may appear insurmountable, it is the responsibility of religious leaders on all sides to attempt the impossible, and to accept whatever threats, slander and stigma may follow."

 

"This Muslim Rocker Preaches Tolerance to a Strong Drumbeat"

" 'Dhani, the founder of one of Indonesia's most popular bands, is a very different kind of rock superstar.  He's promoting moderate Islam in a lynchpin country in the war on terror, tucking messages of tolerance beside Western beats and Arabic rhythms.' " The Wall Street Journal profiles LibForAll board member Ahmad Dhani, who is "creating his own jihad for moderate Islam."

 
 
 

"Preventing Violent Radicalization and Terrorism: The Case of Indonesia"
by Magnus Ranstorp 

A year-long study conducted by the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College on behalf of SIDA (the Swedish Foreign Aid Agency) reports that "The LibForAll Foundation (LibForAll) is a particularly interesting non-governmental actor that is able to create networks and promote effective messages and initiatives in various constellations....  LibForAll has been exceptional in a regional context for issues involving innovative forms and communicating the message of anti-extremism. One guiding star in these efforts has been selecting methods with maximum impact and that reach the largest possible audience....

"LibForAll's publication of The Illusion of an Islamic State: The Expansion of Transnational Islamist Movements to Indonesia had a considerable impact on domestic policy. It primarily contributed to neutralizing one candidate's bid for vice president in the 2009 national election campaign, who had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. It also helped drive a wedge between President Susilo Yudhoyono, who was running for re-election, and the PKS party's candidate, which had been his coalition partner for the previous five years. PKS has played a double role – it has supported the government the past five years on the one hand and continued to promote radicalization on the other. Yudhoyono nominated a strong nationalist candidate as vice president instead.

"LibforAll's demonstration of strength involves creating a cross-sector network that is based on a five-level integration of the following: religious leaders (ulama) who have garnered widespread public support and who can address radical backlash; religious scholars and teachers who can garner the requisite intellectual and theological support for a pluralistic and tolerant interpretation of Islam; pop idols who have massive support from young people; government leaders who are able to address social factors as an underlying factor of extremism; as well as business leadership that can offer requisite financial support.

"LibForAll constitutes... an interesting phenomenon in terms of bridging the gap against extremism both within and between regions. The organization has also, in an experimental manner, used various means and forums to reach out to as large a segment of society as possible by using credible messengers and new technological platforms. LibForAll's coordinated media strategy has had a decisive political effect in terms of curbing political parties with an extremist agenda. Exposing the true nature of the parties has enabled marginalization of corrosive, subversive forces."

 

The largest lecture theatre at the Swedish National Defence College was nearly filled to capacity when LibForAll advisor, Kyai Haji Mustofa Bisri, addressed the audience on the topic of "Islam and terrorism." You can watch a video of the seminar here.

 
 

"The Jihad Against the Jihadis"
by Fareed Zakaria

This article cites the CATS study and, without naming LibForAll, refers to its decisive role in helping to counter radicalization: "Perhaps the most successful country to combat jihadism has been the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia. In 2002 that country seemed destined for a long and painful struggle with the forces of radical Islam. The nation was rocked by terror attacks, and a local Qaeda affiliate, Jemaah Islamiah, appeared to be gaining strength. But eight years later, JI has been marginalized and main-stream political parties have gained ground, all while a young democracy has flowered after the collapse of the Suharto dictatorship.

"Magnus Ranstorp of Stockholm's Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies recently published a careful study examining Indonesia's success in beating back extremism. The main lesson, he writes, is to involve not just government but civil society as a whole, including media and cultural figures who can act as counterforces to terrorism."

 
 

"Ideological Warfare is More Powerful, and Dangerous, Than Bombs"

In the wake of the July 17, 2009 terrorist bombings of the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Jakarta, an enormous wave of publicity swept Indonesia, linking the terrorists to the transnational ideology of Wahhabism identified months earlier in Illusion of an Islamic State. The extremist magazine Sabili dedicated an entire issue in August of 2009 to defending Wahhabism and denying its alleged role in terrorism, including a 4-page article about Illusion of an Islamic State, excerpts of which appear below:

"Like the change of seasons, heavy rain always begins with an initial shower. The enemies of Islam never cease in their efforts to destroy the Muslim community. They use not only physical methods, but ideological warfare as well. They regard this methodology as more inexpensive and effective. Just look at what happened before the bombing of the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels. The previous month we were 'treated' to the book Illusion of an Islamic State, which attacks political Islam.

"The afore-mentioned book was published jointly by the Bhinneka Tunngal Ika [Oneness Amid Diversity: Indonesia’s national slogan] Movement, the Wahid Institute and the Maarif Institute. The book represents the result of more than two years’ research by LibForAll Foundation.... History tells the world that radicalism is constantly nurtured, to serve colonial interests that always alternate players. Thus, loud statements about [an alleged] Wahhabi [threat] are truly more powerful and dangerous than bombs."

 

"It’s the West that Benefits Most from Stigmatizing Wahhabism"

Another major extremist magazine, Hidayatullah, also devoted an August, 2009 cover story and several articles to the subject of Wahhabism, and Illusion of an Islamic State’s role in generating massive public rejection of Wahhabi/radical ideology, as seen below:

“Since the explosion of the bombs in Kuningan [Jakarta] in July of 2009, the terms Wahhabism and transnationalism have suddenly been on everyone’s lips.  Many national television stations and other mass media outlets have been quoting a number of leading national figures about the relationship between terrorist bombs and Wahhabism.

“Whether this is intentional or not, one thing is certain: the assistance of media (especially TV) has caused the term Wahhabi to become a new stigma that is terrorizing many [extremist] Muslim organizations.  It may be that those behind the spread of this stigma hope to divide Indonesian Muslims and turn them against each other….

“The people behind this are identical to those who were behind the book The Illusion of an Islamic State….  I can’t stop thinking about LibForAll (which financed and published this project) and how it claims to be liberal and promoting liberalism, but in reality is extremely conservative, sectarian and exclusive, unwilling to tolerate differences [i.e., extremist interpretations of Islam].”

 
 

"Islam, Virgins and Grapes"
by Nicholas D. Kristof

"One of the scholars at the Notre Dame conference whom I particularly admire is Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, an Egyptian Muslim who argues eloquently that if the Koran is interpreted sensibly in context then it carries a strong message of social justice and women’s rights.... Dr. Abu Zayd is helping the LibForAll Foundation, which promotes moderate interpretations throughout the Islamic world....

"If the great intellectual fires are reawakening within Islam, after centuries of torpor, then that will be the best weapon yet against extremism."

 

"Indonesia's Political Landscape Offers Path for Egypt"
by Aubrey Belford

"With its tight internal organization, the PKS is as much a social movement as a political party, said C. Holland Taylor, the Jakarta-based chairman of LibForAll Foundation, which promotes moderate Islam worldwide. As such, Mr. Taylor said, the party has been a key factor in the rise of a more austere, intolerant form of Islam in Indonesia. This has already been reflected in legislation.... 'If you’re a citizen of a country and your government is promulgating laws that deny you freedom and is using the repressive apparatus of the state to enforce those laws, the government is more dangerous than some random terrorist that’s never going to reach you personally,' Mr. Taylor said."

 
 

"Muslims speak up, and against radical Islamists"
by Jennifer Rubin

"Obama officials, and hard-line conservatives who assert that all Muslims are radical, should have come over to the Heritage Foundation this morning. The ostensible purpose of a two-hour session was the English translation of a landmark Indonesian book, The Illusion of an Islamic State. That original book provided Indonesians with a theological argument against advocates of a radical interpretation of Islam. It also supplied a wealth of revealing information on the degree to which outside forces (Saudi Arabian Wahabbists), funded generously by oil money, had sought to manipulate the 2009 national election in the largest Islamic democracy in the world. The result was remarkable: a repudiation of the vice presidential candidate backed by the Muslim Brotherhood-related PKS party and a new determination to reject the exclusionary, radical and violent sort of Islam that, in the minds of many in the West, has come to represent the only 'legitimate' type of Islam.

"[T]he book is meant to stir debate, undermine misconceptions and shatter the aura of legitimacy that radical Muslim leaders have erected. In that regard, the book and the Heritage event should be considered a roaring success."

 

"No easy task: Fighting back against radical Islam"
by Jennifer Rubin

"It is not hard to appreciate that anti-extremism efforts are critical to winning the war against Islamic terror. It is a daunting task, but Mustofa Bisri and Taylor remind us that a single book with a powerful message had a huge political impact in the largest Muslim-majority democracy in the world. If it can work in Indonesia, why not in the rest of the world?"

 

"Obama’s feeble counterterrorism efforts lambasted"
by Jennifer Rubin

"The [AILC's] response [to the Obama administration's National Strategy on Counterterrorism] is worth reading in full."

 

"Indonesia steps up pressure on Islamist militants"
by Andrew Higgins

"[In 2004], Indonesia's best-selling magazine was an Islamic weekly called Sibili, which offered a mix of wild anti-American conspiracy theories and cheerleading for jihad. Today the tide seems to have turned....

"Sibili, meanwhile, has toned down its anti-Western rhetoric. 'We now see bigger potential for sales among moderate Muslims,' said Lufti Tamimi, the magazine's director and part-owner. In January, Tamimi ditched Sibili's hard-line editor and commissioned a series of articles denouncing Salafism, a purist strain of Islam that underpins extremist ideology."

 

"As Indonesia Debates Islam's Role, U.S. Stays Out"

by Andrew Higgins

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist reports on U.S. government's abject failure to support moderate Muslims in their struggle with extremism, while rationalizing this timidity as "sound policy." "One U.S. group jumps in - While the Asia Foundation and others dived for cover, one American outfit jumped into the theological fray with gusto. In December 2003, C. Holland Taylor, a former telecommunications executive from Winston-Salem, N.C., set up a combative outfit called LibForAll Foundation to 'promote the culture of liberty and tolerance.' "

 

"In Indonesia, Songs Against Terrorism"

by Abdurrahman Wahid & C. Holland Taylor

"Dhani and his group are on the front lines of a global conflict, defending Islam from its fanatical hijackers. In a world all too often marred by hatred and violence committed in the name of religion, they seek to rescue an entire generation from Wahhabi-financed extremists whose goal is to transform Muslim youth into holy warriors and suicide bombers. For every young Indonesian seduced by the ideology of hatred and fanaticism – including those responsible for the recent, awful attacks in Bali – countless others see through the extremists' web of lies and hatred, in no small part thanks to the visionary courage of people like Ahmad Dhani. For as they listen to Dewa's music, the hearts of millions of young Indonesians have been inspired to declare: 'No to the warriors of jihad! Yes to the warriors of love!' "

 

"Rock Star Rattles Radical Islam"

by Rebecca Cho

"To the millions of Indonesian youths who sell out his concerts, Ahmad Dhani is a superstar who has commanded the nation's rock scene for more than a decade.  But the charismatic leader of Dewa, one of Indonesia's top bands, isn't just any entertainer crooning about the heartaches of romantic love. Dhani is an ambassador for peace, using his music to lead Indonesia's youth away from radical Islam.

"This week, the Muslim rocker was in the United States to share his message of religious tolerance with an entirely different audience: top U.S. government and military leaders at a national conference on homeland defense.

"Dhani, 34, says attacking the ideology that motivates terrorists is the key to suppressing radical Islam.  With a longtime acquaintance, former Indonesian president Abdurraham Wahid, Dhani spoke to the group on Tuesday about a long-term strategy to combat religious extremism."

 

"Extremism Isn't Islamic Law"

by Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid

"All of humanity, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, is threatened by the forces of Islamist extremism. It is these extremists, masquerading as traditional Muslims, who angrily call for the death of Abdul Rahman or the beheading of Danish cartoonists. Their objective is raw political power and the eventual radicalization of all 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide. Western involvement in this 'struggle for the soul of Islam' is a matter of self-preservation for the West and is critical given the violent tactics and strength of radical elements in Muslim societies worldwide.

"Muslim theologians must revise their understanding of Islamic law, and recognize that punishment for apostasy is merely the legacy of historical circumstances and political calculations stretching back to the early days of Islam. Such punishments run counter to the clear Koranic injunction 'Let there be no compulsion in religion' (2:256).

"People of goodwill of every faith and nation must unite to ensure the triumph of religious freedom and of the "right" understanding of Islam, to avert global catastrophe and spare others the fate of Sudan's great religious and political leader, Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, who was executed on a false charge of apostasy. The millions of victims of 'jihadist' violence in Sudan – whose numbers continue to rise every day – would have been spared if Taha's vision of Islam had triumphed instead of that of the extremists.

"The greatest challenge facing the contemporary Muslim world is to bring our limited, human understanding of Islamic law into harmony with its divine spirit – in order to reflect God's mercy and compassion, and to bring the blessings of peace, justice and tolerance to a suffering world."

 
 

"Waging Jihad Against Violence"

by Abdul Munir Mulkhan

"The question confronting us – whose answer will be pivotal in determining the future of humanity – is whether the Muslim ummah (community) in the 21st century is willing to reinterpret the Qur’an, rather than remain stuck with an outmoded understanding of the sacred text inherited from Muslim clerics who lived and wrote their Qur’anic interpretations a thousand years ago, at a time of great wars and chaos.

"Only if Muslims and adherents of other faiths are willing to reinterpret their respective scriptures – and thereby renew their religious doctrines – will we witness a new era, dominated by a more humane and truly spiritual religiosity. Given the current crisis facing humanity, leaders of the world’s various faiths must work together to ensure full respect for the rights and dignity of all human beings, regardless of their religion or lack thereof. This is the sacred duty of those who adhere to all religious faiths, and the true jihad that the world still awaits."

 

"My Islam, Your Islam, Our Islam, Their Islam"

by Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid

 

"For me personally, 'Their Islam' is a fair term to describe the views of those who would annihilate the great beauty and diversity of traditional Islam in the name of an artificial and enforced conformity to their own rigid opinions. For such people, Our Islam is a misnomer, for in fact they seek to enforce – through intimidation and violence – a colorless, monolithic uniformity that does not and has never existed in the long history of Islam.

 

"The desire for Our Islam appears to be inherent in the nature of most Muslims. Yet the only realistic way to establish such a phenomenon is for My Islam and Your Islam to peacefully coexist in mutual respect and toleration, without trying to annihilate our differences. Rather than seek to repress or destroy the nearly infinite, beautiful variety of God’s creation, we would be better advised to pursue al-jihad al-akbar and annihilate our own egos, so that we may unite in a common spiritual apprehension of the One – which gives rise to inner peace and a joyful tolerance of differences here on earth.

"However, those who care about the future of Our Islam on this earthly plane would be well advised to unite in rejecting the use of Islam as an ideology, or a weapon to violate the sanctity of Your Islam and mine."

 
 

"In Defense of Moderation"
by Jennifer Rubin

"C. Holland Taylor doesn’t look like a man radical Muslims should fear.... He possesses no arsenal of weapons, holds no government post, and operates no intelligence service. Yet he runs the world’s most potent and innovative anti-extremist network and may hold a key to defusing the ticking bomb of Islamic terrorism."

 
 

"Toward a Muslim Solzhenitsyn"
by Matthew Schaffer

"The essence of Islam—if there is any such thing—is, of course, untestable and debatable. But the religion certainly isn't going away anytime soon. Nurturing its liberal, pluralistic, and non-supremacist strains may be the most important thing the West can do, for the welfare of Islam's millions of followers and for the West's own survival. LibForAll is leading the way."

 

"Islam or Islamist?"
by Andrew McCarthy

"On the international stage, the LibForAll Foundation has just released an English translation of The Illusion of the Islamic State, a compendium edited by the late Islamic scholar Abdurrahman Wahid. Once the president of democratic Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country by population, the influential Wahid also led Nadlahtul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, with over 40 million members. NU and other Indonesian moderates are clashing directly with the Muslim Brotherhood, arguing that Islamic scripture does not require the establishment of a caliphate or the imposition of sharia jurisprudence (i.e., fiqh) as governing law. Sharia, they contend, is a matter of private conscience."

 
 

"The Other Way to Fight Terrorism"
by Ranjit Souri

"Indonesia is considered by many observers to be the world’s biggest success story with respect to preventing Muslim radicalization and terrorism.... And a huge part of that success—and perhaps the key to fighting Islamist extremist terrorism in other parts of the world—lies in the work of LibForAll, an organization The Weekly Standard calls 'the world’s most potent and innovative anti-extremist network.' And that work has nothing to do with hunting down and capturing terrorists."

 
 

"IndUS Business Journal Awards of Excellence"

LibForAll Vice President, Dr. Ravi Krishnamurthy, received the IndUS Business Journal 2010 Award of Excellence in the category of "Organizations," for his outstanding role in helping to build LibForAll's "global counter-extremism network of top Muslim leaders who possess the moral and theological authority to counter radicalization within their societies." "For the fifth annual IndUS Business Journal Awards of Excellence supplement the newspaper continues to be successful in bringing together an impressive group of individuals and companies that best represent the influential South Asian business community in the United States.... The impressive achievements by its members, both in the business world in general and in pushing the community forward, continues to warrant special recognition."

 

"The Illusion of an Islamic State: A book that makes history"
by Dionyssios Kefalakos

"There are very few books that can be called 'the book'. Undoubtedly 'The Illusion of an Islamic State' is one of them."

   

"Interview: Gus Mus,
Spiritual Leader of Millions
of Indonesian Muslims:
'Radicalism Flourishes Under Democracy'"
by Michel Maas

"The [Illusion of an Islamic State] appeared in Indonesia in 2009, and immediately ignited a firestorm in the Muslim world. The authors received death threats and were painted as 'enemies of Islam' by the very people who defend terrorist attacks, and refer to terrorists as 'martyrs' and 'heroes.' This is noteworthy and significant, because the book is directed against precisely these radicals, and against the irredeemable version of Islam they wish to impose on others. The book'’s title is derived from Abdurrahman 'Gus Dur' Wahid's introductory text: '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.' In other words: God and politics have nothing to do with each other."

   

"Gus Mus's Monumental Step: Launching The Illusion of an Islamic State in Europe"

"Now [Gus Mus] has translated this distinguished book into English, with the title, The Illusion of an Islamic State. His noble objective is to inspire not only Indonesians, but people throughout the world. In this way he is giving of himself, and sincerely inviting the 'citizens of this earth' to know and understand each another. To recognize that all human beings are truly our brothers and sisters, in spirit. And to realize that although there will always be conflict, this very fact obliges us to invite one another to find solutions together, cooperating in a spirit of brotherhood."

 

 

"The Indonesian way"
by Shada Islam

"Listening to Mr Bisri and reading some chapters of the book, I was convinced, however, that Indonesia’s Muslim scholars have the courage and determination not only to denounce such violence but also to counter it with religious arguments. If true Muslims are to win this battle of ideologies against extremists, they will have to do more to spread their message and work harder to develop counter arguments. Indonesian scholars deserve credit and support and more publicity for embarking on the difficult task. Perhaps one day, Pakistan’s religious scholars will also work as fervently to reclaim Islam from those peddling a distorted version of religion."

   

"Peace, Love, and Understanding"
by Robert K. Epstein

"If the world's major religions ever learn to coexist, they may have C. Holland Taylor to thank. '....Holland was on the cutting edge in the Islamic world,' recalls the Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who was introduced to Taylor by Mizel. 'He impressed me immediately with the depth of his contacts as well as his realistic approach: This was no pie-in-the-sky person who thought he could change the world just like that. Kudos to Holland for being a man of clarity, courage and vision. I am certain it is not easy for him to work within the Muslim world with a kippah-wearing Jew.' "

   

"Indonesian Television Series “Ocean of Revelations” Opposes the Political Instrumentalization (of Islam)"
by Ulrike Hummel

"Rauf Ceylan, professor of Religious Studies at the University of Osnabrück, thought highly of the first episode of Ocean of Revelations to be screened in Germany. 'It was very impressive to see the rich diversity of Islam conveyed in word and image, and especially (to hear) the voices from Indonesia,' explained Ceylan.... What impressed the Islamic scholar more than anything else was the film’s depiction of Islam’s spiritual depths, which were accentuated again and again, along with its mystical components. 'And it is tragic that precisely this Islam, this stream of Islam, which represents over 90% of Muslims, is completely overlooked in public debates (about Islam).' "

 

"German University Starts Study for Imams"
by Anna Reimann

"[O]ne of the most influential liberal Islamic scholars worldwide: Ahmad Mustofa Bisri of Indonesia, who represents the world's biggest Islamic association."

   

“The voice in the wilderness”
by Anand Krishna

"The 'voice' is gone. And we are left with wilderness. Gus Dur, the voice that made the wilderness less terrifying, shall no longer be heard. His was the voice of hope, the voice that kept the flame of hope burning in many hearts.... The echo of each and every word he ever uttered shall remain here. Right here, with you and with me - with all of us."

   

A Legacy of Democracy

"Indonesian democracy is all the better for the contribution of Abdurrahman Wahid, Indonesia’s first democratically elected president. Mr Wahid, 69, a frail but pugnacious figure popularly known as Gus Dur, died on Wednesday night. A moderate Islamic scholar, his most important legacy was paving the way for the democracy that Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, now enjoys."

   

"Indonesia’s election a triumph
of pragmatism over ideology,
moderate Muslims over radical Islamists"

"The Libforall Foundation is one of the rare success stories of an initiative in which moderate and liberal Muslims – too often the silent and disorganized majority – have organized effectively to counter radical Islamist groups by promoting democracy and tolerance."

 

   

 

"The Enemy Within: Islamic Extremists And Their Dreams of a New Caliphate"

"Truth that is not organized can be defeated by evil that is. So goes an old Sufi saying. Moderate Muslims in Indonesia are working to get organized for [an ideological] war with hard-liners who are misinterpreting the Koran as a political ideology that is driving the direction of Islam across the world."

 

"The True Heart of Islam"
by Katrin Figge

"To help overcome intolerance and promote a more pluralistic and inclusive understanding of Islam, the Goethe-Institut in Jakarta has organized 'Ocean of Revelations,' an interactive exhibition featuring weekly video screenings, speakers and discussion groups .... The exhibition is a collaborative effort between the LibForAll Foundation, the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service and Alumniportal Deutschland.... 'Ocean of Revelations' is also the title of a television series, produced by the LibForAll Foundation, which seeks to highlight Islamic religious authorities and teachings that go against hard-line views. 'Firmly grounded within the theological and spiritual traditions of Islam itself, this video series is presented by top Muslim leaders who possess the moral and theological authority to successfully adopt a bold stance against religious extremism,' said Holland Taylor, co-founder and CEO of the LibForAll Foundation."

   

"Study claims Islamic party is spreading radical, extremist ideology in Indonesia"

"JAKARTA: Just days before Indonesians go to the polls, a study has been released charging that an Islamic party is spreading radical and extremist ideology - undermining the country's moderate Islamic tradition.

"The research will soon be published in a book titled 'The Illusion of an Islamic State: the Expansion of Transnational Islamist Movements to Indonesia.'

“ '...the findings will certainly have some bearing on the country's politics.' ”

 

 

"U.S.-Indonesia Relations:
Build for Endurance, Not Speed"

by Walter Lohman

"The Administration and Congress should support counter-extremism programs in Indonesia. By building and strengthening liberty-minded Muslim networks, media, and school curriculums, organizations like the LibForAll Foundation are working actively to attack Islamism at its ideological roots."

 

"Reviving Pakistan’s Pluralist Traditions
to Fight Extremism"

by Lisa Curtis and Haider A. H. Mullick

Policy Recommendations "Support nongovernmental efforts to promote religious tolerance and pluralism. U.S. officials should recognize and support important work by nongovernmental organizations in promoting religious pluralism. For example, the LibforAll Foundation has done groundbreaking work in Indonesia by building networks among educators, religious leaders, celebrities, and opinion leaders in promoting religious pluralism. This approach could also be applied in Pakistan."

   

"LibForAll Foundation Promotes Tolerance in Indonesia, Other Muslim Nations"

"The [LibForAll] foundation hopes to tip the balance toward a message of tolerance. It briefs policy makers in the United States and Europe and works with other organizations that promote tolerance, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, a Jewish institution that cosponsored the Bali Holocaust conference. The foundation is also producing a video project that features moderate Muslim leaders from various parts of the world explaining their faith. It plans to distribute the programs to Islamic schools and make the series available for broadcast."

~ Voice of America

   

 

"Former Indonesian President Calls Upon
Muslims to Speak Out Against Extremism
During U.S. Visit"
 

"President Wahid has assumed the mantle of leadership of an international movement dedicated to stemming the tide of radical Islam and reclaiming authentic Islam from those who have corrupted its teachings and used them to promote a repressive political ideology, religious intolerance and terrorism.  The lynchpin of this movement is the LibForAll Foundation, an Indonesian- U.S.- and Netherlands-based organization that President Wahid co-founded to propagate models of a prosperous, moderate and tolerant Islam, and to support moderate and progressive Muslims in their efforts to promote a culture of liberty and tolerance.

   

"A Tradition of Tolerance in Indonesia
Offers Hope"

by Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid

and C. Holland Taylor

"With its traditions of religious pluralism and tolerance, Indonesia and its civil society are ideally positioned to serve as mediators, helping to remove the poison of religious hatred that has long afflicted the Middle East. By integrating its rich spiritual traditions with the best of modern practices, Indonesian Islam can serve as a model for Islamic civilization worldwide and help inspire a similar renaissance of Islamic spirituality and tolerance in other parts of our troubled world."

   

"Indonesia's Guitar Warrior"

"Dhani's campaign for tolerance, however, begins at home, where after a decade of conquering the charts with his band, Dewa 19, he now hopes to wean the hearts of millions of Indonesian Muslims away from creeping extremism. And if most American music fans have yet to take notice, the U.S. security establishment appears to understand Dhani's potential significance. Last October, he addressed U.S. military and government officials at a Defense Department-sponsored conference at NORAD in Colorado Springs, explaining how he rejected the path of his father, a former member of the hardline Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia — and also that of his grandfather, a member of Dar ul-Islam, an outlawed group that once fought for an Islamic state in Indonesia."
   

"Holocaust-Affirming Conference
Opens in Indonesia"

by Sebastien Blanc

"Chairing the discreetly-organized conference is former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, known as Gus Dur, a moderate Islamic leader known to take courageous positions in Indonesia ....

" 'Although I am a good friend of Mahmud Ahmadinejad, I have to say he is wrong,' Gus Dur told the conference, referring to the Iranian president's dismissal of the Holocaust as a myth....  'He falsified history.' "

 

 

"Conference in Bali Against Holocaust Liars"

by Sophie Mühlmann

"Indonesia is making an effort to uphold its tolerant and secular image. The world's most populous Muslim nation has, for an entire day, become a showplace for a hitherto unique religious conference:  the gathering on the holiday island of Bali concerned itself entirely with religious tolerance and recognizing Nazi persecution of Jews as an historical reality.  Indonesia thereby consciously seeks to distance itself from fundamentalist and radical spirits."

   

"Leaders Take on Tsunami of Religious Hate"

by Abraham Cooper & Dr. Fred Balitzer

"Dispensing with the usual Orwellian political correctness, Wahid publicly condemned the Iranian leader: 'President Ahmadinejad is a friend, but when he lies about the Holocaust he is wrong and I say so publicly.'

"Some crucial milestones were achieved that day in the world’s largest Muslim nation. Members of the Jewish religion, including a rabbi from Israel, were invited to the table as equals. They and religious figures of four other faiths openly interfaced with young Indonesians and the media.

"We heard Muslim leaders explicitly condemn suicide terror and Holocaust denial while openly weeping with survivors of suicide bombings in Indonesia and Israel and embracing a Jewish survivor of the Nazi Holocaust."

 

 

 

   

Special Report: Top Stories of 2007

"In Bali, Indonesia, a gathering of religious leaders and victims of terrorist attacks, sponsored by the US Libforall Foundation, denounced Iran's president for claiming the Holocaust was a myth."

~ Arabian Business

   

"Where others falter, Dhani delivers... with his music.  His message for Americans and President Bush? 'Just support moderate Islam, and moderate Muslims.' "

   

"Defeating Islamist Extremism"

by Jeff Jacoby

"[T]here is no doubting Wahid's commitment to interfaith harmony. He tells Indonesian Muslims that they can learn from Christianity and Christian life, and has dispatched armed members of Nahdlatul Ulama to protect Christian churches from Islamist violence. Not long ago, one of Wahid's Muslim adherents was killed when he discovered a bomb in a church and used his body to shield the Christian worshipers from its blast. That stunning act of selflessness is a powerful reminder that Muslims no less than non-Muslims have a great deal riding on the defeat of the Islamofascists, and that we will not win the war against radical Islam without Muslim allies like Wahid."

   

"Dalai Lama Defends Islam
at Anti-terror Religious Meeting"

by Gary Chapman

"The Dalai Lama has defended Islam at an historic religious gathering in San Francisco today, saying suicide bombings were tragic “mischief” that could plague any religion. The Dalai Lama took centre stage at an unprecedented anti-terror summit with Muslim clerics and other religious leaders from around the world.

"Among the supporters of the religious solidarity movement was former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, leader of that country's largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, which has 40 million members. Holland Taylor delivered a letter from Mr. Wahid praising the gathering and offering to align himself with the Dalai Lama in future meetings of the newly established group.

" 'What is going on is a struggle for the soul of Islam,' Mr. Taylor said. He said Mr. Wahid and other top Muslim leaders were on the Dalai Lama's side in the 'tug-of-war' against religious extremism. Mr. Taylor referred to Sunni and Shiite leaders forming a public alliance with the Dalai Lama as 'ideological jujitsu' to deflect the power of radicals and unite moderates that represent 'the true heart of Islam.' ”

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

"Step Up the Fight Against Islamism"

by Sadanand Dhume

"The former president and cleric, Abdurrahman Wahid, of the 40-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama, stands out as the world's pre-eminent Islamic humanist, a rare figure who is liberal by any standard, not merely the lowered ones usually applied to Muslim clerics." 

   

"Former Telecom Executive
Battling Extremism in Indonesia"

by Tim Whitmire

LibForAll co-founder C. Holland Taylor is linking moderate Muslim leaders “in a network of lighthouses within the Islamic world that will promote tolerance and freedom of thought and worship.”