LibForAll Foundation Releases Expose on the Rise of Radical Islam
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Leading Muslim Scholars Provide Powerful Antidote for a Global Crisis JAKARTA, Indonesia, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- On the eve of national legislative elections in Indonesia, influential Muslim leaders who form the backbone of LibForAll Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to reduce religious extremism and discredit the use of terrorism, today announced the publication of "The Illusion of an Islamic State: the Expansion of Transnational Islamist Movements to Indonesia." Jointly published by the Wahid Institute, the Maarif Institute and the newly-formed Bhinneka Tunngal Ika ("Unity in Diversity") Movement, the expose calls upon Indonesians to reject extremist movements that seek to undermine and destroy not only the foundations of the Indonesian state, but also the very principles of Islam itself. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090402/NY92997LOGO ) As the world's third largest democracy and home to the world's largest Muslim population, Indonesia is engaged in an ideological struggle of global significance. The expose reveals how extremists manipulate the symbols and appeal of Islam to mislead the Indonesian public and advance their own political agenda, whose ultimate goal is to create an Islamic state, and/or International Caliphate. The authors recommend a series of critical measures that must be taken by Indonesia's private sector, civil society and government to stem this tide of radical Islam. The product of more than two years of research by LibForAll Foundation, the expose - edited by former Indonesian President H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid and augmented by contributions from former Muhammadiyah Chairman Dr. Ahmad Syafii Maarif and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) leader Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri - calls upon the Indonesian elite and public at large to defend their nation's traditions of religious pluralism and tolerance, and to prevent radicals from establishing a so-called "Islamic State." "This expose represents an historic milestone, with top Muslim leaders issuing a 'clarion call' to reject extremist ideology and defend a pluralistic and tolerant understanding of Islam, at peace with itself and the modern world," said LibForAll Foundation Chairman and CEO C. Holland Taylor. "Never before has there been anything published that details this level of infiltration, while the authoritative and systematic refutation of extremist ideology makes this expose uniquely significant and valuable not only to Indonesian society, but worldwide. Our hope is that it will inspire efforts to create a virtuous cycle of religious pluralism and tolerance, in place of the vicious cycle of radicalization that is so widespread today." A team of over 30 researchers from a network of Islamic universities and institutes conducted extensive field research for the expose, in 17 provinces and 24 districts throughout Indonesia's vast archipelago. In-depth and carefully structured interviews with 591 extremist figures, belonging to 58 different organizations, enabled the team of researchers to identify key unifying elements of the extremists' ideology and agenda, as well as their infiltration of mainstream institutions of Indonesian society. Augmenting this large-scale academic research, a separate team operating under the guidance of President Wahid consulted with top Indonesian leaders ranging from government ministers, political party heads, former military chiefs of staff, high-ranking Indonesian intelligence officials, central figures in the Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, and other key leaders in the fields of religion, education, culture, government, business and the mass media, in order to ascertain the nature and extent of extremist infiltration in their respective areas of expertise. "This expose demonstrates that the rapid spread of fundamentalist Islam in Indonesia is closely linked to the global Wahhabi/Muslim Brotherhood movement, and stems from the conjunction of a virulent ideology, backed by immense funding, and operating in a systematic manner to infiltrate key sectors of Indonesian society," said LibForAll Foundation CEO and Co-founder, C. Holland Taylor. "Truth, which is not organized, can be readily defeated by evil that is," said President Wahid, in explaining the need for organized efforts to expose and counter extremist ideology and movements not only in Indonesia, but worldwide. "Opportunistic politicians who work with extremist political parties and groups have joined the radicals in driving our nation towards a deep chasm," added President Wahid, in reference to a key finding. "They are jeopardizing the future of our multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, for the sake of private political ambitions." The expose also documents the controversy surrounding Muhammadiyah Central Board Decree Number 149/Kep/I.0/B/2006, which the world's second-largest Muslim organization issued in order to defend itself from systematic infiltration by extremist political parties such as the Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated (Justice and Prosperity Party) PKS. The expose further details radical infiltration of the 40-million-member NU, and warnings by the NU's Central Board that transnational extremist ideology has the potential to rip Indonesia apart and destroy the Muslim community's own practice of religion. According to former Muhammadiyah Chairman Dr. Ahmad Syafii Maarif, the goal of the expose is "to raise our awareness, and counter the spread of extremist ideology in a peaceful and responsible manner. LibForAll has published this book, not to create enemies, but to facilitate a positive, constructive dialogue, both among Muslims and between Muslims and those of other faiths." This work must be done from within the Muslim community, according to President Wahid, who said, "Muslims themselves must propagate a peaceful and tolerant understanding of Islam, and work to discredit extremist ideologies. Yet accomplishing this task requires the cooperation and support of like-minded individuals, organizations and governments throughout the world." Following its Indonesian launch in April 2009, "The Illusion of an Islamic State: the Expansion of Transnational Islamist Movements to Indonesia," will be published in English and Arabic and distributed globally under a joint program between LibForAll Foundation and the Swedish government. About LibForAll Foundation: Co-Founded by C. Holland Taylor and Indonesia's first democratically-elected President, His Excellency Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid, LibForAll Foundation is dedicated to creating and propagating models for a pluralistic and tolerant Islam, at peace with itself and the modern world. Through its pioneering strategy of developing a global counter-extremism network, LibForAll Foundation supports countries, regions and groups that are working to discredit the ideology of religious hatred that underlies and animates terrorism. LibForAll is now widely regarded as the leading NGO developing and operationalizing counter-extremism strategies worldwide. For more information about LibForAll Foundation, visit www.libforall.org. SOURCE LibForAll Foundation Jerry Schranz of Avalanche Strategic Communications for LibForAll Foundation, +1-201-488-0049, firstname.lastname@example.org
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