Islamic State Fears

Jun 12th, 2006, in News, by

There are some who fear that an Indonesian Islamic state is imminent.

Speaking to a discussion on pluralism hosted by the Wahid Institute, a group set up to promote religious tolerance by former president Abudurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, institute executive director Ahmad Suaedy said Indonesia was very close to becoming an Islamic state.

He said that Indonesia will turn into a Islamic state if the government does nothing to counter the violence committed by hard-line religious groups or the repressive, sharia-inspired bylaws passed by local governments. Many regions in Indonesia have enacted sharia-style by-laws and legislators are presently debating a controversial anti-pornography bill that has met with much opposition from moderates and human rights activists.

Muslim hardliners, meanwhile, have carried out many violent attacks on minority Muslim sects in the country and closed down churches in Java that do not have permits to operate. Despite these groups openly acting outside the law, in many cases police have done nothing to apprehend the attackers. Neither has the central government adequately scrutinised the regional sharia-like by-laws, which some legal scholars say are in violation of the Constitution.

Ahmad Suaedy said that the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) had encouraged intolerance by issuing several controversial fatwas. This had inspired hard-line groups such as the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) to attack Muslim sects and those of other faiths, he said.

The hard-liners are using these edicts to legitimize their violent acts, while MUI has perversely used this violence to justify its fatwa. The FPI and MMI are taking advantage of people’s religious illiteracy to make trouble.

In 2005, the MUI issued a fatwa banning pluralism, liberalism and secularism. It also branded the Muslim sect Ahmadiyah as heretical because the group recognizes another prophet after Muhammad. Liberal Islam and Ahmadiyah centers around the country were later attack by hard-line vigilante groups.

Meanwhile Muhammad Husein, the director of the Fahmina Institute in Cirebon, said the edicts went against the spirit of human rights laws and tarnished the image of Islam as a peace-loving religion.

Despite their non-binding nature, the fatwa are in line with the emergence of hard-line groups who fight for their political interests by abusing Islam.

Suaedy said the government should deal strictly with all religious groups that broke the law.

It would be better if they, along with MUI, were disbanded.

Suaedy noted that the MUI was established by the New Order regime of Soeharto to maintain the religious status quo. However, it was presently acting more like a state-owned company, wielding considerable political influence and receiving public money from the government.

MUI has raised huge funds from the issuance of halal labels for company products.

Neng Dara Affiah, of the Nadhlatul Ulama women’s wing, Fatayat NU, said MUI’s fatwa against mixed marriages dealt a great blow to religious tolerance in the country. Until firm action was taken against members of violent hard-line groups, the government was not properly protecting the rights of people from minority faiths, she said.

Some however are willing to stand up to oppose the emergence of an Islamic state. The Jakarta Post reported on a rally attended by thousands of people, in which religious leaders reaffirmed their allegiance to the state ideology Pancasila in an effort to counter a growing Islamic radicalism.

The rally took place at Proklamasi Monument in central Jakarta on Saturday night, in conjunction with the 56th anniversary of Fatayat, the women’s organization of Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Muslim group. Fatayat chairman Maria Ulfah Anshar, Reverend Emi Sahertian and Buddhist and Confucian leaders attended the rally, which was opened by NU chairman Hasyim Muzadi.

25 Comments on “Islamic State Fears”

  1. Qi says:

    institute executive director Ahmad Suaedy said Indonesia was very close to becoming an Islamic state.

    Since Indonesia “was” very close to becoming an Islamic state, I don’t think that we need to worry about this perceive threat of an Islamic state in Indonesia. The threat is a past, not a present or future one.

    But if Indonesia “is” close to becoming an Islamic state, then we have to start worry about about the future of Indonesia as a plural, vibrant, Muslim dominated democratic state in which different people with different cultures, traditions and faiths live together and share the idea of Indonesia.

  2. Magy says:

    It is a tragedy that such a beautiful country with such beautiful people is currenty drifting slowly but steadily towards being an Islamic state. It is just so sad. Instead of connecting with the democracies of the world that are based on a constitution that gives every individual certain rights, democracy, diversity and tolerance, Indonesia drifts towards Sharia and intolerance.

    I just can’t believe it. Is this really happening in 2006?

    It’s a tragedy.

  3. Gravelrash says:

    Qi – “Muslim dominated democratic state”. Might I point out the obvious? Those are mutually exclusive terms, as Indonesia is going to find out to its enormous regret.
    I echo MAGY’s sentiments.

  4. Cool Guy says:

    It is better that Indonesia being colonized again for 350 years by Dutch then. Do not blame on others. Take a look back at the history of this peaceful land of “Nusantara”!

  5. Karlira Kanakahuko says:

    Islam in Indonesia is another form of discrimination and imperialism.

  6. Allan says:

    I understand why most people are afraid of the concept of Islamic state in Indonesia. The only reason why is because they don’t understand what Islam is. I suggest you guys have look at the history back in 14th century when Islam was the major civilization on earth.

    Regarding the case in Indonesia where more than 80% of its population are Muslims, it is NORMAL if they want Islamic law to be to applied in their country. That doesn’t mean that they don’t respect the plurarism in Indonesia since Islam is ‘rahmatan lil alamin’ or the blessing upon the universe.

    Don’t you guys realize, Indonesia is still applying the dutch-made law where up till this moment the law is ‘negotiable’ as you guys can see on the news. It’s been proven for more than 60 years since independence day that the current system would not be able to bring Indonesia into a better situation, no one can guarantee. On the other hand, God guarantees the peacefulness for those who apply the sharia, and sharia is an obligation for every Muslim.

    No terrorism, radicalism, nor vandalism is allowed in Islam. For those who do that, stop saying you’re making terror in the name of Islam or jihad. Lastly, I’d like to appologize for those who may get offended regarding to my comment.

  7. Czeslaw says:

    Allan, there are some loopholes in your statements about Islam as a major world civilization in XIV century.

    That is the problem, because people are picking up a little piece here, then go and are picking up a little piece over there, etc., etc. Then they make generalized statements, as you did.

    If Islam is the religion of peace, as you are saying, then look at Iraq, Palestine, Darfur, Pakistan, Iran.

    Keep in this same perspective the terror acts committed by Muslims.

    Also, if Islam was so great civilization as you are claiming, what happened that it hit the bottom then, and cannot get on its feet for 600-700 years?

    Last weekend alone, 157 Iraqis were killed, buy whom? According to Iraqi health department this year so far, and that was at the beginning on November 2006 there were 150,000 deaths recorded due the sectarian violance. Not killing in the jihad invaders conflict.

    It is okay in any book, that you converted to Islam. But please, be realistic with your opinions.

    Go back to the pre-islamic Arab nomadic and beduin tirbes’ era. Learn about the origins of Islam, how it evolved. Compare some historical facts, and make intelligent conversation.

    Peace to you.

  8. Ismail says:

    Allan, you like most Muslims appeal to the past to give Islam credit, I think the present is a pointer to the truth of Islam’s past, dark and hideous. Islam is the bane of growth and human right, death and pain is its constant companion. Just look around you, the facts are there.

  9. Charles says:

    Hi friends,
    Do you know why religions have been created?
    The fact is because many people have been doing harm/wrong to others.
    So people need morale guidance in order to make life in this world safe and peaceful.
    The more number of bad people the more morale guidance or religions needed.
    Indonesia claims as the most populous Muslim country ninety something % and the rest are from other religions. So all together Indonesia can claim the most populous religious country.
    But what has been happening in this country is far from it was supposed to be as a safe and peaceful country.
    Why? Is it due to the failure of religions to guide people there?
    The answer is Not at all. All religions have been teaching good morals to the followers.
    The problems come from the preachers who always preach hatred to others and always try to manipulate religion. So as the followers most people think that it is legal to use religion to pursue their goals
    Most of those who claim as religious people are just religious ritually or ceremonially, but they do not implement their religious philosophy in their daily life.
    No wonder that Indonesia is in the top ranks of most corruptive countries and its Religion Affair Department is the most corruptive Department
    That is what happens in this country.
    I said most as I mean not all but almost all

    So friends, do not get misled by your preachers

    Take a look at other people from countries that do not claim as religious countries, they can live side by side safely and peacefully. So they can solve their country’s problem together not by blaming or even killing each other

    Take care,


  10. Paul says:

    Dear Charles!

    I thank you very much for these comment! You see the things right! In which country do you live?
    Religion could be such a nice pleasure do the people and the society, but in every society there are groups or individuals who want to control the thoughts of their neighbours.
    Nobody should force somebody else what to think, which religion he has to use and which god he has to pray on and, very important to me, nobody can force another, to believe in one god, when someone wants to live without religion, but in peace with hisself and to the rest of his society.

    We have to strengthen the freedom of religion, not only the free choice of religion, also to free choice of a religious life or a non religious life.

    Anybody should have the right to believe or not-believe in whatever he wants, until he does not handicap or reduce the freedom of someone else. That must be the moral comparative (law) of human actions ! Own freedom is good, until you reduce the freedom of someone else.

  11. Peter says:

    I agree with you, Charles and Paul.

    Indonesia’s government needs to deal directly with these extreme political groups that are making life miserable for everyone around them. The question is: can Indonesia’s government get it’s act together in time to prevent a hostile minority group of fanatical religious political groups from taking control of the country?

    If not, things could get very very bad, especially with Indonesia’s potential for communal violence.

    It would nice to see a new social movement promoting unity and democracy in Indonesia, led by religious leaders.

  12. JKS says:

    Fear and swords were used to spread Islam, read the history!

  13. Dragonwall says:

    I think this is one way to do daylight robbery with the world watching..

    The first thing was a pregnant woman waiting for a bus and was charged for prostitution.

    The seond thing will be a Nationally elected President and a Sharia elected President..

    Lu lu gue gue…..Waduh gawat nanti..

  14. Dragonwall says:

    back in 14th century when Islam was the major civilization on earth.

    How about looking back into the pre-ice age when animals rule supreme! And you are so right that

    and sharia is an obligation for every Muslim.

    not for others!

    That mean they don’t respect the plurarism in Indonesia and are rotting as though others are transparent..

  15. Ray says:

    JKS Says:
    December 23rd, 2006 at 12:59 am
    Fear and swords were used to spread Islam, read the history!

    I hope youre not a christian, coz it will sound so hipocritical to say that. Fear, swords were used to spread Christianity too, read the history of New World (America), Spanish Conquistador, colonisation & exploitations in Africa, South & East Asia, early British isle & how christianity was forced upon local gaelic/celtic people etc. Christianity is not as innocent as you portray it to be – Remember Gold, Glory, Gospel anyone????

  16. Czeslaw says:

    It can’t be disputed to some degree, there is a moral intent in any religion. Also, It can’t be disputed to some degree, there is a moral intent in any political systems claiming that this is better than what you are doing, etc… no end to it.

    I am a Catholic, born and raised as a Catholic.
    From my experience I think they didn’t thought us about the past because there are some parts which are no so glorious.

    But in both cases Christianity and Islam people need to realize the truth. Pope John Poul II officially apologized to the world for what early-mid ages Christianity have done. It created a stir in the Church, but John Poul II did what His conscious dictated Him to do.

    It was wrong and harm that was done, and it needed to be acknowledge and deal with it. I think if he would be a lower level bishop or cardinal he could face a repremandation or even to be removed from the duties, etc.. For our benefit he was the Head of the church and he couldn’t be touched.

    Also the foundation of Christianity is totally different from Islam. And that can’t be discounted.

    Our teachings are if someone slap you on one chick one have to put the other one to be slapped. If someone takes your coat from you, one have to give his shirt in addition, etc..

    In Islam the dogmas are different, and there is not a single person in charge and responsibility for anything. The interpretation of Islam depends on the time of the day and the region of the world and current situation. No uniformity at all.

    Also the truth is that Islam from day one was and still till today is a violent form of forcing people into submition, or face the consequence such a being beheaded, etc..

    People born under Islamic rule don’t know other forms of religions because it is forbidden to search, learn and experience other religions, and it is suppressed the intellectual growth and learning outside of Islam.

    If Islam would be a tolerate state there should be no problem for me to move to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan or Saudi Arabia and officially open a Catholic Church, a Buddhist Temple, or Shinto or Manitou Shrine and at this same time get government guarantee of the freedom of religion and speech, and being protected by the government against any harm.

    Muslims expect that others have to tolerate and accept Islam, but do reject other people’s believes and point of view. Till there will be attain honest balance and Islam will catch up with times, there will be no peace.

    Peace to all of you in Indonesia, Pakistan, Afganistan, Saudi Arabia et al!

  17. Odinius says:


    You are making some very ahistorical claims and blaming the supposed “essential characteristics” of a religion for things that are historically contingent. For example, you said:

    Our teachings are if someone slap you on one chick one have to put the other one to be slapped. If someone takes your coat from you, one have to give his shirt in addition, etc..

    So this is what motivated the crusades, colonialism, the violent conversion of eastern and northern europe, the genocide of the native peoples of the americans, etc.?

    Also the truth is that Islam from day one was and still till today is a violent form of forcing people into submition, or face the consequence such a being beheaded, etc..

    People born under Islamic rule don’t know other forms of religions because it is forbidden to search, learn and experience other religions, and it is suppressed the intellectual growth and learning outside of Islam.

    Except that Chrsitians and Jews were far more free to worship under medieval Islamic rule than Jews and Muslims were under medieval Christian rule.

    So why are places like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan intolerant today, while places like Sweden or Belgium are more tolerant? A host of reasons, but most deriving from the past 100-200 years. Afghanistan, for example, was a quite different place under Mohammed Zahir Shah. Saudi Arabia was too, before the Wahhabi movement and the marriage of clericy and monarchy in the 19th century.

    …and just to underscore the point that we’re talking historical contingency, compare being a Christian in Afghanistan to neighboring Tajikistan, which is also a majority-Muslim society. Or any of the other ex-Soviet ‘stans. That separate history has produced a separable result in terms of pluralism and the relationship between state and religion.

  18. Astrajingga says:

    Our teachings are if someone slap you on one chick one have to put the other one to be slapped.

    I think this is exactly why George Bush let Osama slammed the plane to the second tower, after the other one was slammed.

    I wonder what US troops does in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  19. DumadiSatrio says:

    Falsehood hath so corrupted all the world,
    Ne’er deal as true friends they whom sects divide;
    But had not man allowed hate to be his natural element,
    Churches and mosques had risen side by side

  20. Odinius says:

    al-Ma’arri is full of fantastic quotes, it seems!

  21. Czeslaw says:

    great take on the subject, and I appreciate to hearing from your own mind.
    I don’t intend to hide or try to justify the “conquer” of this or that by either religion or political system. Conquer is brutal and savage approach to humanity, no exception.

    To a larger or smaller degree you took my words out of context. But I believe that the common theme of yours and mine though is to let a single person decide his or her own way of life, providing that he or she will not harm other person.

    Humanity is lacking of tolerance and acceptance of others.

    I feel so sad when I hear that the extreme Muslims are bombing masks with other Muslims as well, on the top of killing others, no end to the utopia.

    Well, the Wahabism in the Saudi push will definitively keep Islam and Muslims in the dark ages for ages. Wahabism is like a black hole in the space. It will eat even itself, so will Wahabism.

    Peace to you and your love ones Odinius

  22. DumadiSatrio says:

    haha, ya, I still had the book next to my computer.

    As far as Indonesia goes, It will never be an “islamic state”. The reason is simple, it is a nation under the Pancasila. If that changed, it would no longer be Indonesia… It would be something else.

    Indonesia is a nation very diverse in religions(and within those religions diverse beliefs), traditions, ethnic groups…..
    The Pancasila is what gives Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.

    Those pushing for an “islamic state” I find ignorant at best and selfish and dangerous at worst. Do they really want to remove the glue that holds this nation together? Look to Yugoslavia to see how that story ends.

    and for what?
    What would an “islamic state” contribute that the Pancasila does not? It is as if these people would gladly destroy their nation for what?
    to outlaw dangdut and yoga?

  23. DumadiSatrio says:

    “God guarantees the peacefulness for those who apply the sharia”

    With all respect, look at Sudan…….

  24. diego says:

    DS said:

    With all respect, look at Sudan…….

    Wait, wait, let me beat them on this with the excuse: but Sudan is not an islamic country, it doesn’t apply the shariah law correctly / completely / kaffah.


  25. DumadiSatrio says:

    men have enough trouble trying to understand god, let alone god’s will

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