C. Holland Taylor doesn't look like a man radical Muslims should fear. He is trim, unassuming, and speaks with a faint southern accent. His stylish blond haircut and trim suit give him the appearance of a fortysomething European businessman. He possesses no arsenal of weapons, holds no government post, and operates no intelligence service. Yet he runs the world's most potent and innovative anti-extremist network and may hold a key to defusing the ticking bomb of Islamic terrorism.
Taylor, a multilingual former telecom magnate who has spent substantial time in Muslim countries since his youth, has a deep interest and expertise in Islamic theology, history, and culture. Over the last quarter century, he has observed the encroachment of radical Islam on previously diverse and relatively tolerant Muslim countries. He cofounded with the late Abdurrahman Wahid (the moderate president of Indonesia) a private foundation, LibForAll, which aims to increase and magnify moderate Muslim voices in combating Islamic extremism. "Ideology is more dangerous than bombs," Taylor explains. LibForAll works to "identify, mobilize and encourage moderate Muslim leaders who generate a counter-narrative" to jihadism in theology, mass media, pop culture, and government.