Shari'a and Politics in Modern Indonesia

Shari'a and Politics in Modern Indonesia

Shari'a and Politics in Modern Indonesia

Shari'a and Politics in Modern Indonesia

Synopsis

After the fall of President Soeharto, there have been heightened attempts by certain groups of Muslims to have sharia (Islamic law) implemented by the state. Even though this burning issue is not new, it has further divided Indonesian Muslims. The introduction of Islamic law would also affect the future of multi-cultural and multi-religious Indonesia. So far, however, the introduction of sharia nationwide has been opposed by the majority of Indonesian Muslims. This book gives an overview of sharia from post-Independence in 1945 to the most recent developments in Indonesia at the start of the new millennium.

Excerpt

Arskal Salim and Azyumardi Azra

The political atmosphere in the post-New Order era is evidently marked with the euphoria of democracy or political liberalization. One of its manifestations, as William R. Liddle ever predicted, is that in a more open political climate the expression of more formalistic Islam (the scripturalists) would appear, since “they would have many more political resources, in mass acceptance of their ideas, organization, allies, media, and access to politicians”.

There are at least four features of such appearance in the current scene. First is the establishment of numerous Islamic political parties that mostly adopt Islam as their basis replacing Pancasila, which the Soeharto regime forcefully implemented to be the sole basis of any organization. Two parties, the United Development Party (PPP) and the Crescent Star Party (PBB), insist that Article 29 of the 1945 Constitution be amended to reinsert the famous “seven words” (dengan kewajiban melaksanakan syariat Islam bagi pemelukmja [with the obligation to carry out shari’a for its adherents]). With these words, it will officially provide shari’a with the constitutional status within the Indonesian national legal system. This proposal to reintroduce the clause, which will require Indonesian Muslims to apply shari’a, has been unsuccessful in three consecutive annual sessions of the Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat (MPR) in 2000, 2001, and 2002. In the 2002 annual session, the MPR has decided not to amend Article 29 of the 1945 Constitution. However, Islamic parties continue to advocate the formal application of shari’a.

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