Indonesia, Militant Islam and Ahmadiyah: Origins and Implications
ARC Federation Fellowship, ‘Islam, Shariah and Governance’ Background Paper Series No. 4, 2009
20 Pages Posted: 8 May 2010 Last revised: 13 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 11, 2010
Ahmadiyah, a minority religious community that identifies with Islam, has existed in Indonesia since the 1920s. Over the last few years, however, Ahmadiyah has experienced increasing tension and hostility from conservative, orthodox Islamic groups in Indonesia. On 1 June 2008, this culminated in a violent attack on supporters of Ahmadiyah by militant Islamic groups at the National Monument (known as ‘Monas’) in Jakarta. Shortly after this incident, the Indonesian government issued Joint Decree 3/2008 as a ‘warning’ to followers of Ahmadiyah, though stopping short of an outright ban. This paper analyses the origins of Ahmadiyah and its formation in Indonesia in particular. It examine the efforts of three key actors pushing for a total ban on Ahmadiyah in Indonesia: the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI); the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (known as ‘Bakor Pakem’); and radical Islamic groups. The author argues that although the Indonesian government compromised by issuing a ‘warning’ (not a total ban), and by prosecuting two of the leading perpetrators of the Monas incident, this has only created confusion about the status of Ahmadiyah in Indonesia and has failed to prevent further violent attacks against them.
Keywords: Ahmadiyah, Indonesia, militant Islam, law
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