Although nearly 90% of Indonesian population is Muslim, Islam and Islamic issues have not become central subjects of interest permeating Indonesian politics. In the past, Islam in Indonesia has usually been portrayed as moderate, pluralist and tolerant in contrasts to parts of the Middle East . Indonesia has never adopted Islam as its official ideology and significant minorities of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists have freely practiced their religion, sheltered under the national ideology of Panca Sila. Since President Suharto's rule, this nationalist vision of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious society bound together by citizenship has remained at the core of national ideology . Yet, in the wake of Al Qaeda attacks on New York in 2001, and following the Bali Bombing attacks in 2002, foreign observers quickly focused on the rise of radical Islam or fundamentalism and started describing Indonesian Muslims as being increasingly pious and violent . Islam amongst political parties in Indonesia, though, seems to remain more characterized by its diversity and pragmatism than it used to be over the past decades.
[...] Effendy, Bahtiar, “Islam And The State: The Transformation Of Islamic Political Ideas And Practices In Indonesia”, (PhD dissertation, the Ohio State University). Fealy, Greg, “Islam In South East in Mark Beeson Contemporary South East Asia, (Palmgrave Macmillan), pp. 136-156. Hefner, Robert W., “Civil Islam: Muslims And Democratization In Indonesia”, (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2000). Kramer Martin, “Coming to terms: Fundamentalists or Islamists?”, Middle East Quarterly, (Spring 2003), pp. 65-77. Lanti Irman, Islamic extremism on the Rise in Indonesia”, Perspective, (Singapore: Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies). Cited at www.ntu.edu.sg.idss Porter, [...]
[...] This rise of Islamic militancy in Indonesia has been attributed to an array of international factors. As in other parts of the world, modern Islam went through major political and philosophical developments but it was not until the 1980s that it became powerfully militant[xxiv]. The Khomenist revolution in Iran provided an inspiration to many radicals and served as an example that an Islamic state could be established using violent means[xxv].During the conflict against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, many militant Islamists came together to defend believers invaded by an atheist force. [...]
[...] But, given that public perception of the political and religious life in Indonesia has been fed by the recent media coverage, it has generally been misled by a strikingly loose acceptation of terms such as “Islamic fundamentalism”, “Islamic integrism”, “radical Islam”, “Islamic extremism” or “Islamic militancy” that the press has tended to use indistinctively to describe trends as opposed as a revivalism of religious beliefs, an upsurge of violent activism or a multiplication of religious political parties. Consequently, many myths and mistaken assumptions have emerged about Islam in Indonesia and have contributed to cloud any attempts at making a nuanced analysis of the current situation[vii]. [...]
[...] But in matters of security that are fully concerned by the rise of militant Islam, recent trends do have deeply affected politics in the country. And against the new threat, Indonesia has been relatively successful in tracking down terrorists, especially after the Bali bombings when it received crucial technological assistance from foreign countries[xxxvii]. Obviously, Indonesia's achievements cannot be judged by the standards of countries where police has highly sophisticated technology at its disposal. But even thanks to its own resources, Indonesia has captured around 200 people involved in diver's terrorist attacks. [...]
[...] Therefore, fundamentalism in a Muslim context has been used pejoratively to design those regarded as static and retrogressive, advocating a return to the origins of their faith. On the other hand, “Islamism” is a new term which permits one to more dispassionately make distinction between extremist and mainstream Islam, and to appreciate the moderation of the Islamic revival's mainstream that the term “fundamentalism” fails to recognise. Quoted in Kramer Martin, “Coming to terms: Fundamentalists or Islamists?”. Martin Kramer, “Coming to terms: Fundamentalists or Islamists?” [xii] Jones Sidney, “Terrorism and Radical Islam in Indonesia”. [...]
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