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WIESENTHAL CENTER MOURNS DEATH OF FORMER INDONESIAN PRESIDENT WAHID, A COURAGEOUS VOICE FOR INTERFAITH TOLERANCE

December 30, 2009

WIESENTHAL CENTER MOURNS DEATH OF FORMER INDONESIAN PRESIDENT WAHID, A COURAGEOUS VOICE FOR INTERFAITH TOLERANCE

Center says, “We have lost a true friend and a warrior for peace and mutual respect”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center mourns the passing of Abdurrahman Wahid, the former President of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim countries, as one of the true shining lights of tolerance and mutual respect in the international community and among religious leaders.

“We have lost a true friend and a warrior for peace and mutual respect,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, who sought Wahid’s guidance in forging a coalition to publicly take on those who validate suicide terror in the name of G-d.

“As a devout Muslim with a following of tens of millions, Mr. Wahid was unafraid to condemn unambiguously terrorism in all its forms and publicly denounce the Holocaust denial of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” said Rabbi Cooper. He added that Wahid “did this despite threats by extremists and debilitating disease.” In 2008, the Center recognized his efforts by bestowing upon him its Medal of Valor at its National Tribute Dinner in Los Angeles.

“On behalf of the Center’s 400,000 constituent families, we extend our condolences to his widow and daughters,” concluded Cooper.

In June 2007, President Wahid served as chairman and keynote speaker of "Tolerance Between Religions: A Blessing for All Creation", a multifaith gathering convened in Bali, “to condemn the linkage between religion and violence and to condemn the justification by religious leaders of violence.” His Wahid Institute co-sponsored the conference, along with the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, and LibForAll Foundation.

President Wahid receives the Wiesenthal Center’s Medal of Valor. Los Angeles, May 6, 2008. (L-R): Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of  the Wiesenthal Center; President Wahid (sitting); C. Holland Taylor , President of the LibForAll Foundation; Rabbi Marvin Hier, SWC Founder and Dean.

President Wahid (seated middle) is shown with India's Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and Israel's Daniel Landes at "Tolerance Between Religions: A Blessing for All Creation," an multifaith conference cosponsored by  the Wahid Institute, the  Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, and the LibForAll Foundation. Bali, Indonesia, June 12, 2007


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.