Warriors of Love

LibForAll Foundation and Dawn Elder Management have joined forces with a global team of Muslim and non-Muslim musical celebrities, to promote the traditionally pluralistic and tolerant values of Islam. This musical campaign has been endorsed by key Muslim theologians, who are joining with pop culture celebrities and other like-minded leaders in the fields of religion, education, entertainment, government, business and media to encourage people of good will of every faith and nation to unite as “warriors of love,” and to reject all forms of religious hatred and violence.

This project was jointly conceived by legendary Indonesian rock star and LibForAll Foundation board member Ahmad Dhani, and LibForAll co-founder and CEO, C. Holland Taylor.  Dhani’s best-selling single and album Laskar Cinta (“Warriors of Love”) promote the values of spiritual love, freedom and tolerance, using lyrics inspired by verses from the Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.  Warriors of Love became the #1 song in Indonesia upon its release in December of 2005, while its music video soared to #1 on MTV Asia’s hit program Ampuh in March of 2006.

We anticipate that Dawn Elder will lead a team of acclaimed, multi-Grammy-Award-winning producers with extensive cross-cultural experience, to expand the scope and impact of this LibForAll project to reach a truly global audience.

Major activities include working with top international artists from many regions of the world, to record Warriors of Love in the languages of every significant cultural/linguistic/commercial music market in the Islamic world, including Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Swahili, Mandingue, Hausa, French, Spanish, Russian, and English; producing and broadcasting music videos of the same; and orchestrating a Live Aid/We Are the World-style musical celebration of Islam as a religion of divine love and tolerance, in which top European, American and Latin entertainment celebrities will join the international artists described above to record Warriors of Love in English, and perform live in concert.

 

 

Ahmad Dhani/Dewa performing the song Warriors of Love at SCTV studio (left) in Jakarta, Indonesia. This one-hour television special was broadcast throughout the nation with the world's largest Muslim population and democracy on Eid al-Fitr (October 23, 2006), the day on which the fasting month of Ramadan ended.

Dewa typically perform 3-4 times a month on nationwide television concert broadcasts.

Radical Islamist groups viciously attacked rock superstar Ahmad Dhani and his band Dewa for their best-selling album Laskar Cinta ("Warriors of Love"). It infuriated the radicals to see their indoctrination of young Muslims into the culture of jihad threatened by Dhani’s work.  Tens of millions of Indonesians watch Dewa’s concerts on TV, and eagerly listen to their music throughout the vast archipelago. Dewa's best-selling album Laskar Cinta presented Indonesia's youth with a stark choice, and one easy for the vast majority to answer: Do they want to join the army of jihad, or the army of love?

In response, the radicals accused Dhani -- who is a devout Sufi, or mystically inclined Muslim -- of being an infidel, an apostate (code words inciting violence) and a Zionist agent. They hauled him into court on charges of defaming Islam and sought to ban his use of rock music to promote a spiritual and progressive interpretation of Islam that threatens the appeal of their own Wahhabi-inspired extremism.  Fortunately, with the help of LibForAll board members Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid and Abdul Munir Mulkhan, the radicals' attempt to portray Dhani as a heretic backfired in the eyes of the Indonesian public.

Recording giant EMI Records released Dewa's eighth album, Republik Cinta ("Republic of Love") to blanket media coverage in Indonesia in January of 2006.  Laskar Cinta ("Warriors of Love") is the album's lead song.

As implied by its title, Republic of Love promotes the development of civil liberty and democracy, both through the album's popular music and the accompanying media campaign/artist interviews, which promote a peaceful alternative to the ideologies of hatred that underlie and animate terrorism.

 

 

The album's launch was accompanied by well over 100 separate print and television interviews. Here the group performs in a live nationwide concert broadcast during prime time on RCTI television network, Friday evening, January 6, 2006.  The "musical fatwa" was broadcast on five separate TV concerts in January alone, and has been heard by a majority of Indonesia's 220 million inhabitants.

 

 

Disciples of Shaykh Hisham Muhammad Kabbani of the Naqshbandi Sufi order with Ahmad Dhani (left) at Dewa's studio in Jakarta. These and other Sufis attended the RCTI concert (above and below) to express their support for Dewa's "musical fatwa" against religious hatred and terrorism, and to perform the Mevlevi Sufi order's "whirling" dance on national TV, during the "musical fatwa's" launch. 

Prior to becoming Shaykh Kabbani's disciples, they belonged to the fundamentalist Jamaah Tabligh organization.

Islamic fundamentalism is a well-financed, multifaceted global movement that operates like a juggernaut in much of the developing world, and even among immigrant Muslim communities in the West promoting a harsh, intolerant and "uniform" interpretation of Islam.

Dewa works to neutralize this virulent ideology by promoting a pluralistic and tolerant understanding of Islam that embraces other cultures. The live television launch of Dewa's "musical fatwa" offered Indonesian viewers their first glimpse of a Sufi "whirling dervish" (red cap, center), whose mystical traditions originate in Persia and Turkey.

 

 

 

The members of Dewa perform their "musical fatwa" for an audience of millions on the popular Indonesian television program "Silet."

 

In December of 2006, the album won two AMI (Anugerah Musik Indonesia) awards Indonesia's equivalent to the Grammy for best rock album and best rock song.  Dewa's lead singer, Once (right, with LibForAll CEO Holland Taylor), won additional AMI awards for best male vocalist and best song.

 

Holland Taylor (left), with Dewa vocalists Once (center) and Ahmad Dhani (right), setting English lyrics to the music of Laskar Cinta ("Warriors of Love").  Once is a devout Christian and Dhani a Sufi Muslim.  Both are comfortable performing music derived from their own or others' religious traditions.

 

 

 

 

Ahmad Dhani in his studio recording the lyrics to Dewa's new song, "Warriors of Love," for an English-language album to be released and distributed internationally by EMI Records.

 

LibForAll CEO Holland Taylor with Kyai Haji Muhammad Yusuf Chudlori ("Gus Yusuf"), who heads the renowned Islamic boarding school Pondok Pesantren Asrama Perguruan Islam in Tegalrejo, Central Java. Scion of a leading family of Nahdlatul Ulama religious scholars, Gus Yusuf is a widely-respected "Great Kyai," or Islamic leader, in his own right.

Taylor and Gus Yusuf are discussing plans to spotlight and counter radical Islamist (Wahhabi) inroads into Indonesia, in conjunction with LibForAll's, Abdurrahman Wahid's and Ahmad Dhani's efforts in this regard. A concerted media campaign will involve elements of popular culture, Islamic scholarship and the mobilization of Javanese villagers (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) to convey a message of religious tolerance and harmony to urban inhabitants, who are more vulnerable to extremist propaganda.

The support of religious figures such as Abdurrahman Wahid, Luqman Hakim and Yusuf Chudlori is critical to defend Ahmad Dhani in his efforts to marginalize religious extremism and discredit the use of terrorism as anti-Islamic and, indeed, "inspired by Satan."

In the words of Gus Yusuf, "ambitious men who are betting on the triumph of radical Islam to assure their success have misread Indonesian Islam."

 

 

Warriors of Love

Music by Ahmad Dhani

Lyrics by Ahmad Dhani & C. Holland Taylor


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Hey there, all you lovers of peace

Watch out, watch out and be on guard

For lost souls, anger twisting their hearts

For lost souls, poisoned by ignorance and hate

 

There’s no doubt, evil dwells in the hearts

Of all those, of all those who are full of hate

There’s no doubt, evil dwells in the souls

Of all those, of all those full of prejudice

 

REFF

Warriors of love

Spread the seeds of love throughout the earth

Go and destroy the virus of hatred

That makes people’s hearts sick and depraved

By corrupting their souls

Warriors of Love

Teach the mystical science of love

For only love is the eternal Truth

And the shining path for all God’s children everywhere in the world

 

If hatred has already poisoned you

Against those … who worship differently

Then evil has already gripped your soul

Then evil’s got you in its damning embrace

 

If so, don’t bother to hope or dream

that I…that I’ll ever love or embrace

People full of hate and anger like you

People… who’re always full of lust… for others’ blood

 

REFF

 

Hey there, all you lovers of peace, don’t ever don’t ever don’t ever don’t

Try to play God, by judging and condemning anyone different from you

For God has not given you the right to be mankind’s judge and jury

Nor the power to know the ultimate Truth, or to tell others what they must do

 

Weren’t all of us created as either men or women, on this earthly plane

Destined to become many tribes and lands, no two of them exactly the same?

Why don’t we understand and respect all of our brothers’ and sisters’ pain,

Rather than turn into murderous demons, with our bloody arms raised to the sky?

 

Photographs courtesy of

Iwan S. B. Wibowo, of Dewa Management.

 

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