Co-Founder of the Liberal Islam Network (JIL), which promotes freedom of religious beliefs and faith, and a non-literal interpretation of the Koran, Ulil is an Islamic scholar and outspoken critic of Muslim fundamentalists. A fatwa, punishable by death, was placed on him by radical Indonesian clerics after a series of radio broadcasts he hosted that discussed such issues as the need to distinguish between Arab culture and Islam, the need for a separation of religion and government, and understanding the Prophet Mohammed in the context of the time and place in which he lived.
Abu Bakar Bashir
An Indonesian Muslim cleric, widely believed to be the spiritual leader of the terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah, which was responsible for the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005. Self-exiled in Malaysia during the latter part of General Suharto’s military dictatorship, he came back to Indonesia in 1998, when the new democratic freedoms allowed him to return, and re-establish his leadership.
The Bali Bombers
Exclusive jail cell interviews with terrorists Ali Imron, Amrozi, and Imam Samudra, convicted for their roles in the first Bali bombings, reveal the motives and methods they used to commit mass murder of more than 200 innocent civilians.
Along with his band, Dewa, this Indonesia pop star has been attacked by religious extremists for promoting a compassionate, pluralistic and deeply spiritual interpretation of Islam in their widely-popular music. Dhani is also a co-founder of the LibForAll Foundation, along with the legendary Abdurrahman Wahid (aka Gus Dur), the first democratically elected president of Indonesia. The LibForAll Foundation is devoted to reducing religious extremism and discrediting the use of terror by supporting moderate and progressive Muslims in their efforts to advance peaceful, tolerant and free societies, while preserving the positive values of indigenous cultural traditions throughout the Islamic world.
This acclaimed Indonesian singer and dancer is enormously popular for her dangdut performances – a Javanese musical style that combines traditional Indonesian, Arab, Indian, and Malaysian forms. Several of her concerts were canceled by Indonesian authorities bowing to pressure from conservative religious groups who protested against her performances, which feature her famous trademark gyrating hip motions in her dancing.
Noor Huda Ismail
As a journalist reporting on Islamic terrorism in Indonesia, Huda has unique insight and access to the terrorists themselves. In his teens, he was a student at the notorious Islamic boarding school known as Ngruki, alma mater of several members of the terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah, and was roommates with one of the Bali bombers convicted in the first terrorist attack of 2002. Huda was a special correspondent for the Washington Post's Jakarta bureau from 2003-2004, and a research analyst at the Institute of Defense & Security Studies of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2005. In addition, he is a British Chevening scholar on International Security Studies at St. Andrews University, UK, and is a leading authority on terrorism in Southeast Asia. More on Huda
South East Asia Project Director of the International Crisis Group, Ms. Jones is widely considered to know more about terrorism in Indonesia than anyone. Her expertise derives in part from the fact that during the Suharto dictatorship, which suppressed Islamic activists and radicals, she campaigned on behalf of Muslim political prisoners as a member of Amnesty International. In the process, she became acquainted with several people who were later associated with Abu Bakar Bashir and the terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah.
In February 2006 this wife and mother of two, who works as a waitress in Tangerang, was picked up by security officers while waiting after work for a bus to take her home. Under new regulations in this city of 1.5 million just outside the capital of Jakarta, she was arrested and convicted of prostitution for simply being out alone at night.
As Director of the Center for Pesantren (Islamic Boarding Schools) and Democracy Studies, Lily Munir is a leading educator and organizer for the teaching of Islam as a religion that is not only compatible with democracy, but in fact needs democracy to fully realize its true values and teachings. “If the way you practice the religion is oppressive to women, then it is not Islamic,” she explains. “Because equality of [all] individuals… is the basic teaching of Islam. It’s actually guaranteed by Islam.”
I Made Pastika
This former Chief of Police in Bali is a national hero to many Indonesians for leading the investigation that cracked the case of the first Bali bombing, in October of 2002, that killed more than 200 people. He was also Chief Investigator of the second Bali bombing in 2005, which led to the conviction of several perpetrators and the death of its terrorist mastermind, the notorious and long-sought Dr. Azhari Husin. Pastika is now a Police Commissioner General in Jakarta.
A prominent Indonesian politician, Mr. Rais was a key leader of the reform movement that forced the resignation of the dictator, President Suharto, in 1998. He was also the head of Muhammadiyah, one of the two largest Muslim organizations in Indonesia with more than 30 million members, from 1995-2000. In addition, he was the chairman of Indonesian People’s Consultative Assembly (Speaker of the Parliament) from 1999-2004.
The charismatic leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which he founded in 1998, Rizieq claims that 15 million young people are members of his organization. The main goal of Rizieq’s group is the enforcement of Sharia law for all Muslims throughout Indonesia, even though those laws are not part of the criminal code. The FPI is known for its violent assaults on establishments and groups that they deem un-Islamic, and justify their attacks by asserting that the government and police are not doing enough to defend their religion.
A member of the Indonesian Parliament from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Sundari has been at the forefront of the struggle for women’s rights in Indonesia and has worked with the Legislative committee to redraft a so-called “anti-pornography” bill that was particularly repressive to women. Among its regulations was a dress code for women and rules regarding public displays of affection, including a ban on outdoor kissing for more than three minutes.
Head of Muhammadiyah, the huge and mostly moderate Muslim organization in Indonesia with more than 30 million members, Din explains why his group does not forcefully challenge the radical Islamic groups, stating “…it is not the Indonesian way for problem solving.”
Director of the Wahid Institute and daughter of the first democratically elected President of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid, Ms. Wahid is a leading proponent and defender of Indonesia’s long tradition of tolerance, compassion, and pluralism in its practice of Islam. She explains the pressure many local politicians feel from Muslim radical groups to cooperate with their agendas, or face attacks for not being “a good Muslim.”