“Truth, which is not organized, can be readily defeated by evil that is,” said LibForAll co-founder and former Indonesian President H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid, in explaining the need for organized efforts to expose and counter extremist ideology and movements not only in Indonesia, but worldwide.
On April 2, 2009, on the eve of the Indonesian national legislative elections, influential Muslim leaders who form the backbone of LibForAll Foundation announced the publication of the Indonesian-language book Ilusi Negara Islam (The Illusion of an Islamic State: The Expansion of Transnational Islamist Movements in Indonesia).
President Abdurrahman Wahid edited The Illusion of an Islamic State, which includes contributions from LibForAll advisors Kyai Haji Mustofa Bisri, renowned leader of the 50-million-member Nahdlatul Ulama, and Dr. Syafii Maarif, immediate past chairman of the 30-million-member Muhammadiyah and a 2008 recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. These prominent Muslim leaders announced the book to the Indonesian elite and the international media on April 2, 2009, and officially introduced it to the Indonesian public at a high-profile event (see below) on May 16th in Jakarta.
The exposé ignited a nationwide firestorm of controversy following its official launch, and remained a major news story for many weeks. As one indicator of the massive press coverage, Indonesia’s largest internet news site—with 10.5 million visitors a day—carried six separate stories about The Illusion of an Islamic State and the intense public debate surrounding it.
The Illusion of an Islamic State also went viral on the Internet, with over 600,000 copies downloaded in less than a month. Scores of websites, including the main sites of the 50-million-member Nahdlatul Ulama and its 10-million-member youth movement, GP Ansor, posted electronic copies of the book online, while a Google search specifically targeting the book’s title, “Ilusi Negara Islam,” went from virtually zero to over 550,000 results within two weeks.
Editor: H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid
Prologue: Prof. Dr. A. Syafii Maarif
Epilogue: Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri
Executive Director of The Wahid Institute, Ahmad Suaedy (at podium), welcomed guests to the event. Guests included former commander of the Indonesian armed forces, General Wiranto (seated in audience/pictured on screen), who was in the midst of running for Vice President in Indonesia’s national elections.
Kyai Haji Mustofa Bisri autographs copies of The Illusion of an Islamic State with the former first lady of Indonesia, Ibu Sinta Nuriyah
Former Muhammadiyah Chairman Dr. A. Syafii Maarif signs copies of The Illusion of an Islamic State, which was co-published by the Maarif Institute
About The Wahid Institute
The Wahid Institute strives for a just and peaceful world by espousing a moderate and tolerant view of Islam and working towards welfare for all. The Wahid Institute seeks to expand the vision and intellectual principles of H.E. Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), former President of Indonesia and world-renowned religious statesman, for the development of moderate Islamic thought to promote democratic reform, religious pluralism, multiculturalism and tolerance amongst Muslims both in Indonesia and around the world.
About the Maarif Institute
The Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity was founded by Professor Ahmad Syafii Maarif, former Chairman of the Muhammadiyah, the world’s second-largest Muslim organization, and 2008 recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award (often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize). The Institute is committed to promoting the values of Islam, humanity, and keindonesiaan (Indonesianness), which have been the most important concerns of Dr. Maarif, throughout his intellectual and activist life. The Maarif Institute is an inseparable part of the reform movement of Islamic thought in Indonesia, and addresses the growing complexity of humanity’s problems that requires a new understanding of Islamic teachings on issues such as democracy, human rights, pluralism, gender, interfaith and civilizational dialogue.