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Radical Islamic ideology has spread to tribal societies that lack strong central political authority e. Many of these networks provide social services to Muslim communities, making them difficult to detect and disrupt. Beyond these long-term factors, certain catalytic events have shifted the political environment in the Muslim world toward radicalism.

Major events include the Iranian revolution, the Afghan war with the Soviets, the Gulf War of , and the global war on terrorism after September The Iraq war and the removal of Saddam Hussein have surely had an effect on the Muslim world, but the long-term implications remain to be seen. A stable, pluralistic, and democratic Iraq would challenge anti-Western views in the Middle East and would undermine extremist arguments.

On the other hand, if Iraq reverts to authoritarianism or fragments into ethnic enclaves, then U. How can the United States respond to the challenges and opportunities that current conditions in the Muslim world pose to U. Researchers suggest a variety of social, political, and military options:.

Promote the creation of moderate networks to counter radical messages. Liberal and moderate Muslims have not formed the effective networks that radicals have. Creation of an international moderate Muslim network is critical to transmitting moderate messages throughout the Muslim world and to provide protection for moderate groups.

The United States may need to assist moderates who lack the resources to create such networks themselves. Disrupt radical networks. It is important to understand the characteristics of radical networks and their support communities, how they communicate and recruit, and any weaknesses they have. Foster madrassa and mosque reform. There is an urgent need for the United States and the international community to support reform efforts to ensure that madrassas provide a broad, modern education and marketable skills.

One course of action is to help establish or strengthen higher education accreditation boards that monitor and review curricula in state and private schools. Although outsiders may be reluctant to involve themselves in ostensibly religious affairs, ways may be found to support the efforts of governments and moderate Muslim organizations to ensure that mosques do not serve as platforms for radical ideologies. Expand economic opportunities. The ability of some radical organizations to address entrenched social and economic problems has created a growing base of support for their politics.

Provision of alternative social services in many places might help to indirectly undercut the appeal of the extremists. In particular, the United States and its allies should focus on initiatives that improve the economic prospects of the young. Programs that promote economic expansion and self-sufficiency can help reduce the opportunities for extremists to exploit economic hardship and the perception that the United States has only military interests in the Muslim world.

Assistance in efforts to develop education and cultural activities by secular or moderate Muslim organizations should be a priority. The United States and its allies may also have to assist in the development of democratic and civil society institutions.

The Truth about the Muslim Brotherhood

Deny resources to extremists. A complementary element of the strategy of supporting secular or moderate Muslim organizations is to deny resources to extremists. This effort needs to be undertaken at both ends of the radical funding cycle, in countries where funds either originate e. Balance the requirements of the war on terrorism with the need to promote stability in moderate Muslim countries. The United States should ensure that the actions it takes do not play into the hands of radicals, who depict such moves as a war against Islam.

The United States should demonstrate that its efforts are not meant to strengthen authoritarian or oppressive regimes, but to promote democratic change. Seek to engage Islamists in normal politics. A difficult issue is whether developing Muslim democracies should allow Islamist parties that may not have fully credible democratic credentials to participate in politics. While there is always a danger that an Islamist party, once in power, may move against democratic freedoms, the inclusion of such groups in open democratic institutions may encourage moderation in the long run.

An unequivocal commitment to nonviolence and democratic processes should be a prerequisite for inclusion.

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Engage Muslim diasporas. Diaspora communities are a gateway to networks and may be helpful in advancing U. The United States, for instance, can work with Muslim nongovernment organizations in responding to humanitarian crises. Rebuild close military-to-military relations with key countries. The five principles of Pancasila are embedded in the Preamble of the Constitution. Indonesia also comprises over different ethnic groups with distinct languages and cultural traditions, making it one of the most heterogeneous countries in the world. With Pancasila as the State ideology the government is responsible for ensuring religious freedom.

Official recognition of religions in Indonesia among others take the forms of State support for religious education and celebrating the different major religious holidays as national holidays.

The Challenge of Radical Islam | Foreign Affairs

Thus, in Indonesia, all major Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and, lately, Chinese New Year celebrations are declared as public holidays throughout the country. There have been many challenges to Pancasila throughout modern Indonesian history by groups determined to establish an Islamic state, such as the Darul Islam movement in the s and early s that waged armed struggles in different parts of the country.

Attempts to draft a new constitution to replace the original Constitution in the s collapsed due to disagreements about the place of Islam in the state system. The same consideration led to the decision to thoroughly amend the Constitution, without touching the Preamble, rather than drafting a wholly new constitution, to institutionalize the transformation from authoritarianism to democracy.


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Political elites from different political parties, either Islamist or secular-nationalist parties, are often affiliated with either Muhammadiyah or NU. It is not a coincidence that two of the top leaders of the anti-Suharto movement and who played a central role in the early democratic transition process were Amien Rais, then chairman of Muhammadiyah, and Abdurrahman Wahid, then Chairman of NU.

Abdurrahman Wahid served as the new democratically elected president in October till his impeachment in July due to charges of power abuse. Despite the difficult terrain democracy has continued to flourish in Indonesia, though critics have argued that it is still mostly procedural rather than substantive democracy.

In recent years, the emergence of new more intolerant Islamic groups has challenged the predominance of the two largest Islamic mass organizations, Muhammadiyah and NU, as the primary referent points of Muslims in Indonesia. Both Muhammadiyah and NU were sidelined during the mass demonstrations in Jakarta organized by hard-lined Islamist groups determined to prevent the non-Muslim Basuki Tjahaja Purnama from winning the Jakarta gubernatorial election.

There are also radical Islamist groups, many affiliated with transnational extremist movements such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq ISIS , that have used terrorism to advance their ideological cause to establish a caliphate in Indonesia. However, the mainstream political and social forces, including Islamic political parties and mass organizations, have also rallied and called for strengthening the national commitment to Pancasila , the Constitution, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika and the Unitary Republic of Indonesia — the four pillars of the Indonesian nation-state.

Muhammadiyah and NU, in particular, have again been called upon to enhance their role in the fight against religious intolerance, radicalism and extremism as well as promote inter-faith dialogues at home and abroad. Ricklefs, A History of Modern Indonesia since c.

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First published in by the Macmillan Press, the book has been revised several times to bring it up to date. The Fourth Edition was published by Palgrave Macmillan in Publication view From regime change to rapprochement? Featured Summer Featured Full Page view Photography Contest. Full Page view Internships. Full Page view Annual Awards Gala. Pancasila as the Unifying Ideological Foundation of Indonesia Despite the proliferation of political parties with different ideological orientations and priorities since the onset of Reformas i, all of them agreed that Pancasila as the pluralist foundation of the state should remain inviolable.

Conclusion Despite the difficult terrain democracy has continued to flourish in Indonesia, though critics have argued that it is still mostly procedural rather than substantive democracy.