An Achilles Heel for Saudi Wahhabis?

by Mark Woodward* On September first the British on-line paper The Independent reported on alleged plans by the Saudi Arabian government to demolish the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb and move his body to an unmarked grave. The Prophet’s tomb is located in the mosque he built in Madinah in the seventh century and is the second most important Muslim holy site. Millions of pilgrims visit every year.   The Independent’s story was based on a 61 page […] Read more »

Eulogy for Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur)

by Mark Woodward Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) died yesterday. He was 69 years old. His passing was sudden, but not altogether unexpected because his health had been fragile for many years. He will be buried tomorrow in Jombang in East Java at Pesantren Tebuireng, the Islamic school founded by his grandfather. Tens of millions mourn his passing and join together in prayer, that as one friend put it “all of his sins […] Read more »

Islam, Pluralism and Democracy

by Mark Woodward It is now common in both academic and policy circles to ask the question “Where are the liberal Muslims?” Abrurrahman Wahid, former president of Indonesia, leads the world’s largest Muslim organization and advocates for human rights, democracy and religious pluralism. In 1990 he wrote a paper, translated here by Mark Woodward, which was strongly critical of the Suharto regime. When that regime collapsed in 1997, Wahid worked to ensure that the political […] Read more »