Is Indonesian Secularism Waning?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 2/24/2007 08:59:00 PM
A recent article in TIME asks why stricter forms of Islam are taking hold in Indonesia, a state which used to be referred to as a proponent of moderate Islam. In the past, the state practiced the principle of pancasila, for
In contrast to Muslim nationalists who insisted on an Islamic identity for the new state, the framers of the Pancasila insisted on a culturally neutral identity, compatible with democratic or Marxist ideologies, and overarching the vast cultural differences of the heterogeneous population. Like the national language-- Bahasa Indonesia --which Sukarno also promoted, the Pancasila did not come from any particular ethnic group and was intended to define the basic values for an "Indonesian" political culture.
Reasons given for the resurgence of Islamic identification include:

1. Economic hardships which continue in the wake of the Asian financial crisis;
2. Widening inequality;
3. Perceived government ineptitude in dealing with drugs, prostitution, and corruption;
4. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's reluctance to offend the Islamic movement;
5. Large funding for religious institutions by Middle East states.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. It maintains separation of mosque and state. If it tilts towards a less tolerant kind of Islam, Samuel "Clash of Civilizations" Huntington may be further venerated as he has been by the outcome of the Iraq invasion.