This project represents a unique opportunity to promote religious liberty in Indonesia—the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and democracy—using deep-rooted local power structures controlled by highly principled actors who have the theological legitimacy, cultural influence and mass following required to produce significant and lasting results. The interdisciplinary nature of this project will leverage established relationships with a wide range of opinion leaders and create “interlocking fields of fire,” whereby the two project components strengthen and support each other. Specifically, LibForAll will: a) mobilize the world’s largest Muslim organization—the Nahdlatul Ulama, with approximately 50 million followers and 14,000 madrasahs—to defend religious freedom in Indonesia, and to project sustained, long-term influence to other key regions of the Muslim world and the West, including neighboring states such as Malaysia; b) systematically propagate use of “the law of compassion” to reinterpret Islamic law and thereby liberate religious norms from the “burden of history,” including antagonism towards those who embrace a different faith; and c) leverage the enormous success of a prior LibForAll project, “The Illusion of an Islamic State,” to build a network of opinion leaders in the fields of religion, education, pop culture, government, business and the mass media, and through this network establish a grassroots movement to revitalize the cultural and political institutions responsible for Indonesia’s traditions of religious liberty. Project outputs (publications, websites, music, meetings and media events) are designed to re-enliven the view that true religion is a source of universal love and compassion, so that this narrative may once again become the dominant understanding of Islam within Indonesia—embraced by the nation’s religious, cultural and political leadership, and an integral part of the worldview held by society at large.
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