Promoting Moderate Islam: An Interview with Holland Taylor Posted By Ruthie Blum Leibowitz
“Our goal is to marginalize, discredit and defeat the ideology of radical Islamism,” says C. Holland Taylor, the chairman and CEO of the LibForAll Foundation, “and to transform the understanding that Muslims have of their religious obligations.”
Taylor is a Christian-turned-Universalist — a South Carolinian expert in Islam residing in Indonesia — who left the cushy corporate world for more spiritual pastures. These involve “helping ensure the global triumph of a pluralistic and tolerant understanding of Islam, at peace with itself in the modern world.”
This, he argues, is the only way that the West and Muslims themselves will be able to eradicate the evil of those who have been politicizing and exploiting Islam for pernicious aims at global hegemony.
A close friend of Abdurrahman Wahid, the late president of Indonesia and leader of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Taylor believes that the West has been dropping the ball where confronting the Wahabbi-Muslim Brotherhood lobby is concerned. Rather than making a distinction between its false agenda and the true nature of Islam as a religion, Taylor claims, both the West and Muslims are being seduced into its orbit and lulled into submission.
Indeed, argues Taylor, radical Islam is a “danger to all of humanity.” And the only way to counter and conquer it is for Muslims and non-Muslims to join forces.
To this end, the LibForAll Foundation, established in 2003, is working to educate these forces in what Taylor asserts is the true pluralistic and spiritual nature of Islam versus the totalitarian ideology of the extremists. One project the foundation undertook was the publication — and translation into English — of The Illusion of an Islamic State, a book exposing the infiltration of Islamist extremists into Indonesia. The book was a sensation there and derailed the candidacy of the Muslim Brotherhood vice presidential contender in the 2009 elections. Another is the establishment of the International Institute of Qur’anic Studies — a global network of top Muslim scholars and leaders working to initiate a systematic reform of Qur’anic studies that “promotes freedom of thought, conscience, and religion in the Muslim world.”
BLUM: Is it not the task of Muslims to behave in such a way that others will have a “tolerant understanding” of Islam? Is it not the duty of their own religious leaders to “transform their understanding of their religious obligations,” to extricate themselves and the rest of us from the Wahabbi-Muslim Brotherhood ideology?
Taylor: During WWII, the United States and the United Kingdom were fighting against a national socialist ideology; during the Cold War, we were opposed to a totalitarian, Marxist-Leninist international ideology. Each was relatively easy to confront, because the Nazi ideology was tied to German racial supremacy, and the Communist ideology was tied to atheism and materialism.