Politically minded Muslims are urged not to keep regretting the fact that the state does not have an explicitly Islamic basis.
During the constitutional debates in 1945, "seven words" were briefly incorporated into the constitution, but then quickly removed from the draft. These seven words later became known as the Jakarta Charter, and their "illegal" removal became a sore issue for certain politicised Muslims, those we might call formalists, until this day. They were an add-on to the first principle of the national ideology Pancasila, the one that declares belief in "the One Supreme God" and the whole principle, with the seven words, reads as follows:
[The Indonesian state is based on] Belief in the one supreme God with the obligation to live according to Islamic law for Muslims.
After being furiously debated for a number of years under president Sukarno, the Jakarta Charter question was forcibly removed from the domain of public discussion under Suharto. Since the fall of Suharto however, and the consequent freeing up of political life in the country that ensued, the issue has made a return to the political stage, even until 2006.
Yesterday, Slamet Effendi Yusuf, a senior Golkar leader, said in a seminar called "the Problem of Islam within an Indonesian Context" (Masalah Keislaman dalam Konteks Ke-Indonesiaan) that Muslims, in particular, should not regret the omission of the famous seven words from the 1945 constitution.
The Jakarta Charter is in the past, if the Islamic community keeps fighting over it and opposing it to Pancasila then all it does is damage the Muslim community itself.
(Piagam Jakarta itu masa lampau, jika umat terus bertarung antara Piagam Jakarta dengan Pancasila itu justru merugikan umat sendiri.)
Pancasila, he went on, by itself and without the seven words, gives ample room for Muslims to live according to sharia law. He also added that sharia should be not thought of merely in terms of punishing gamblers and such like things but also, for example, as requiring high standards in education.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Din Syamsuddin, in his role as a leader of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), said that Islam was not in conflict with Pancasila, and that the latter should be the basis of the state forever.
The Muslim community feels that it has a big stake in the form of the state and also feels that it has a responsibility to uphold it.
(Umat Islam merasa memiliki saham yang besar dalam pembentukan negara dan juga merasa mempunyai tanggungjawab untuk mempertahankannya.)
he said in Jakarta yesterday. The clerics of the MUI had agreed, he added, that the unitary Indonesian state under Pancasila was final.