Hardline Islam

Jun 14th, 2007, in IM Posts, by

Competing views about the current strength of hardline Islam in the country.

On 9th June Ali Maschan Moesa, the head of the East Java branch of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), said that today there were a great number of hardline Islamic groups in East Java which sought to establish an Islamic state or caliphate. He said this was disappointing and re-iterated NU's committment to Pancasila as the national ideology.

Ali Maschan Moesa
Ali Maschan Moesa

He also said that NU mosques, particularly in villages and out of the way places, were increasingly being "attacked" by hardline groups, which sought to take them away from the NU, or subvert them. [1]

Meanwhile an opposing view came from Dr Farish Ahmad-Noor, visiting (from Berlin) professor at Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University in Yogyakarta. Farish told a conference titled "Jihad Revisited - Shifting Dynamics of Radical Movements in Indonesia Today", in Kuala Lumpur that Indonesian hardline Islam was in a "cooling down" phase, and was weak.

Farish Ahmad-Noor
Farish Ahmad-Noor

He said that since the disbanding of the paramilitary group Laskar Jihad the words and political manouverings of such figures as Jafar Umar Thalib and Abu Bakar Bashir rarely gained attention in the mass media.

Jafar Umar Thalib
Jafar Umar Thalib

Farish visited both men at their respective Islamic boarding schools and found Jafar Umar Thalib, in particular, to be a forlorn figure. Travelling to Jafar's school, the al-Sunna pesantren on the outskirts of Yogyakarta, Farish said that the old militant and firebrand is now a very bored person. He said: [2]

The former head of the now-disbanded Laskar Jihad was looking rather glum and down when I interviewed him recently.

In the late 90's Jafar was a man to be reckoned with:

Based at his pesantren in Jogja, Ja'far rallied his students and followers and created the notorious Laskar Jihad (Army of Jihad), a semi-underground movement of militant volunteers who were then despatched to the Moluccas to avenge the killing of Muslims by Christians.

Laskar Jihad
Laskar Jihad.

The arrival of Laskar Jihad in Maluku made the situation there much worse, he says, and after returning to Java the LJ focused its attention on the war on sin in the cities:

Laskar Jihad turned their attention to the cosmopolitan cities of Jakarta, Jogjakarta and Surakarta, where they became famous (or infamous) for their tough brand of moral policing: Attacking and destroying night-clubs, discos, cinemas, video stores, etc., all became their hallmark. In time their commando-like members, dressed in soldiers outfits, even raided hotels to demand that Western tourists leave the country.

But by 2005 the Laskar Jihad were a spent force:

The Laskar had become an embarrassment for the country and were told to disband in no uncertain terms. Local political observers argued that this pointed to intimate connections between the Laskar and the Indonesian security forces, something that Ja'far himself admitted in his press interviews three years ago. Having served their role as trouble-makers on the pay of the rich and powerful, they have had their strings cut and Ja'far Umar Thalib is now very much an isolated and discredited individual. Not even the other Indonesian radical groups like the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia or Front Pembela Islam would care to talk to him.

Now alone at his madrasah, Ja'far says:

I have returned to my original struggle, my original Jihad, which is education.

Farish concludes that the sad tale of Jafar proves that:

religious militancy in Indonesia remains an abberation, and not the norm.

On the campuses of the country Farish says that at, for example, Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University in Yogyakarta, militant preachers like Jafar are not successful in winning admirers. This is because students at Sunan Kalijaga study Islam in depth and are not easily swayed, while at secular universities there are many students who still support Jafar, he claimed. [3]


10 Comments on “Hardline Islam”

  1. avatar Abul says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Travelling to Jafar’s school, the al-Sunna pesantren on the outskirts of Yogyakarta, Farish said that the old militant and firebrand is now a very bored person.

    probably that’s because he’s having PMS.
    Nawhh.. I was just kidding, it’s really good if “the Indonesian hardline Islam is in a “cooling down” phase”, hope it dies out as time goes by.

  2. avatar Saipul says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 5:41 am

    Hopefully FPI will be outlawed and disbanded soon as well.

  3. avatar Sputjam says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 8:21 am

    The truth is, despite God’s messages in the koran forbidding idol worship, we see billions of Muslims praying towards a stone in mecca every day.
    Despite no messages in the koran telling mankind to worship God, how it should be done, and when etc, Muslims devote a substantial time to do this ritual.
    Despite koran’s messages saying freedom of faith, Muslim religionist kill those who abandon their faith, and those they consider apsotates.
    Despite the koran’s warnings against clerics, Muslims religionist take clerics as their leader.

    What more proof must I show that those who thinks they are Muslims, are in fact pagans of an invented Arab religion.

    Koran messages did not advocate religion. Religion are for pagans and idol worshippers.
    Koran messages highlighted a simple way of life. Some of the guidelines are stated, such as forbidden to kill another soul, treat your parents well etc.
    Keep to this guidelines of doing good deeds, and your thought of God will be magnified.
    Your life in the next is judged only by your deeds, if you beleieve in God.
    For those who disbeleieve in God, despite all the evidence shown in the heavens and the earth, God considers them arrogants.
    Serve God by doing good deeds. If you have problems, He is the knower, The wise.
    Seek help only from God alone. anyhwere, anytime.
    If you suffer from hardship, persevere, and seek help from God, in any language.

    And be warned. Some of the traditional translation of the koran was meant to mislead mankind into pagan worship. Study the newer translations. There are many out there on the internet, above censorship by the lord of paganism, the clerics, who are only protecting their turf when it comes to controlling the human mind.

    Live your life blissfully. Do not be enslaved by clerics and militants

  4. avatar Sylvester says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 11:54 am

    OK Sputjam,
    I see many similarities to Christianity.
    Wish more Moslems would get this englightment soon.

  5. avatar riccardo says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Good stuff, Sputjam do you mind if I put your post up on my site? Let me know. Thanks

  6. avatar Djoko says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    He said this was disappointing and re-iterated NU’s committment to Pancasila as the national ideology.

    Oh no, we wouldn’t want the NU with its long history of support for Pancasila to succumb to fundamentalists would we? Or perhaps they’re halfway there already?

    detiknews.

    I hate to tell people but if you do any reading and studies on the NU, particularly about their stance on any political issue you will find they are the biggest flip floppers known to man. Whichever way the wind is blowing you can have a sure bet that the NU is flowing right along with it.

  7. avatar Cukurungan says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Djoko:

    I hate to tell people but if you do any reading and studies on the NU, particularly about their stance on any political issue you will find they are the biggest flip floppers known to man. Whichever way the wind is blowing you can have a sure bet that the NU is flowing right along with it.

    Cukurungan:

    You’re almost right but not fully right, you should aware the reason behind their stance and who take the direction of their umat. Basic principal of their stance is to avoid collision against a big and hard power. Whichever.

  8. avatar Sputjam says:
    June 15th, 2007 at 9:06 am

    sylvester says :-

    OK Sputjam,
    I see many similarities to Christianity.
    Wish more Moslems would get this englightment soon.

    Jesus was a man who served his Creator.
    Jesus’s messages was similar, in that religion is irrelevant, and was sent to correct the corrupted messages of Moses, which became the basis of the Jewish religion. But in the end. Mankind invented Popes and priests.
    Christian have been turned into a religion that worshipped a man called Jesus.

    Why can’t we all serve God who created Jesus and Mohamed and everthing in the heavens and the earth? How? By doing good deeds, especially to your parents and relatives, the orphans etc. for those who do not read the Koran, the “ten commandments” can be the base on which to work on.

    To Riccardo -

    You can post my stuff and hopefully the message will make many think very carefully on whatever beleifs they have inherited.

  9. avatar Sylvester says:
    June 15th, 2007 at 9:13 am

    I see Sputjam,
    You may also know that for Christian, Jesus not only just a man but the Son of God. Son here does not mean biological son, but a word to represent that Jesus comes from God as it is written in both Bible and Koran (Maryam).
    However, I respect your opinion because the relation with God is something private and only God can judge who is right or wrong. Cheers.

  10. avatar Raden says:
    June 17th, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    We should sent Jafar Umar Thalib & his Laskar militant fans out to save their brothers in Palestine war, the war between Muslim brothers who like war & shed blood among themselves. We can watch the TV on how good is Indonesian made militants compare to their brothers of Fatah & Hamas, see how good they are? I want to know.



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