IL News 012/2021
The Leimena Institute confirms and supports the statement of four Indonesian national figures—Prof. Dr. Ahmad Syafii Maarif (Member of Steering Committee of the Indonesia’s Pancasila Ideology Development Agency), Prof. Dr. Abdul Munir Mulkhan (Professor Emeritus of University of Muhammadiyah Surakarta), Prof. Dr. M. Amin Abdullah (Professor of State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga), and Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra (Professor of State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah) that categorically rejects a publication containing an allegation against the Leimena Institute that could potentially incite intergroup conflicts, that originated from Bayt ar-Rahmah and was disseminated by LibForAll Foundation, both of which are United States based NGOs, founded and led by C. Holland Taylor.
The Leimena Institute is an independent organization that is always committed to national unity, upholding human rights, democratization, peace, and humanity based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. The rejection of the four national figures against the false publication by Bayt ar-Rahmah that was disseminated by LibForAll Foundation has also been published by a number of national mass media, including CNNIndonesia.com, Tribunnews.com, Beritasatu.com, Inews.id, Viva.co.id, and RMOL.id.
The following is the full Press Release that the Leimena Institute received from Dr. Maruarar Siahaan, S.H., attorney to the four national figures.
4 Indonesian National Figures Categorically Reject to be Linked to an Intergroup-Conflict
Provoking Publication by Foreign NGOs, LibForAll & Bayt ar-Rahmah
Jakarta, November 29, 2021 – Four Indonesian national figures, namely Prof. Dr. Ahmad Syafii Maarif (Member of the Steering Committee of the Pancasila Ideology Development Agency, Republic of Indonesia), Prof. Dr. Abdul Munir Mulkhan (Professor Emeritus of the University of Muhammadiyah Surakarta), Prof. Dr. M. Amin Abdullah (Professor of State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga), and Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra (Professor of State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah) categorically reject to be linked to a publication implying an allegation that could potentially incite intergroup conflicts, that is posted on the Bayt ar-Rahmah’s website and disseminated by the LibForAll Foundation, both of which are United States based NGOs, founded and led by C. Holland Taylor who reportedly lives in Indonesia.
“We express our shock and disbelief when we read the article distributed by LibForAll and posted on the Bayt ar-Rahmah website,” said a joint press release with the four national figures sent by the law office of Maruarar Siahaan & Partners, Monday (11/29/2021).
The publication entitled “POLITICAL COMMUNIQUÉ: 2021_10_28_Nahdlatul Ulama Circular Letter: Executive Summary” was distributed widely by LibForAll Foundation’s email and posted on Bayt ar-Rahmah’s website with the link: https://baytarrahmah.org/2021_10_28_nahdlatul-ulama-circular-letter-executive-summary/. In the article there is an allegation that states “… a circular letter distributed to those who govern Nahdlatul Ulama, in response to efforts by the Leimena Institute, a Jakarta-based NGO and its foreign backers — the U.S.-based Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) and American Jewish Committee (AJC) — to harness Nahdlatul Ulama and Indonesia’s powerful Ministry of Religious Affairs in service of a potentially disruptive agenda dictated by foreign actors, who seek to reshape Indonesia’s complex socio-cultural, religious and political landscape”.
The four national figures through their Attorney, Dr. Maruarar Siahaan SH, has sent a letter of refusal to LibForAll Foundation in the United States, addressed to its CEO and Chairman, C. Holland Taylor, on November 19, 2021.
There are 3 serious issues that are in the spotlight.
First, the allegation in the article that was distributed by LibForAll was not in the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Circular Letter dated September 20, 2021, which was quoted and essentially was only a coordination, so that any collaboration with the Leimena Institute, the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) to be consulted with and to receive direct approval from the NU Central Board.
This was clarified in the NU Central Board’s reply letter dated November 22, 2021, number 4268/B.III.02/11/2021, to AJC regarding the NU Circular Letter, in which the NU Central Board does not at all accuse of any problems on the part of AJC, IGE, and the Leimena Institute. In fact, the NU Central Board “always encourages cooperation with any party as long as it is committed to upholding human rights, democratization, peace, and humanity,” which is in line with what the Leimena Institute does.
Second, while the source is unclear, the Bayt ar-Rahmah/LibForAll article also does not provide any evidence to support its allegation.
“Based on our first-hand experience interacting with Leimena Institute, we have found no facts whatsoever to support such statement, and in fact, we have a great respect for the organization, with its mission and activities, which are totally the opposite of the statement in the article and therefore, we found the statement in the article confounding, improper and outrageous as it contains a baseless allegation,” they said.
Third, even though all four of them were listed in LibForAll’s Board of Advisors, the plan to distribute the article was never communicated in advance by LibForAll’s CEO C. Holland Taylor. In fact, they have not been consulted for any advice with regards to LibForAll’s policies or activities for years.
“We are not responsible for legal or any other consequences that may arise, if the statement is deemed to contain any violation of any applicable law in force in Indonesia and/or elsewhere,” said the four figures.
Furthermore, they expressly state that they do not want to be associated in any way, shape, or form with LibForAll or any other organizations that C. Holland Taylor leads or founded, in any position, and strongly demand the removal of their names from all of LibForAll’s publications, including its website.
The step of these four national figures to openly distance themselves from C. Holland Taylor and all his foreign organizations is very important not for personal interests, but for the national interest. It became more urgent after the issuance of NU Central Board’s reply letter to AJC on November 22, 2021 which explicitly stated that “Nahdlatul Ulama’s Central Board as an institution has never given a mandate to Mr. C. Holland Taylor,” the main figure behind the two US NGOs, LibForAll (libforall.org) and Bayt ar-Rahmah (baytarrahmah.org).
The actions taken by the four national figures and the biggest Islamic organization, NU, should serve as a warning to all Indonesians not to be easily provoked by incitements and always protect national unity, including from foreign organizations such as LibForAll and Bayt ar-Rahmah that are spreading baseless allegations that could provoke intergroup conflicts.
Dr. Maruarar Siahaan S.H.
The Law Office of MARUARAR SIAHAAN & PARTNERS