Attention has been focused on the emergence of radical groups associated with Islam in Indonesia. Discuss if this is a new phenomenon in Indonesia.

Essay by iamsamUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, August 2009

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IntroductionIn recent years, there has been a lot of attention focussed on the emergence and activities of radical or extremists groups associated with Islam in Indonesia. But such radicalism is not a new phenomenon in Indonesia. Indonesia has gone through many changes beginning with the occupation of the Dutch, then the Japanese during World War 2 and later when Indonesia became an independent nation. These changes were attributed to the politics and identity struggle. In the years after 1908, liberalism, nationalism, socialism and communism combined with Islamic influence gave rise to many political organisations and anti-colonial movements (Aspinall and Berger 2001: 1005). The place of Islam played an important role in Indonesia’s politics and identity struggle, bringing about independence, reformation and extremism. However, the name of Islam has too often been used to promote an agenda as in the case of Indonesian politics bringing with it death, destruction and deception in order to establish an Islamic state with Sharia as the state law.

It is uncertain if these agendas were sincerely to establish an Islamic state, or it is a propaganda tool used by governments to influence its people to respond in a certain way, or it is a bit of both. The Bali and Jakarta bombings are examples of death, destruction and deception where only time will reveal the truth.

Pre-independenceThe Bali and Jakarta bombings may have been the largest, but it is by no means the first. Indonesia has seen many terrorist attacks post independence, many of which used the Islamic agenda to promote their cause, but have shown to have Indonesian military involvement (Bruinessen 2002). Indonesia has a history of struggle with radical groups pushing forward their goals and changing the face of Indonesia’s politics and identity. Since the occupation of the Dutch, such groups whether it...