Highlights of International
|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.
‘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.'
"Prior to his death in December 2009, our friend Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid… set in motion a pair of interrelated endeavors to help realize Indonesia’s strategic potential as an engine of spiritual progress for humanity. The first of these [is] the International Institute of Quranic Studies (IIQS)...
"The second endeavor consists of a systematic
effort to help educate and mobilize Western governments, civil
society and public opinion at large, to address the complex
array of threats posed by Islamist ideology, terrorism and a
rising tide of Islamophobia in the West. This strategic endeavor,
jointly undertaken by the Nadhlatul Ulama and LibForAll Foundation,
seeks to develop a broad center-left to center-right coalition
in North America and Europe that will unite the 'humanitarian
left' and 'national security-oriented right' in forging the
societal consensus required to marginalize and discredit both
Islamist extremism and its mirror phenomenon in the West..."
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
by Muhammad Abul Fadl
“The vital role of the Nahdlatul Ulama stems from its success as a mediator between the Indonesian government and its people. The NU can maintain a harmonious relationship between the government and the people due to its spiritual values, political engagement and mass following, which combine a profound understanding of Islam with respect for the inherent variety of Indonesia’s countless local cultures. That is why the Nahdlatul Ulama has consistently nurtured the values of Islam Nusantara (East Indies Islam) for over a century, and is now poised to export its collective wisdom and experience throughout the world, for the benefit of humanity."
is Alien to Islam”
by Alaa Amer
"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
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
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"
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." It remains as relevant today as when it was published ten years ago.
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."
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.”
Last King of Java"
Bret Stephens, writing in the Wall Street
Journal, calls LibForAll co-founder Abdurrahman Wahid
most influential religious
leader in the Muslim world" and "easily the
most important ally the West has in the ideological struggle
against Islamic radicalism."
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.
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...."
Diplomacy for Dummies"
"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.' "
Obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian Peace"
Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid and Abdul A'la
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.
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."
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."
Violent Radicalization and Terrorism: The Case of Indonesia"
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
"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
"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,
Haji Mustofa Bisri, addressed the audience on the topic
of "Islam and terrorism." You can watch a video
of the seminar here.
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
figures who can act as counterforces to terrorism."
"E. Java to promote Gus Dur’s grave as tourist attraction"
by Indra Harsaputra
"Tapping into Indonesians’ penchant for spiritual enlightenment, the East Java administration said on Wednesday that it planned to promote the grave of Indonesia’s former president and prominent cleric of the largest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Abdurrahman 'Gus Dur' Wahid, in Jombang, as a magnet for both domestic and foreign travelers. 'Between January and May 2012, the number of people visiting Gus Dur’s grave reached 2.75 million. It means that around 550,000 people visit the grave each month, or 18,333 people per day,' [East Java Tourism Agency chief Jariyanto] said."
This makes President Wahid's grave one of the ten most visited pilgrimage sites in the world.
Two of the many popular tributes to President Wahid, which emerged spontaneously in the years following his death in 2009: Gus Dur: Champion of the People and Gitu Saja: Koq Repot (That's Just How Things Are: No Problem).
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."
the West that Benefits Most from Stigmatizing Wahhabism"
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:
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
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].”
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."
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
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,
book and the Heritage event should be considered a roaring
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?"
feeble counterterrorism efforts lambasted"
by Jennifer Rubin
[AILC's] response [to the Obama administration's National
Strategy on Counterterrorism] is worth reading in full."
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
"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
Indonesia Debates Islam's Role, U.S. Stays Out"
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.' "
Indonesia, Songs Against Terrorism"
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"
"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
"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'
"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
Jihad Against Violence"
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."
Islam, Your Islam, Our Islam, Their Islam"
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.
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
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
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."
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."
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."
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."
Business Journal Awards of Excellence"
LibForAll Vice President,
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 Anti-Islamist Texts
the Free World Needs to Use"
by Ryan Mauro
"The Illusion of an Islamic State is more of a policy paper than a book. It is the end product of a study where 27 academics traveled across Indonesia and interviewed nearly 600 extremists in order to define the motivations, strategies and weaknesses of Islamists. The authors' stated goal is to confront the Muslim Brotherhood, Wahhabism and Hizb ut-Tahrir and turn Indonesia into an ideological launching pad against them.... The book is young, only published in Indonesia in May 2009, but has had a tremendous impact. The project was funded by a single American donor and a Swedish government grant. The Gulf governments, on the other hand, spend billions promoting Islamism. The success of The Illusion of an Islamic State is frustrating in a way. If a relatively small expense could do so much good, then what would happen if real money and support was put behind it?""
"Theological Approach is Inevitable in Discussion about Islam and Europe"
" 'Indonesia’s experience proves that moderate values which are voiced by moderate Muslim leaders, including academicians and NGOs, in Indonesia greatly contribute to the counter-radicalism in Indonesia,' [Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia H.E. Arif Havas Oegroseno] explained, at the same time showing a book titled 'The Illusion of an Islamic State' published by the Wahid Institute, LibForAll Foundation and Maarif Institute. The book was a result of research conducted by leading think-tanks in Indonesia and abroad which promote academic and theological aspects. Ambassador Oegroseno further explained that Indonesia's ability to overcome the political and economic crisis in a relatively short time, and with Indonesia’s stature today, have proven that Islam is compatible with modernization, democracy and human rights."
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."
Spiritual Leader of Millions
of Indonesian Muslims:
'Radicalism Flourishes Under Democracy'"
by Michel Maas
[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
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."
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."
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.' "
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).' "
University Starts Study for Imams"
by Anna Reimann
"[O]ne of the most influential liberal Islamic scholars
Mustofa Bisri of Indonesia, who represents the world's
biggest Islamic association."
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."
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."
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."
Enemy Within: Islamic Extremists And Their Dreams of a New
"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."
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
claims Islamic party is spreading radical, extremist ideology
"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.' ”
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
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
Foundation Promotes Tolerance in Indonesia, Other Muslim
"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
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."
Tradition of Tolerance in Indonesia
Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid
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."
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."
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
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"
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."
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
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."
Lama Defends Islam
at Anti-terror Religious Meeting"
"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"
"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."
Battling Extremism in Indonesia"
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.”