Attempts to Alter Pancasila A Threat to Unity, NU Chief
Indonesia must do everything possible to prevent the state ideology of Pancasila from being replaced by a doctrine that promulgates an Islamic caliphate or nationwide implementation of Shariah law, two prominent Indonesian leaders warned this week.
Both leaders, one religious and one military, said that such a development would split the nation along irreconcilable lines.
Said Aqil Siradj, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, said on Friday that a number of religious groups and mass organizations were attempting to revive the “Jakarta Charter,” which stipulates that the first principle of Pancasila — the belief in one supreme god — must be amended to include the phrase “with the obligation to execute the Islamic Shariah by the faithful.”
The Jakarta Charter was adopted on June 2, 1945, by the Committee of Nine — which was preparing for Indonesia’s independence — as a compromise between hard-line Muslim and nationalist camps.
However, the addendum was deleted by Vice President Mohamad Hatta on Aug. 18, 1945, a day after the proclamation of independence, because the founding fathers realized that such a stipulation would turn the young republic into an exclusively Islamic state.
Since then, there have been attempts to alter the state ideology. Many of these have been pushed by groups deemed as subversive by the military, including Darul Islam (DI), led by Sekarmandji Maridjan Kartosuwirjo, who was executed by a firing squad in 1962. The strands of his teachings were picked up by a loosely organized movement called the Indonesian Islamic State (NII), which still survives to this day.
Last week, former intelligence chief A.M. Hendropriyono said that the Darul Islam group had been reformed asJemaah Anshorut Tauhid, which is led by Abdurrahman, son of jailed cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
Hendropriyono said he believes such extremism “would only disappear if Indonesia had become the caliphate that the radicals had dreamed about.”
In the past few weeks, police have been cracking down on suspected terror networks in various parts of the country that were reportedly inspired by radical Islamic doctrines that seek to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia — an ambition shared by DI and Jemaah Islamiyah.
“Such desires represent a time bomb that could explode and disintegrate the nation,” NU chairman Siradj said. “It’s time Indonesia returned to faithful implementation of Pancasila.”
He added that since the state ideology is non-negotiable and unchangeable, any organization that seeks to alter it must be disbanded.
Pancasila constitutes part of the Four Pillars of the Nation, which includes the 1945 Constitution, and the principles of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia and Unity in Diversity.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday in Surabaya, the commander of the Indonesian Military (TNI), Adm. Agus Suhartono told a gathering of extended family members of Armed Forces troops, known as FKPPI, that such threats were real and should be investigated and stopped at any cost because “national unity and the Unitary Republic of Indonesia cannot be bargained.”
However, the TNI chief also told the audience he believed that Indonesia did not have enough national leaders with the passion to “instill the spirit of patriotism and defense of the motherland” in society. Therefore, FKPPI must produce such leaders, he said.
In his prepared text, which was read aloud, Suhartono asserted that democratization in a globalized world has created an environment of freedom that could be used by radicals to poison society with subversive ideas. So, a comprehensive but decisive response is needed to preserve stability.
FKPPI sources told the Jakarta Globe on Saturday that in its declaration of commitment, the organization had warned the nation of “the dangers of communist and disruptive ideologies ruining national stability” even at a time when communism is no longer a threat in many parts of the world.
The FKPPI declaration includes a call for concerted action against radicalism and terrorism, which it said cannot be taken lightly given that behind the actions of terrorists are ideas that cannot be eradicated completely and will continue to threaten society. The declaration also called for concerted action to abolish corruption and the mismanagement of natural resources, saying that they had weakened the nation in myriad ways.
Analysts and terror experts have said that such radical ideas are easily blown out of proportion when the issue of insulting Islam or the Prophet Muhammad is involved. The latest example is the growing anti-American sentiment triggered by the film “Innocence of Muslims” that has caused riots across the Middle East and North Africa, and has resulted in the death of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
Siradj was quoted on Saturday by the Suara Pembaruan newspaper as calling on Muslims in Indonesia to remain calm and “approach the issue with a cool head.”
“We deplore those who insult the Prophet Muhammad, but again this must be done with a cool head. There is no need to take to the street and burn anything. Do not create chaos,” Siradj said during NU’s national congress in Cirebon, West Java.
Siradj’s response to the growing anger is an indication that the NU will continue to uphold both Islamic teachings and national unity.
And the chairman has reaffirmed his organization’s commitment to the doctrines of Pancasila, even calling on Saturday for groups that threaten the state ideology to be disbanded. He declined to name any such groups, however.
A number of Islamic organizations have in recent years gained a reputation for being disruptive and even radical, but little action has been taken against them by the government.
Analysts say that the government’s reluctance to confront suspected extremist religious organizations stems from those groups’ potentially incendiary embrace of religion.