Posted by: Muhammad Wildan | 5 June 2010


Muhammad Wildan

Pemerintah Orde Baru muncul dengan dukungan penuh dari umat Islam yang merasa banyak diuntungkan dengan pembasmian pemberontakan PKI. Pada periode awal hubungan umat Islam dengan pemerintah masih cukup bagus, yaitu sejak berdirinya Orde Baru hingga awal tahun 1970-an. Keinginan umat Islam yang tidak diakomodasi oleh pemerintah menjadikan mereka putus asa dan enggan untuk bergandengan tangan dan bersama-sama membangun masyarakat. Respon negatif umat Islam terhadap upaya pemerintah untuk bersama-sama inilah yang kemudian ditanggapi secara dingin oleh pemerintah. Resistensi umat Islam ini kemudian oleh pemerintah dianggap secara serius dan berakhir dengan rasa curiga. Kecurigaan pemerintah terhadap umat Islam inilah yang kemudian berlanjut dengan berbagai tindak kekerasan pemerintah terhadap umat Islam dan yang terakhir adalah kebijakan asas tunggal pada tahun 1985. Di pentas politik, praktis peran umat Islam secara formal telah di banyak dipangkas. Walaupun demikian, patut dicatat di sini bahwa, beberapa organisasi pemuda, seperti HMI, PII dan GPII, mempunyai peran yang cukup signifikan dalam percaturan politik pada awal periode Orde Baru. beberapa tokoh organisasi inilah yang ikut berperan dalam menyumbangkan pemikiran-pemikiran positif terhadap pola perjuangan umat Islam Indonesia.

A. Introduction
Initially, Indonesian Muslims supported the emergence of the New Order, which got the support of the Armed Forces (ABRI). Muslims’ support was due to their shared view to oppose communism and their shared expectations toward the New Order government. Muslims expected to have a space in politics, and wanted the rehabilitation of the Masyumi party. The New Order, however, disappointed them and did not give them a chance in politics. Conversely, the government, afraid of Islamic radicalism, tended even to marginalize the role of Muslims in politics. Consequently, some conservative Muslims withdrew their support from the government. As compensation, however, the government gave Muslims enough space and funds to expand their religious services and culture. However, not all Muslim groups gave positive responses the government’s offer. Rather, they tended to stay away from the government and formed NGOs and some others shifted their pattern of struggle not to be involved much in politics. Nevertheless, it is essential to state here that several youth organizations, such as HMI, PII and GPII, were involved in politics and played a significant role in developing the pattern struggle of Indonesian Muslims.
The New Order, which began with the rise of General Soeharto holding Supersemar as his legal-formal basis, focused upon Pancasila and turned it into the ideological pillar of the government. Initially, Pancasila was nothing more than a common platform where all ideologies could meet. In the New Order era, however, it emerged as a full-fledged ideological justification of the ruling classes. Soeharto asserted that Pancasila was an all-encompassing philosophy of life, unique to Indonesia, and personified by the government of the New Order. From that moment onwards, some jargons using Pancasila as its basis emerged, such as ‘the Democracy of Pancasila’ and ‘the Economy of Pancasila’ while these concepts remained ill-described. In the name of ‘the Democracy of Pancasila’, the politics of the regime was marked by the accumulation of power by a few people in politics. Other social and political institutions outside the system were refused the power to influence their ideas to construct governmental policies. The New Order political system tended to be authoritarian and repressive. It was due to the government’s efforts to consider Pancasila sacred and label all aspects of life with Pancasila, which evoked some conflicts between some Muslim groups and the government.

B. Muslims’ Political Attitude
The New Order political system put Islam in a peripheral position. Although in some cases the government had accommodated Muslims, the New Order political system did not give nationalist Muslims a chance in politics. Conversely, the government invited another institution to accommodate the government to gain the development of the state. The Old Order’s experiences gave the New Order the impression that Islam is always opposed to government which lead it to label Islam as anti-modernist. To obtain a comprehensive perception about the New Order’s Islamic policies, I will deal with the Muslims’ political attitudes and the government reactions towards them.
The positive presumption of Muslims toward the New Order governmental system encouraged ex-leaders of the Masyumi to rehabilitate their party. After the release of Prawoto, Natsir, Roem, and other leaders, they formally set up a committee to seek the restoration of the Masyumi’s legitimacy. In the middle of 1966, the committee sent the functionary President, General Soeharto, a letter to rehabilitate the Masyumi. During this period, while waiting for Soeharto’s decision, a variety of organizations supported the Masyumi’s demand for rehabilitation. The former constituent member organizations supported the Masyumi, and so did several independent youth organizations, such as the PII and HMI. An umbrella Islamic organization, the Badan Koordinasi Amal Muslimin (BKAM), led by Lieutenant General Sudirman, also supported to the Masyumi. Nevertheless, in his reply in January 1967, Soeharto made it clear that he would not permit the rehabilitation of the Masyumi.
The BKAM, which was supported by many Islamic organizations, held several meetings in preparation to create a new Islamic party. The former supporters of the Masyumi, the PII and HMI, were involved in these preparatory meetings. However, during the preparation, the government with the support of the Armed Forces prevented the former Masyumi activists from becoming board members of the new Islamic party. The government suspected that the projected party was carrying on in the spirit of the Masyumi, or in other words it held the danger of becoming a neo-Masyumi party. As a result, there was a split within the BKAM, i.e., between realists and idealists. The PII and STII (Sarekat Tani Islam Indonesia), as idealists, rejected the idea of the new party. Reportedly, the PII maintained that it would be better for Muslims not to have a party at all instead of just having a party supporting the policies of the government. Afterwards, the meetings, many of which were held in the office of the PII, decided on the formation of the board members without the participation of the PII and STII. Finally, on 20 February 1968 the functionary president, Soeharto, pronounced the establishment of the Partai Muslimin Indonesia (Parmusi).
At the same time, Muhammad Hatta, the former vice president, wanted to establish a new Islamic political party, Partai Demokrasi Islam Indonesia (PDII, the Party of Indonesian Islamic Democracy). Some activists of the HMI and the PII, who were not satisfied with the Old Order’s tendency to the left, came up with the first idea of the party. Some of the HMI and PII activists involved in the preparation of the new party were Deliar Noer, Hasan Metareum, Norman Razak, Mashud, Mohammad Daud Ali, Kamil Tjokroaminoto and Zuber Hussein. During the preparation, Hatta was asked to join in the BKAM’s preparation of the Parmusi. However, Hatta refused and asserted that it was difficult to create unity as the experience of the Masyumi had shown. It was known by the Muslim community that Hatta would initiate the PDII, but, in general, they did not support him. The reason was that the coming party did not put Islam as its basic ideology, but Pancasila. It was not until 1967 that Hatta proposed the establishment of the PDII to General Soeharto. According to Soeharto in his reply on 11 January 1967, the PDII would not accommodate the political endeavour of modern Muslims who tended to co-operate with the government. Rather, he suggested that Hatta should join the BKAM to institute the Parmusi. After refusing to join the BKAM, Hatta said that Soeharto’s decision would not last forever. He hoped that sometime later he would establish an Islamic party. Nevertheless, the youth supporters of Hatta did not lose their spirits. To embody their progressive ideas, they established a non-governmental organization (NGO) which was concerned with Islamic teachings, i.e., Lembaga Pengajian Islam dan Masyarakat.
At the end of the Old Order there was a substantial dispute within the PII which resulted even the counterpart of the executive boards. Initially, the dissension which was initiated by the issue of the Manipol USDEK was ended by accommodative attitude of the official PII and communism affairs in 1965. Owing to the favour of some prominent figures of the Masyumi to reconcile the two executive boards of the PII, the official executive board of the PII showed its accommodative attitude towards the government. Not only did the PII include Pancasila in its statutes, but it also made certain approaches to the president. This attitude ended the split within the PII, which lasted about two years. However, the disappearance of the counterpart PII did not unite all activists; the previous problems remained unsolved, i.e., the split between conservative and liberal activists. Until the end of 1971 there was continuously counterpart of the official PII. About ten years, the PII was engaged with its internal affairs. However, it still could hold its duty as an organization concerning with dacwah and informal education.
Initially, the PII and the New Order government built a solid relationship. The relationship began when hundreds of organizations including the PII and other Islamic organizations established the Sekretariat Bersama Golkar (Joint Secretariat of the Functional Groups) on 19 October 1964. The establishment in early 1966 of the KAPPI, which was dominated by the PII, also supported the teamwork to found the New Order. The first split between the PII the government was in the late 1966 when the government curtailed the sovereignty of the KAPPI. The split resulted in a counterpart of the KAPPI, which was supported by the government. Conclusively, the PII detached its patronage to the New Order and stayed at the side of the governmental system reacting to the policies of the New Order.

C. The Disappointment of Muslims
On the political level, the existing Islamic parties did not fulfill the desire of Muslims. The presence of the Parmusi in politics could neither substitute nor carry on the task of the Masyumi. The disappointment of the Muslims increased when conservative Muslim groups in parliament could not achieve the lawful status of the Jakarta Charter. According to Samson, the political ineffectiveness of the Masyumi and the Parmusi may be due, in part, to an overestimation of the actual power of Islam by many Muslim leaders. Given that 90 per cent of Indonesians are Muslims, Islam should play a significant role in politics. Instead, it was the secular group of Muslims who held important positions and who flouted the will of the Muslim majority. In turn, in 1968 Indonesian Muslims expected the Muhammadiyah to help them in their despair. Some former activists of the Masyumi were involved in the organization to stimulate its actions. Moreover, some activists of the Muhammadiyah who were too accommodating to the government were expelled from the organization. Nevertheless, some activists of the PII and the HMI, the most vigorous organizations who supported the Masyumi, believed that “the Muhammadiyah had become stagnant, too receptive to the status quo, [and] no longer really modernist.” The attitude of the PII was parallel to its convictions that the Parmusi would not replace the Masyumi.
The Islamic parties’ behaviour in the Old Order period traumatized the New Order government. Having considered that the national disruption in the Old Order period that was due, in part, to Muslims’ political behaviour, the government launched Islamic policies. Similar to the old Dutch colonial style, the New Order subsequently adopted a two-track policy towards Islam: opposition to the politicization of religion and promotion of personal piety. Furthermore, in the development process of the state, it thought that Islam did not accommodate to modernization. Indeed, the government labelled Islam as “anti-development” and considered the Muslims’ attitude “resistance to the national stabilization.” Instead, the government summoned Christians and a secular nationalist group.
On the other hand, a rapid increase in Christian missionary activities in some parts of Indonesia aroused the anger of young Muslims. In 1967, missionary activities and young Muslims’ frustration toward the government ignited outbursts of violence and destruction directed against some churches in Makasar, Aceh, Jakarta, and Jatibarang, West Java. Samson states that, although the Muslim youth acts, which were often initiated by the PII members, were not officially approved of by leaders of Islamic mass organizations, the acts received broad support from their members. The South Kalimantan branch of the Department of Religious Affairs considered that it was necessary to reach an agreement among religious leaders for religious harmony. In a meeting of about 250 religious leaders in South Kalimantan, however, the synod leader of South Kalimantan, E. Saloh, offended some other religions’ representatives. It was in April 1969, when he openly asserted that the object of Christian missionary activities was to reach all people, wherever they are. Saloh’s statement reflected his rejection of the government’s effort to achieve religious harmony, and therefore it inflamed the fury of Muslims, especially of youths. Some Muslim youth organizations under the leadership of the PII, HMI and Pemuda Muhammadiyah condemned Saloh’s statement and demanded the government to respond to it. The youths’ response, which was followed by all Islamic organizations in South Kalimantan, reflected the unity of Muslims and their awareness to achieve religious harmony. However, some Muslim youths’ destructive responses to the construction of some churches in some districts with a Muslim majority revealed their inexperience to face such challenges.
When the position of political Islam was worsening, especially after the New Order’s manoeuvre to reorganize Indonesia’s political structure, many Muslim leaders changed their political attitude. Some observers viewed that this was a sign the inability of Islamic political thinkers and activists to fashion clear religio-political responses that were relevant to the challenges. Some activists of the PII and HMI viewed that the Islamic political elites were too rigid and inflexible. As alumni of Muslim student movements of 1965-6, PII and HMI activists were neither dependent on nor committed to political parties. As a result of their dissatisfaction with politics in the late 1960s, they distanced themselves from politics to define a new strategy of Islamic revival. From the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, the new “ideology” (theological renewal) was particularly, though not exclusively, strong among some activists in various Islamic student organizations, such as the PII or HMI. However, there was a significant dispute between the PII and HMI. Although it is not enough recorded, the dispute might have been over politics. The climax of the dispute was the dismissal of some HMI board members who were, at the same time, board members of the PII.

D. Political or Cultural Approach?
In the late 1960s, some Muslims were optimistic about the New Order government. They considered that the restriction of political Islam was not equivalent to the rejection of the government of the culture and social life of Islam. That is to say that Muslims should emphasize the role of Islam as the basis their of socio-religious life. With their Cultural Approach, they hoped that some day the government, especially the Armed Forces (ABRI), would lose their prejudice against Islam. At the same time the Islamic values would be deeply rooted in Muslim society (umma). This idea was generated by Muslim youth thinkers such as Usep Fathuddin and Utomo Danandjaja of the PII, Nurcholish Madjid from the HMI, and Ahmad Wahib, Dawam Rahardjo and Djohan Effendi from the Limited Group circle discussion in Yogyakarta.
Some activists of the PII and HMI, who previously were great supporters of the Masyumi in their opposition to the government, tended to co-operate with the government. Theologically speaking, they acted as a modernist group. The group that emerged from the student group known as the “generation-of-’66” asserted that there was still sufficient room to work within the system for the benefit of the umma. Hefner describes that some of the PII and HMI activists stood sympathetic towards the liberal ideas of the Partai Sosialis Indonesia (PSI, Indonesian Socialist Party) which was mainly concerned with social affairs.
On 2 January 1970, a number of youth organizations held a meeting to share their ideas. In the gathering attended by activists of the PII, the HMI, the GPI (Gerakan Pemuda Islam), and the Persatuan Sarjana Muslim Indonesia (Persami, Indonesian Muslim Scholars Association), the committee invited Nurcholish Madjid to deliver a speech. In the paper entitled “Keharusan Pembaharuan Pemikiran Islam dan Masalah Integrasi Umat” (The Necessity of the Renewal of Islamic Thought and the Problem of the Integration of the Islamic Community) Madjid remarked that Indonesian Muslims suffered stagnation in religious thinking and had lost the “psychological striking force” in their struggle. That was, he asserted, due to their high concentration on politics which lessened their concern with Islam in the modern era. On their political endeavour their ambition was geared to the number of Muslims and they had ignored the quality of their education, society, and economy. Finally, he summed up his political thoughts with a seminal jargon, “Islam, Yes; Politics, No.”
Madjid also included in his speech a highly controversial idea that arose dispute among Muslim figures. It was the idea of secularisation (sekularisasi) which angered Natsir, Rasyidi, Hamka etc. and was severely criticized by them. Many people assumed that Madjid’s career as an Islamic leader had ended and that he no longer had a bright future in the leadership in Indonesian Islam. However, Madjid did not retreat from his conviction that his thoughts were more empiric than those of the Muslims before him. While he returned to Chicago to continue his study, his thought had become an alternative for young thinkers in the HMI and PII. In general, however, the activists of the PII did not support the novel ideas of Madjid especially his idea of secularisation. For them Madjid’s thinking was too liberal. The most conservative of them was Abdul Qadir Djaelani, who was at the same time an activist of the GPI and the STII. There was a group of Muslims who supported Madjid’s ideas. Roem, a former senior figure of the Masyumi, admired and supported the novel ideas of Madjid. Some other Muslim thinkers who supported him, such as Usep Fathuddin and Utomo Danandjaja, reportedly were criticized and suspended from the PII in 1971. However, Madjid, Fathuddin and Danandjaja — the three foremost articulators of the novel ideas, famously nicknamed as Trio Pembaharuan — did not step back from their conviction; they even published a periodical, Bulletin Arena, devoted mainly to the discourse of renewal-oriented opinions on Islam.

E. The Government’s Attitude toward Muslims
At the same time, the government worried that its party, Golkar, would not gain 50 per cent of the votes in the 1971 general election. Therefore, the government decided that it was necessary to get the support of Muslims. It was aware that culamâs were the most important people in mobilising the Muslim community. Accordingly, the government intended to co-operate with culamâs, who more often than not lived in pesantrens. Having realized that pesantrens were facing financial problems for the development of their institutions, the government recruited an umbrella organization of Islamic educational institutions, the GUPPI (Gabungan Usaha Perbaikan Pendidikan Islam), which had become an ineffective organization. The GUPPI, which was established in 1950 and had covered Islamic educational institutions in West Java only, had hardly enough fund to execute its programs. However, the government not only co-operated with the GUPPI, but it also managed its development. After the government established branches of the GUPPI in all provinces, many culamâs were involved in the governmental political party, the Golkar. The triumph of the Golkar in the 1971 general election was due, in part, to the role of culamâs’ in some political campaigns of the Golkar.
On the other hand, the government simplified the political parties in order to reduce Muslims’ direct involvement in politics. In January 1973, the government unified the existing Islamic political parties in one party, Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP). From that moment on, many conservative Muslims were no longer involved in politics. Rather, they were involved in NGOs which were concerned with Muslim society, i.e., dacwah and education. However, there were many Muslim figures who considered that it was precisely a good opportunity for Muslims to unite in one party, the PPP, after they had been split into several parties for years. Not only did the restriction of political parties halt some Muslims’ activities in politics, but it also caused some Islamic organizations to be afraid to be involved in it. Alternatively, student organizations such as the PII and the HMI should keep themselves away from politics and reformulate new strategies. In the 1970s, therefore, the PII launched a slogan “back to school and mosque.” The restriction of Muslims in politics caused an apathy for politics by the young generation. In the beginning of 1970s a group of youths emerged who refused to vote in general elections. This group was later well known as golongan putih (abstain group).
So far, the limitations of Muslims in politics were not sufficient for the government. The government launched other regulations to “secure” the national development. Initially, it was in 1970 when the government intended to control the Muslim community. It wanted to establish a body of culamâs, the Council of Indonesian cUlamâ’ (MUI, Majlis cUlamâ’ Indonesia). Muslims’ suspicion of the government postponed this idea until July 1975, when some culamâs considered that it was necessary to remain good relationships with the government and no to be continuously suspicious of each other. However, there were a lot of culamâs who did not agree with the creation of the MUI as they considered the MUI an emasculation of culamâs’ rights. Until now, Muslims have had a low esteem of the MUI since its only function was to act as the government’s voice to the Muslim society and merely to give an Islamic lawful judgement about the government’s regulations. Rather, they paid more respect to their own organizational leaders’ verdicts.
The relationship between Islam (Muslims) and the state (the government) did not proceed well. Regardless of some government’s technical support for Muslims such as the founding of mosques, the government’s prejudice over Muslims and Muslims’ dissatisfaction with politics resulted into some incidents. To mention some of the violent conflicts between the government and radical Muslim groups, there were: the Komando Jihad affair (Hispran case), Usrah affair, Warman terror case, Imran affair (hijacking of the Woyla airplane), Tanjung Priok affair, etc. Additionally, there were other issues decreasing the relationship between the government and Muslims: the draft of a marriage law in 1974 which was too secular for Muslims, the issuance of P-4 in 1978, the issuance of the term “extreme rightists”, the issuance of the term SARA (suku, ras, agama dan golongan), the widespread of the Christian mission etc. One of the disappointment of the Muslims’ about politics was Abdul Q. Djaelani’s attempt to form the Perjuangan Revolusi Islam Indonesia. Under his leadership, Djaelani tried to disorder an ongoing meeting of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) in 1978. In addition, there were several Islamic radical movements scattered in various major cities in 1980s. According to Tamara, the resurgence of the classical problem of militant Islam was due to the annihilation of the communist threat in Indonesia. The most obvious was Imran Muhammad Zein’s attempt to re-open the issue the of Islamic State with his movement of Dewan Revolusioner Islam Indonesia.
However, the renewal ideas of Islamic thought resulted in a better relationship. In the early 1980s, Madjid’s ideas of a Cultural Islam, which was far from political Islam, flourished among Muslim youth thinkers. Madjid was a prominent figure in the refusal of Islamic parties and the Islamic State. Muslims’ accommodative approach resulted in a positive strategy of the government towards Muslims. It was initiated by the replacement of the minister of Religious Affairs with a traditional school background, with one with an academic background, Prof. Dr. A. Mukti Ali, in an attempt by the government to “service” Muslims. Muslims perceived the government’s attitude as a generous way to create a mutual accommodation. Noer called this relationship a “loyal opposition.” The improved relationship encouraged Muslims socially to live a more religious way of life. This phenomenon was also marked by the presence of a large number of moderate Islamic organizations.
Among the youth and student organizations, the PII and the HMI remained the most significant. While almost all youth organizations affiliated with the largest organizations in Indonesia, the Muhammadiyah and NU, the PII and the HMI remained independent. Although these organizations had once been close to the Masyumi, the most prominent organization to oppose the government, they could keep a distance in order not to be involved in political affairs. It means that the PII and the HMI neither opposed nor supported the government. With regards to these organizations, their role in the past and their independency encouraged youths and students to join them. It is obvious that in the 1970s and first 1980s, the PII and HMI were the most popular youth organizations.
Pancasila remained a central element in contemporary discourse despite long-standing attempts by the government to end the debate about Pancasila. Since there were still many conflicts in practice between Islam and Pancasila, the government wanted to unite all ideologies in Pancasila. Actually, the conflicts were not so significant; there were only small groups of Muslims who opposed Pancasila and did not like the attempt to reconcile the government and Muslims. The others, knowing that Islam does not contradict Pancasila, preferred to agree with the government to work for an improved economy and a better society. However, the government viewed that it was important to unite all ideologies and reject the diversities. For this purpose, the government issued some regulations, which were all based on Pancasila: the proclamation by decree MPRS/1966 No. XX of Pancasila as the source of all law; the proclamation of P-4 (Pedoman Penghayatan and Pengamalan Pancasila) by decree no. II/MPR/1978, and, finally, the promulgation of Pancasila as the Sole Ideological Basis for political parties and social organizations, by decree no. II/MPR/1983.
In fact, the idea of Pancasila as the Sole Ideological Basis (Asas Tunggal), which was introduced several years earlier, was only meant for political parties. It was in 1973 when the government party (Golkar) proposed the Sole Ideological Basis for every political party, but it was refused by other parties. The second attempt was in 1975, but again it did not succeed apart from the obligation for all political parties to accept Pancasila beside their own ideologies. It was not until 16 August 1982 that the President introduced the same idea in the plenary meeting of the Legislative Assembly (DPR). Following that event, the President stated his idea on many national occasions. When the government proposed to launch the policy not only for political parties, but also for social organizations, there were significant reactions by Islamic organizations. The dispute over the Sole Ideological Basis took about 3 years until the Legislative Assembly acknowledged it on 3 May 1985. Finally, in 1985 the government codified the requirement in the national law that all social and political organizations must adopt Pancasila as their Sole Ideological Basis. The regulation no. 8/1985 obliged all social organizations to re-register to the Ministry of Home Affairs, and organizations which had not re-registered by 17 July 1987 would be considered to have dissolved themselves.
Muslims regarded the idea of the Sole Ideological Basis of Pancasila in many different ways. There were groups of Muslims who accepted the policy without any objection and did not regard it as a hindrance for Islamic organizations. Some other groups believed that this idea was to weaken the power of Muslims as they would no longer be allowed to state their own ideology, Islam, in their statutes. They feared that adopting Pancasila as their Sole Ideological Basis would endanger their organizations’ integrity, independence, and would even replace their ideology by a secular state ideology. The most conservative Muslims believed that this policy was intended to dissolve the unity of Muslims. However, the Asas Tunggal policy succeeded within two years. Van Bruinessen asserts that the policy would not have succeeded that smooth and fast had it not been preceded by harsh treatment of by government of some Islamic radical movements prior to the 1980s. These incidents made Muslims afraid to oppose the government, which could lead them to be called as anti-Pancasila. Since this needs a detailed explanation, I am going to study the attitude of some Islamic organizations in a separate article.

F. Conclusion
As far as the political Islam of the New Order until 1985 is concerned, several conclusions can be drawn. First, in order to secure its power the New Order regime took deliberate steps to depoliticize Islam. Second, to minimize the political role of Muslims the government used or even forced Pancasila as its means. Third, although there were radical groups of Muslims, there were moderate responses by Muslims groups leading them towards the realization of the cultural revival of Islam. Finally, the prejudice of the government towards Islam resulted in a worse relationship between the government and Islam.
There are a lot of advantages in studying Indonesian Muslim history. By recognizing the history of Indonesian Muslims during the first period of the New Order political system, I believe that Indonesian Muslims could have some teachings especially the way how Muslims should deal with the government. The “cultural approach” of Nurcholish Madjid has ensured us that the most important is not the formal things of Islam, but the essence of Islam itself. Therefore, Indonesian Muslims should not engage with political issues. Conversely, Muslims should take care of Indonesian Muslims’ actual problems such as education, poverty dan human rights. Wallahu a’lam bissowab.


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Tempo, No. 5, 6, 7, and 8, April 1981.
Ward, K.E., The Foundation of the Partai Muslimin Indonesia. (New York: Modern Indonesia Project, 1970).


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