C. Holland Taylor
C. Holland Taylor (above, with President Wahid of Indonesia) is co-founder, chairman and CEO of LibForAll Foundation, and the co-founder, deputy chairman and COO of its sister organization, Bayt ar-Rahmah li ad-Da‘wa al-Islamiyah Rahmatan li al-‘Alamin (Home of Divine Grace for Revealing and Nurturing Islam as a Blessing for All Creation). Mr. Taylor also serves as Emissary to the United Nations, Americas and Europe for Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, the 5-million-member young adults movement of the world’s largest Muslim organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).
LibForAll and Bayt ar-Rahmah are incorporated in Winston-Salem, NC, to which Mr. Taylor’s ancestors immigrated in search of religious freedom in the mid-18th century. The son of a U.S. military officer in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, Mr. Taylor was raised primarily in Europe and Asia, including Germany, Iran and South Korea. He is an expert on the Islamization of Java during the 15th and 16th centuries, and has lived, studied and worked in the Muslim world, from Iran to Indonesia, over a period of more than five decades. Mr. Taylor’s unique combination of experience in the fields of international business, strategy and the forging of cross-cultural relationships has enabled LibForAll to become “a model of what a competent public diplomacy effort in the Muslim world should look like” (Wall Street Journal), and his work was extensively cited in conjunction with the 2019 nomination of the Nahdlatul Ulama for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr. Taylor established LibForAll in 2003 with his close friend, former Indonesian president and NU Chairman H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid (1940 – 2009), whom the Wall Street Journal described as “the single most influential religious leader in the Muslim world” and “easily the most important ally the West has in the ideological struggle against Islamic radicalism.” Under their leadership, LibForAll quickly grew into the premier NGO developing and operationalizing successful counter-extremism strategies worldwide.
In 2014, Mr. Taylor joined KH. A. Mustofa Bisri (then Chairman of the NU Supreme Council) and KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf (General Secretary of the NU Supreme Council) in establishing Bayt ar-Rahmah. Both LibForAll and Bayt ar-Rahmah derive their inspiration from the heroic example of President Wahid’s 16th century Javanese ancestors, whose deft use of soft and hard power defeated Muslim extremists, and guaranteed freedom of religion for all Javanese, two centuries before the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom and the Bill of Rights led to the separation of state and religion in the U.S.
In March of 2017, Bayt ar-Rahmah and Gerakan Pemuda Ansor launched a global movement (“Humanitarian Islam”) that seeks to reform obsolete tenets of Islamic orthodoxy that enjoin religious hatred, supremacy and violence, by restoring rahmah (universal love and compassion) to its rightful place as the primary message of Islam. In his capacity as the COO of Bayt ar-Rahmah and GP Ansor’s Special Emissary, Mr. Taylor has drafted a number of historic documents with NU General Secretary KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, including: the ISOMIL Nahdlatul Ulama Declaration (2016); the First Global Unity Forum Declaration (2016); the Gerakan Pemuda Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam (2017); and, most recently, the Nusantara Statement and Nusantara Manifesto (2018), through which Bayt ar-Rahmah and Gerakan Pemuda Ansor have formally launched—in a systematic and institutional manner—the reform of obsolete and problematic tenets of Islamic orthodoxy.
Mr. Taylor is an acclaimed speaker whose writings have been published in major media outlets throughout the world, helping to educate policy makers and the general public about how to counter the ideology of religious hatred, supremacy and violence that underlies and animates Islamist terrorism. This work follows a career as a successful entrepreneur and global telecom executive, during which Mr. Taylor served as CEO of USA Global Link, and was credited by numerous leading publications as one of the essential catalysts in the deregulation of the global telecommunications industry. Educated at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and Princeton University, Mr. Taylor is fluent in English, Indonesian/Malay and German.