Muslim Radicalism in 2005

Dec 29th, 2005, in News, by

The Indonesian state and political system is a peculiar compromise between secularism and Islamism. The two are often in conflict, naturally, and it is often not clear which one has the upper hand at any particular time. While attempts by Islamist political parties to enforce sharia law consistently fail to win support at the national level, other, more localised forms of Islamism, or creeping Islamicisation as we like to call it, have gained ground in 2005.

The year of 2005 has seen the pendulum swing somewhat to the Islamist side if we look at these events “on the ground” and then the leaders’ response to them, or lack of response.

Church Closures

Early in 2005 mobs of Muslims attacked and closed down dozens of churches in West Java province. The attacks were done either with the support, or complicity, of the local constabulary. Efforts to close down illegal, not-properly-registered, churches have since spread to other parts of Java.

Attacks on Islamic Sects

Muslims attacked their fellow Muslims on July 15 when the sect Ahmadiyah was targeted. Houses and mosques belonging to the “heretical” group were vandalised.


The Indonesian Ulema Council became increasingly strident in its efforts to stamp out laxness and liberalism in the practice of Islam in Indonesia, with, on July 29, 2005 the issuance of eleven fatwas including edicts that ban Ahmadiyah as well as liberalism, secularism and pluralism, and interfaith marriage.

Liberal Islam Network Targeted

Liberal Islamic groups that promote a tolerant brand of Islam, pluralism and secularism also found themselves being threatened in 2005. In September, hardliners forced the Liberal Islam Network (JIL), made up mostly of young Muslim intellectuals and scholars, to shut down its base in Utan Kayu, East Jakarta. However, local officials came to the defense of the JIL, saying the group could not be evicted from Utan Kayu.

Ominously, the members of the Liberal Islam Network were branded “infidels” and “apostates”, apostasy in fundamentalist Islam being a crime punishable by death.

Extremist Groups New Confidence

Fringe groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front, the Anti-Apostasy Alliance, and the Indonesian Muslim Solidarity have acquired new confidence in their efforts to intimidate Christians and liberal Muslims. Vandalism of restaurants and pubs in two cities, Jakarta and Solo, increased, especially during Ramadhan.

Brawls erupted in Kalijodo, Jakarta’s red-light district, as Islamic Defenders Front members took on the area’s residents. Happily, from all reports, the Jihadists came off second best.

What is most concerning about all this is the silence of the government in Jakarta. The leadership of the country appear to fear being branded un-Islamic. This of course only emboldens the radicals and results in more disturbances.

3 Comments on “Muslim Radicalism in 2005”

  1. Ulf says:

    This is all going to end into a massacre. Islam is said to be a religion of mercy and peace, yet its wielders are always ready to spread conversion by means of force. Should anyone tell them they do not want to leave their old ways, they’ll threaten and kill in the name of the “Merciful Allah”. Most seemingly Christ was equally “merciful” when Arabs and Jews were forced to convert to Christianity in Spain during the end of the 1490s. Those who did not embrace Christianity faced dead, together with their children. The most fortunate were allowed to leave without any possesion.

    To the West, Islam is a pagan religion. To Islamists in the East, the West is a pagan region needing conversion. Neither side is willing to respect the other’s rights. When in the West, Muslims expect their religion and uses to be respected; however, when back at their homelands, they do not respect any foreigners rights, but force them to live under the conditions they want to imposse.

    In France, wearing scarfs by Muslim students ended in a melee for human rights. In Afghanistan, a man converted to Christianity and has been bullied by the entire country, which is asking for his death. As more westerners are now keen on identifying the future problem of a massive Islamic “infiltration”, we shall see more conflicts on a daily basis.

    Christianity tried to kill all my of my ancient forefathers and was close to completing its task. I still keep my pagan non-Jewish/Christian/Islamic faith, but I see how that terrible triangle of religions is non-stopping towards trying to kill anyone in their path who does not accept them.

    The bloodshed is ready. The when is only a matter of having patience.

  2. RoCuS says:

    well at least Christian now days never kill other people just because they doesnt want to accept it. The FACT is many people that CLAIMED themselves as an Islam, closed down church, kill priest with machine gun (in sulawesi island if im not wrong), and doing act of HATE to other non-Islam religion. like I said to Islam people before, STOP INSULTING YOUR OWN ALLAH !!!

  3. Harry says:

    church closures – illegal buildings are normal / should be expected to be closed. same thing will happen to mosques in UK / USA if they’re operated without permission from government and the community around it.

    so why the big deal here…. ?
    it’s the right thing to do !

    attack on Islamic sects – try looking on the context, don’t get prejudice first.
    if you do try that, you’ll find that in most cases they’ve been bothering the people around them for YEARS.
    when they’ve been reported to the police, yet the police did nothing about it, then tension started to build. but since many Indonesian are pacifist, it usually takes years before the tension finally can no longer be hold, and exploded spectacularly.

    the media then rushed and reported just this end – not the whole story from the beginning.

    here’s is an example of such case. thankfully, in this one, the authority acted swiftly, so there was no riot. unfortunately, JIL took this opportunity to deceive and make others look bad – while themselves ended up shown as “the defender of the oppressed”.

    good thing somebody informed this to geis chalifah (head of al-irshad al-Islamiyyah, who happened to also monitor the arrest). he then proceeded to rebutted JIL’s false claims quite thoroughly.

    liberal Islam network targeted – well, I currently have problems sympathizing to them, who so far has been proven repeatedly to be a group of liars and deceivers.

    I’m amazed and a bit amused that people still listen to them and call them intellectuals. go figure.
    i personally have no respect to liars; Islam taught us that lie is the mother of all sin. (since it’s the enabler for all other sin)

    extremist groups – I think the police should act swiftly and firmly if they broke any laws. letting them do their wishes with no restraint at all is bad for everyone, including themselves.

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