Islam on the Political Map

Apr 14th, 2009, in News, by

PPPIs political Islam down and out in 2009? Islamic parties look for reasons for their failure.

In the 2009 elections Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP) – United Development Party, led by Suryadharma Ali, seems likely to have polled only around 5%, compared to 8.15% in 2004.

One party leader, Chairul Mahfiz, says the PPP will have to consider whether using Islamic symbols is appropriate moving into the future, particularly given the fact that two other Islamic parties held firm in their share of the votes, – Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and National Mandate Party (PAN) – while at the same time positioning themselves as more open parties, and relying less on Islamic messages when campaigning. okezone

We have to think about repositioning our base.

Comparison of party votes in 2004 and 2009:

2004 2009
Demokrat 7.45% 20,36%
PDIP 18.53% 14,32%
Golkar 21.58% 14,24%
PKS 7.34% 8,46%
PAN 6.44% 6,36%
PPP 8.15% 5,46%
PKB 10.57% 5,12%
Gerindra n/a 4,47%
Hanura n/a 3,52%
PBB 2.62% 1,98%

Another PPP figure, Masruhan Samsurie in Central Java, put the blame on:

  • secular parties sold themselves better
  • democracy ‘corners’ Islamic parties
  • the new voting system confused the PPP’s base – old and village folk
  • PPP candidates were not allowed to bribe voters, while other parties’ candidates did

Meanwhile a Washington Times report states

As political Islam gains strength globally, it has achieved little electoral success in Indonesia.

18-year-old jilbabed student Ismi Safeya is interviewed and says

The wisest choice is a government not dependent on Islamic law

While Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono says people are too much interested in bread and butter issues

Parties that advocate for sharia, or Islamic law, do not get much play.

Presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng implies that the supposedly secular Partai Demokrat (“nationalist and religious”) has deliberately under-cut the support of Islamic parties:

The categories are blurred right now. To win, you have to move to the centre.

This centre, he says, is a blend of moderate Islam with programs to deliver such economic basics as jobs and food. washpost

45 Comments on “Islam on the Political Map”

  1. Peter says:

    Speaking of Islam in politics and the “Islamic State”, there is a really interesting document we should all be aware of: the Constitution of Medina. It effectively created the first Islamic State, and was arbitrated by Muhammad (s.a.w.) himself at Medina. Amazing to see how much modern interpretations of Islamic jurisprudence diverge from this original example.

    Some highlights include:

    * Establishment of 1 “ummah” comprised of the Muslims + the Jewish & Pagan tribes

    * Equal political rights for all groups

    * Religious & Cultural autonomy for all groups

    * Equal security rights & military defense duties for all groups

    * Equal taxation for all groups

    * Non-Muslims not required to participate in holy war

    * Universal recognition of all treaties negotiated by any group

    * Universal judiciary recourse in the event of disputes (arbitration by Muhammad (s.a.w.))

  2. tikno says:

    I think modern society more thinking (interested) to the real issue such as education, health, housing, economy, social guarantee, employment availability, corruption or clean government, etc. rather than religious issue.

  3. Ross says:

    A fascinating item of arcane lore, Peter, which I shall ask my worldwide network to investigate forthwith, though I myself am currently in the Land of Oz.
    I am surprised that Washington might speak thus, for his own troops were chaplained on an official basis by the revolutionary government, and the first elected representatives did indeed vote funds to Christianise their pribumi neighbours.
    I confess to a particular affinity with Washington, given his remarks during wartime setbacks, that if all else failed, he’d make his last stand with the Ulster-Scots of his home state. So I am eager to learn more of this surprising opinion of his.

  4. Peter says:

    You’re quite entertaining. You know, I’d really love to see some research done on the psychology of blogging/commenting and why it makes people act like such a$$holes. I am as guilty of this as anyone.

    What I quoted was not “lore” or a “remark during wartime”. It was article 11 of a US treaty. So, aside from there being no mention in any piece of legislation or treaty that the US is a “Christian country”, we have explicit statement to the contrary. You rely only on conjecture and faulty deductive reasoning to support your position. Not very convincing.

    Jangan bego, dong

  5. Ross says:

    Conjecture, I think not…the very idea that America might be thought of as a secular state was anathema to Washington, and as to which religion he and Congress acknowledged as America’s, here are some of the many factual quotes which are flooding into my email..

    On January 1, 1795, President George Washington issued another National Thanksgiving Proclamation:
    It is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced.

    On July 9, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized the Continental Army to provide chaplains for their troops. On that same day, Washington issued the general order to his troops, stating:
    The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man, will endeavor so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.

    On May 12, 1779, General George Washington was visited at his military encampment by some chiefs of the Delaware Indian tribe. They had brought three youths to be trained in the American schools. Washington assured them, commenting:
    Congress will look upon them as their own Children… You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.
    They didn’t write it into their constitution because it was so obviously a Christian country, and that was their mistake, because the courts of the Fifties and since have been able to re-write America’s identity.

  6. Peter says:

    1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (1791):

    Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    “So obviously a Christian country”, eh? None of the examples cited above have anything to do with the mixture of Christianity and politics.

    Well, I’ve got work to do. Nice chatting with ya; stay blessed.

  7. Peter says:


    * the mixture of Christianity and governance

  8. Ross says:

    This is an agreeable tangent from ‘Islam on the Political Map’ so I am prepared to persevere, though, not being American, I’d be interested to get a few Yanks embroiled.
    I suspect Peter is being slightly disingenuous, for he has simply retraced his steps to the original point, which was that, as we both agree, the Americans did not want a state church, ‘established’ as in the English and Scots manner via the constitution.

    Washington and the earliest Congressmen openly avowed by word and deed that theirs was a Christian nation, and for roughly 170 years there were perfectly acceptable non-denominational prayers in schools and other manifestations of Christian identity, much as in all Anglo-Celto-Saxon countries. it is only in the post-war era that the ‘enemy within’ has acted via unelected judges to strike these down. The electorate were simply by-passed and that is my main concern.

  9. Peter says:

    It’s pretty interesting for a non-American to have that view. Whereabouts are you from, Ross?

  10. Berlian Biru says:

    Ross, have you read James Webb’s “Born Fighting”? I think you’d enjoy it.

  11. Ross says:

    Berlian, no, not yet! I had a look on the web and it seems my kind of book. I’ve got God’s Frontiersmen, based on the British Channel 4 series of the same name, which covers the worldwide diaspora.

    Peter, my great3-grandfather left Kilrea, County Londonderry, 170 plus years ago,
    We have been moving around ever since but never left what Ulster stood for.

  12. Ross says:

    Peter, I was sufficiently intrigued by your treaty reference to pursue the lead, as it did seem to refute what most Americans think re their Founding Fathers and their faith.

    I gather the ‘1797 treaty’ with Tripoli did indeed have an Article XI viz.,

    As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] and as the said States [America] have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    Article XI if read in its totality merely differentiates the USA
    from the other nations warring with Tripoli’s Barbary raiders
    i.e not a Christian nation of the sort that engaged in Crusades.
    Happily my source of this extra info adds further detail of American attitudes at that time, to show that American Christians felt themselves to be a separate sort from those of Europe.

    ‘The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe which serve to support tyrannical governments are not the Christian religion but abuses and corruptions of it.’
    That view was doubtless unfair to many Christians on the other side of the ocean, but is nowadays reciprocated by a lot of awful trendy clerics in England.

    As to Washington, ‘no statement in the treaty can be attributed to Washington (the treaty did not arrive in America until months after he left office); Washington never saw the treaty; it was not his work; no statement in it can be ascribed to him. The second mistake is to divorce a single clause of the treaty from the remainder which provides its context. It would also be absurd to suggest that President Adams (under whom the treaty was ratified in 1797) would have endorsed or assented to any provision which repudiated Christianity. In fact, while discussing the Barbary conflict with Jefferson, Adams declared:
    The policy of Christendom has made cowards of all their sailors before the standard of Mahomet. It would be heroical and glorious in us to restore courage to ours. 25
    Furthermore, it was Adams who declared:
    The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were. . . . the general principles of Christianity. . . . I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature.’

    Okay, Peter, this is an unusual way to spend a vacation, so I shall take a few days off IM and return later in the week. Have a nice Monday!

  13. Tracie says:

    As I was reading the article and comments, religion seems to be a major issue here although, it is somewhat being read between the lines. As far as I can recall, how a person believes, acts and thinks has to do with their religion. No decisions are ever made just out of thin air. It has to do with right or wrong, deep down a person knows the difference, even though they may not think of it at the time. A decision is usually made by beliefs and morals and religion is a big part of that. We may not think about it but, how we were raised and what we were taught (learned) to believe in helps us make our decisions and choices.

    This goes for politics as well. There are some that don’t believe religion should be a part of the political process but, it is. As much as some try to push it out of the system, I do believe that it will always remain a part of the bigger picture.

  14. Odinius says:

    This is an agreeable tangent from ‘Islam on the Political Map’ so I am prepared to persevere, though, not being American, I’d be interested to get a few Yanks embroiled.
    I suspect Peter is being slightly disingenuous, for he has simply retraced his steps to the original point, which was that, as we both agree, the Americans did not want a state church, ‘established’ as in the English and Scots manner via the constitution.

    No, Peter’s absolutely right. Every official proclamation makes sure to stress that the US is not a Christian or any other state. And if you want to quote from Founding Fathers, this one–by Jefferson about the Virginia Act of Religious Freedom–is probably the most important:

    Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

  15. perseus says:

    I think this line says it all:

    One shopkeeper in Jakarta: “We are choosing people to lead a country, not to lead a mosque. You can’t pray away bad economy, poverty, and unemployment”.


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