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Defending the Majesty of Islam: Indonesia's…

Defending the Majesty of Islam: Indonesia's Front Pembela Islam, 1998-2003…

by Jajang Jahroni

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Recently added bymercure, imran_taib
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    Civil Islam : Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia by Robert W. Hefner (mercure)
    mercure: Civil Islam discusses the contribution of Muslim groups in bringing forward democracy in Indonesia, and therefore another aspect of this multi-facetted religion.

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In his book "Indonesie na Soeharto" Henk Schulte Nordholt dedicates just two paragraphs to the Front Pembela Islam. He suspects the "preman berjubah" ("the gangsters with the long flowing robes") of being a group that exists to help the police to extract more money from owners of bars and brothels. It is an opinion Mr. Schulte Nordholt shares with former Indonesian president Wahid.

Jajang Jahroni takes the FPI more seriously. According to the author, the FPI concentrates on bringing forward an Islamic way of life and Islamic law for Indonesia's Muslim majority. They do this by "commanding righteousness and preventing corruption". The FPI, that is rooted in the Arab community of Tanah Abang, Jakarta, takes action against activities they consider immoral by their Islamist standards. These activities are mainly related to alcohol, gambling, prostitution, etc. According to the author the FPI follows procedures against owners of such businesses in cooperation with the police. If they business owner does not cooperate (or according to others, if the business owner does not pay enough), they destroy his business. Additionally they support Muslim communities with bringing forward shariah legislation, although little detail is spent on which elements of shariah the FPI finds important.

Mr. Jahroni seems to be more sympathetic to the wishes of Islamists than most Western authors about Indonesia. Consequently the book is written with a different form of detachment than you usually find in books in Western languages. Mr. Jahroni states for example that 85% of Indonesians is Muslim, although many are only "Islam KTP", believers of all kinds of syncretic philosophies that just have Islam stated on their identity cards. ( )
  mercure | Jan 25, 2010 |
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