ISLAM in Indonesia/Malaysia is UNIQUE
Can Orthodoxy and Liberalism Both Co-Exist in Islam?
The evolution of the religious heritage of Indonesia is unique, and so are the characteristics of Indonesian Islam, influenced no doubt by her prior cultures of Shamanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, her colonial era and now independence. But the Indonesian culture, perched on the cross-roads of Asia and Africa, China and Australia, must resolve herself in the next few years, perhaps sooner than later. Much will depend on the external influences on her people and the resolve of those same people to determine their own future destiny. The world will watch with keen anticipation.
Can South East Asian Islam evolve a mild and peaceful Islam different from that in the Middle East and Pakistan, or will orthodoxy prevail with time?
- Early Man and Shamanism in South East Asia
- Early Indonesian Kingdoms
- The spread of Austronesian origins reached northern Philippines in about 3000BCE and eastern Indonesia and Borneo by 2000 BCE. Java, Sumatra and New…
- The Jawa Dwipa HINDU KINGDOM in Java and Sumatra: 200BCE
- The Taruma Kingdom or Tarumanagara Empire (Hindu)
- The Srivijaya Kingdom (Hindu)
- The Majapahit Kingdom (Hindu)
- The Sultanate of Malacca (conversion to Islam 1409)
- Buddhism in Indonesia
- Sailendra Dynasty and Borobudur Temple
- Without a doubt early Arab Muslims and Indian Muslims must have had some influence on their local trading partners in the Indonesian isles and may…
- * Indonesian Language, Literacy & Religious Cognisance
- The Spread of Islam in Indonesia
- “Indonesia, Saudi Arabia Strengthen relations through LIPIA
- The Role of Sultans before Colonialism
- Sultans Reasserting Their Lost Powers
- The Influence of more Defined Cultures on Austronesian (Indonesian) Culture
- Indonesian views on Religion
- Salafi Influence in Modern Indonesia
- Islam in Modern Indonesia
- Islam in Indonesia (a Hypothesis)
- Pacific Islanders were content peoples
- “In the Muslim world, Indonesia is unique
- Summary: Indonesian Islam’s Uniqueness
- Buddhism (5th Century)
- Hinduism (4th Century)
- Islam (15th Century)
- [A6] Indonesian Islam Shattering Puritanism:A
Indonesia in the Pleistocene period, 1.8 million to about 10,000 years ago, was linked to the Asian mainland. Homo Sapiens evolving from the heart of Africa journeyed and settled the whole world. [1a] From Africa the reached Asia and then the Americas. Thus the peoples from Yunnan crucible spread to Australasia evolved from the same human source but were altered with the influence of environment, trading, and religions that were introduced into their cultures. However, in the process of human evolution, there arose the need for the healing of the sick and the elevation of pain from the afflicted and this gave birth to Shamanism. Thus shamanistic healing, evolved alongside human evolution, and this gave birth to the need of understanding spirituality, the birth of the need for religion. This was man’s need to gain cognisance of the world about him and to be able to relate cause and effect.
Early Indonesian Kingdoms
The spread of Austronesian origins reached northern Philippines in about 3000BCE and eastern Indonesia and Borneo by 2000 BCE. Java, Sumatra and New Guinea was reached around 1500 and 1000 BCE.
The Jawa Dwipa HINDU KINGDOM in Java and Sumatra: 200BCE
The Taruma Kingdom or Tarumanagara Empire (Hindu)
The Srivijaya Kingdom (Hindu)
The Majapahit Kingdom (Hindu)
The Sultanate of Malacca (conversion to Islam 1409)
The Portuguese found in India that conquest was the only way to establish themselves in Malacca. So in April 1511, Afonso de Albuquerque set sail from Goa with a force of 1200 men and 18 ships for Malacca. There the viceroy requested permission to build a fortress to protect there trading post near Malacca, but this was rejected and all demands refused by the Sultan. Fighting broke out and after 40 days of fighting Malacca fell to the Portuguese on August 24, 1511, and Sultan Mahmud Shah fled Malacca.
Later, in 1641 the Dutch conquered Malacca. Through the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 Malacca became under the domain of Britain and in 1957 Malacca joined other Malay States to form Malaya and in 1963 Malaya, with Sarawak, Sabah, and Singapore became independent of British rule and Malaysia was created. 
Buddhism in Indonesia
The two major kingdoms in Indonesia, Tarumanegara in Western Java and Kutai in Western Borneo were both Hindu kingdoms. These religions were introduced by merchants from the continent of India trading with the spice islands. Buddhism followed Hinduism by a few hundred years and reached its peak at the time of the Sriwijaya dynasty and flourished from the 7th century to the 14th century. During that period there were many temples built and centres of learning of Buddhism established associated with such scholars as Dharmapala and Sakyakirti, who taught there.
Kutai is the traditional name for East Kalimantan in Borneo. The Dayak people speak the Kutai language. The Kutai’s early history from about 350 CE to 400 CE was the Kutai Martadipura period. Based on the seven stone pillars, yupa posts (sacrificial posts) found at the Kaman Estuary, the stone were inscribed with Pallava script of India and stated, “A gift to the Brahmin priests” clearly showing the Hindu presence. The writing bore the style dated to the 4th century. Indian traders arrived in these islands from the 2nd century.
By the end of the 13th century, the kingdom of Kutai Kartanegara was established and in 1635-1650 Aji Pangeran Sinum Panji Mendapa ruled and conquered Kutai Martadipura and then merged the two realms.
In 1667 the Dutch VOC attacked Makassar on Sulawesi that lead to the downfall of the Bugis kingdom of Gowa. By the 17th century Islam took hold of the region with the ruler Aji Muhammad Idrris, 1732-1739 bearing an Islamic name. In 1844 the Dutch defeated Sultan Aji Muhammad Salehudin and took control of Kutai. 
Sailendra Dynasty and Borobudur Temple
The Mataram kingdom, that was ruled by the Sailendra clan during the 8th and 9th centuries was located in Central Java. Many of Buddhist texts were inscribed on stone tablets that exist today and known locally as “prasasti.”
One of the best known temples is at Borobudur and listed as on the the Seven Wonders of the world. Borobudur represents three views of the universe according to the Indian Vajrayana traditions. The apex of the stucture is a stupa, which re[resents the concepts of Emptiness or Sunnata.
Archaeologists have estimated, based on the style of the stone inscriptions found that the construction of the Borobudur Temple began around 760 CE and completed about 830 CE during the reign of King Samaratunga, in its Golden Age. The Sailendras were of foreign origin and came from India or indirectly from Indo China. The Sailendras ruled Java and Sumatra from the 8th to the 13th centuries. The Sailendras built many Buddhist shrines during the period 700 to 900 CE. They were fervent Buddhists, and many centres of learning and scholarship were established during that period.
Buddhism must have flourished during that period and their fervour, and wealth of that period afforded them to build this monument to Buddhism, the Borobudur Temple because it would have required tremendous planning, skills and manpower to have erected this colossal monument of piety. It would have required them to move 45,700 cubic yards of rocks and mountain sides and from river beds, and fitted together by masons without the use of mortar. Skilled masons would have been required to carve religious images from these blocks of stone. There would have had to be an infrastructure to meet the needs of these artisans and their supervisors like food, resting places, and medical requirements and social requirements. Large populations would have been required to build something that is probably more complex and architecturally superior in all respects to the pyramids of Egypt. A planned and coordinated project that lasted some 70 years to achieve, in the hot tropics in the 9th century. Archeologists also established that the whole monument was covered with a white plaster, a plaster that was as hard as diamond or “vajjalaypa” that enhanced the temple and made it visible from miles away. It must have been an awesome sight. 
Records from the 9th and 10th centuries show that Borobudur Temple as a centre of pilgrimage for over 150 years. Chinese coins and ceramics found at the site date back to the 11th through to the 15th centuries, indicating that pilgrims must have journeyed from China or Indo China to pay homage to Buddhism.
Yet despite this devotion and religious activity during that period, Buddhism today plays a very insignificant part in their religious practices. A phenomenon difficult to appreciate but it must bear an effect on the psyche of the people.
During the rule of the Majapahit kingdom between the 13th and 15th ccentury, Buddhism and Hinduism coexisted peacefully. But after the fall of the Mahapahit empire, Islam was introduced to Indonesia by merchants from India. The more aggressive Islamic religion soon pushed Buddhism and Hinduism to the side and their influence decreased. 
Borobudur (Buddhist) Temple, Indonesia. (One of the 7 Wonders of the World.)
Buddhist Temple at Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The similarity of the architecture is uncanny despite the the geographical separation of the two sites. The skills must have come for a similar source, Indian Buddhism and of a similar period. Quite magnificent. 
Without a doubt early Arab Muslims and Indian Muslims must have had some influence on their local trading partners in the Indonesian isles and may have intermarried or set up local praying houses wherever they stayed, they did not have a permanent influence one the largely Buddhist/Hindu Indonesian populace. The first substantial Islamic influence, in my opinion, stems from the conversion of Paduka Sri Maharaja Parameswara, a member of the royal family of Srivijaya, a Hindu and who had established the Sultanate of Malacca, but through his marriage to a Muslim Princess from Pasai, to Islam in 1409. The Sultanate of Malacca extended from Phuket and Pattani in the North to most of Sumatra in the South West. Islam established itself in North Sumatra by the early 15th century. Up to then Indonesia was basically Buddhist and Hindu. This started the transformation of Indonesia into an Islamic nation.
Increasing trade between the Middle Eastern and Indian Muslims, created the right conditions for the local Indonesian traders to adopt the religious observance of their wealthy traders. As trade increased, royalty of the major kingdoms prospered and thus took notice and began to adopt Islam to accommodate the wealthy merchants. The dominant kingdoms that changed into Sultanates were the Mataram Sultanate, the Ternate Sultante and the Tidore sultanate on the Maluku Islands in the east.
The conversion of the Buddhist/Hindu Indonesian population to Islam was a slow and complex process. But much had to do with the influence of the influence of the Indonesian rulers of the time. By the late 15th century, the great Majapahit Empire in Java was in decline and was defeated in several battles. The last Hindu kingdom was extinguished by the rising power of the Sultanate of Demark in 1520. After this, Islam in Java began to spread throughout Indonesia and largely influenced by the Wali Songo (the Nine Saints.) 
* Indonesian Language, Literacy & Religious Cognisance
5th century stone engravings/carvings found in Indonesia provides evidence that Sanskrit had been introduced by Hindu Priests from India. Later writing systems based on Devanagari and other Indian scripts appeared in the Malay and regional languages in Bali, Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi.
But by 1928 Bahasa Indonesia was adopted by the Nationalists as the official language of Indonesia. With the introduction of the Roman Alphabet into Bahasa Indonesia by the Dutch, who found the language useful for communication in the region, the language skills of the Indonesians has taken off despite a very slow start.
To provide a perspective, When Indonesia declared Independence from the Netherlands in 1945 only 5% of the population could read and write (Napitupulu 1980. The illiteracy prior to 1945 must have been only a fraction of this 5%. This is a very significant benchmark). This marks a demarcation of the change in Indonesia. In 35 years, in 1980 almost 70% of the population ages 15 years of older were literate. By 2000 that figure had grown to 87% Literacy (UNESCO 1999.) 
Between the 13th and 17th centuries large scale conversion of Indonesians to Islam, introduced the Arabic writing that developed into the Jawi and Pegon scripts for Malay and Javanese, respectively. This new script was used for both secular and religious matters and largely used for the translation of Arabic literature for use in Malay and Javanese.
These extracts are from the following file:
The Spread of Islam in Indonesia
The spread of Islam began by devout Muslim scholars or “ulama” who began preaching from little training centres called “pondok” giving lectures and teaching Islam from prayer houses, mosques, while working among the community to novices. These novices, upon graduating, would return to their villages and start spreading what he had learned. The “ulama” being better educated than the illiterate villagers, began playing an important role in the village community. They also acted as advisers and counsellors as well as teachers to the village. Hence the role of the “ulama” began to play an important and unifying role in that community. The central influence of the “ulama” and later the “Imam” and that of the “Sultan” play a central role in the hierarchy of Islam.
The Pondok schools served as an educational and community centre for the locals. The unifying factor for all these different schools that gave strong ties between them was the uniformity of the system of instruction, and language used, and the ensuing codes of behaviour and laws that ensued. These removed any ambiguity and doubts of the codes of behaviour, and all this was based on the One and Only reliable and unchanging guide, the Holy Quran. This uniformity and the concept of belonging to a much larger family, the Islamic Ummah was a powerful factor in binding the peoples together. It became unifying, and not divisive.
But with the advent of western colonial powers in the region and the introduction of their systems of education, the local Muslims realised that the pondok schools could not compete with the standards of education of the colonial systems and decided improve their own systems. In 1916, in Pulau Pinang, the Muslims set up the Madrassatul Mashoor al-Islamiyah using the Arabic language of instruction, and teaching a similar curriculum as that used in Pakistan and other Middle Eastern countries.  A typical example of such curricula can be found in this following article, “A Madrassa Curriculum.” 
The growth of the pasantren, the oldest Islamic educational institutions in Indonesia, as well as the more modern madrassahs and private Islamic schools indicates the growing support for Islamic religious knowledge among the Indonesian communities. The Pesantren Darul Ulum is located in the eastern part of Jombang. and was established in 1885 by a young kiai, Tamim, who originated from the Madura island.  Also about the same period, Kyai Hasyim Asy’ari (1871-1947), set the model for pesantren and ulama in Java by founding “Pesantren Tebuireng Jombang East Java. As the education amongst Indonesians about Islam continues and becomes more sophisticated, their devotion will certainly grow in depth in understanding of the holy scriptures.    As there is but one absolute guide to Islam based on the Quran and the Hadiths and the History of Islam, the inevitability will be the conformity of Islamic idealisms and ideologies. Islam is strict and precise in its ideology and is exclusive of any liberalisms.
At a different level, Indonesia’s contact with the Islamic world brings it under Middle Eastern influence. For example Saudi Arabia is strengthening her relations with Indonesia through the Institute of Arab Sciences (LIPIA) in Jakarta.
“Indonesia, Saudi Arabia Strengthen relations through LIPIA
Friday, January 30, 2009 16:11
Jakarta (ANTARA nEWS) – Indonesia and Saudi Arabia strengthened bilateral relations through the establishment of the Institute of Islamic and Arab Sciences (LIPIA) in Jakarta, Indonesia, director of LIPIA, Dr. Abdullah bin Hudhaidh Al-Sulami, said.
“LIPIA is an example of the good relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia which is based on Islam as major religious belief in both country and the similar point of view shared between its leaders,” Abdullah said at the graduation ceremony here Thursday.
He explained Indonesia as a country with the biggest Muslim community in the world and Saudi Arabia as the centre of world`s Muslim activity were brothers which needed to have close relationship.
“Muslims everywhere are one which unite under one holy Koran written on Arabic language,” he said.
Realizing not all humans could read or understand Arabic, Abdullah said, the government of Saudi Arabia made an initiative to establish LIPIA under the supervision of Imam Muhammad bin Saud University, Saudi Arabia.
LIPIA was established in 1980 in which the funds coming from the Saudi Arabia Kingdom. The institution`s objectives are spreading Arabic language worldwide, preparing experts on the teaching of Arabic to the Non-Arabs, developing Arabic curriculum in Islamic-based universities worldwide, donating aids to universities and schools, collecting scientific writings about practical language and Arabic teaching sector, and holding trainings for Arabic language teachers.
LIPIA campus now has five language laboratories completed with modern technology, modern classroom, free internet services for the lecturers and students, website of the institution.
This campus also has the biggest Arabic library in South east Asia with collection of more than 30,000 books.
Up till now, LIPIA`s alumnae have reached 8604 scattered across Indonesia. ” 
Yet, with the grim determination for the Wahhabis to use every vehicle to export their version of Islam, is the LIPIA one such vehicle?
“Saudi Arabia Continues to Export Radical Wahhabism
Jim Kouri, CPPJanuary 09, 2006
Wahhabism is a fundamentalist movement, named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703-1792). It remains the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia.
Wahhabism was a considered a small sect within Islam until the discovery of oil in Arabia, in 1938. Enormous oil revenues provided the means to spread the beliefs of Wahhabism throughout the Middle East. Saudi laypeople, government officials and clerics have donated many tens of millions of dollars to create Wahhabi-oriented religious schools, newspapers and outreach organizations.
US government and other experts have reported that Islamic extremism is on the rise and that the spread of Islamic extremism is the pre-eminent threat facing the United States. In addition, various sources alleged that Saudi Arabia is one source that has supported and funded the spread of Islamic extremism, or Wahabbism, globally.” 
The Role of Sultans before Colonialism
A sultan (Arabic: سلطان) is an Islamic monarch ruling under the terms of shariah. The title carries moral weight and religious authority, as the ruler’s role was defined in the Quran. The sultan however was not a religious teacher himself. 
The dignity and authority that Islam gave to a Sultan, was more than enough to appeal to most Sultans to convert to Islam. It gave him a moral and religious authority over his people and was spelt out in the Quran itself, and that incentive was not offered in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, or Christianity. This would be a big factor in the decision to adopt Islam as it provided the blessings of Allah upon his status. And once the Sultan was a Muslim making decisions of his subjects with Sharia Law, what choice had the subjects? This could well be the reason for the rapid conversion of the population into Islam.
Sultans Reasserting Their Lost Powers
The following excerpts are to illustrate the formidable powers lost by the Sultans during the European colonial rule of their territories.
“Thursday November 27, 2008
Sultans flex their muscle
ANALYSIS by BARADAN KUPPUSAMY
Several instances in recent months indicate that the Sultans are prepared to play more than a ceremonial role and exert authority where elected political authority is weak and indecisive.
THE bold manner in which the Royal houses of Selangor and Perak baulked with the National Fatwa Council over the tomboy and yoga issues should have been anticipated by Muslim conservatives behind the edicts (fatwa).
Islam and Malay culture and practices are about all that’s left of the Rulers’ once formidable powers, and they guard them jealously.
But increasingly since the March 8 general election, they have discarded their ceremonial role and are speaking up to defend the Constitution, rule of law and multiculturalism.
The controversial fatwa coming one after another and without adequate consultation and public debate and against strong opposition from Muslim moderates, naturally invite royal interference and rebuke.
On Monday, the Sultan of Selangor made it clear that nobody, including the council, should usurp his authority as head of Islam in his state.
The Sultan hoped that future edicts affecting the public would be referred to the Conference of Rulers before an announcement is made.
In Perak, a state government official immediately retracted an earlier statement that the state would adopt the fatwa.
“Royal consent is needed,” said Datuk Jamry Sury, head of the State Islamic Religious Department.
The sacking of Jamry by the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak in May and his immediate re-reinstatement on the orders of the Sultan is another example of the readiness of rulers to exert their new-found authority.
These episodes in recent months indicate that the Sultans, sidelined from active national political life over the past two decades, are prepared to play more than a ceremonial role.
The involvement up to now has been for the good of society and generally welcomed by the people.
“The Sultans are speaking up as defenders of the faith, the Constitution and articulators of national peace, stability and progress,” said Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan.
“It is perfectly all right for them to speak up,” she said, adding that the Rulers know their role as defined in the constitution and would not cross the line into political activism.
“In recent years, the country has been shaken by debates on race, religion and the demand to rewrite the social contract,” she said.
“Politicians are exploiting the issue but the Sultans are speaking up to check and balance.”
At one time the rulers had more powers but a 1983 amendment took away their veto power over laws. In 1993, their immunity from prosecution was removed.
In effect they reign, not rule. Nevertheless, by law and convention they do have leeway in matters like the formation of state governments, appointment of the Mentri Besar and convening or abrogating state assemblies.
They did use their powers effectively to restore “order and balance” during the formation of the Pakatan Rakyat state governments after the March 8 general election.
The Sultans have effectively flexed their muscle in situations where there is fear and division over the relentless “march of Islam” and its clash with right to privacy and fundamental rights.
The Sultans, who have the stature and implicit authority, have intervened in the case of the fatwa against yoga. In contrast, the political leadership is seen as either in agreement with the conservatives or silent.
Their involvement is all the more significant because even the courts have not offered a solution satisfactory to all stakeholders on such contentious issues as conversion and freedom of religion.
Clearly, the long dormant rulers are emerging new stakeholders.
Nevertheless, despite their fine intentions and growing public support, rulers have had their moment in history having relinquished executive authority to the people.
The good thing is they have not shown any intention to intrude into or supplant the growth of a vibrant democracy with effective check and balances which is the only viable political authority for the people.” 
The Influence of more Defined Cultures on Austronesian (Indonesian) Culture
Indonesian views on Religion
The Indonesian Constitution states, “every person shall be free to choose and to practice the religion of his/her choice” and “guarantees all persons the freedom of worship, each according to his/her own religion of belief.” The government officially only recognises 6 religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
In 2007, the population was estimated as 234, 693, 997 and based on the 2000 census, Muslims were 86.1 %; Protestants were 5.7 %; Catholics were 3%; Hindu were 1.8% and others were 3.4 % of which Buddhists were a little more than 1% or 1.8 million people and are concentrated in Jakarta, and other provinces like Riau, North Sumatra and West Kalimantan. 
The declared Indonesian State philosophy is “Pancasila.” This means:
It comprises five principles held to be inseparable and interrelated:
1. Belief in the one and only God, (in Indonesian, Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa).
2. Just and civilized humanity, (in Indonesian, Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab).
3. The unity of Indonesia, (in Indonesian, Persatuan Indonesia).
4. Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives, and (in Indonesian, Kerakyatan Yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan, Dalam Permusyawaratan Perwakilan, dan)
5. Social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia (in Indonesian, Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia) 
Salafi Influence in Modern Indonesia
Despite the gentle and benign beginnings of Islam in Indonesia there are signs of Salafi influence in modern Indonesia.
After the fall of the Suharto regime, various orthodox Muslim paramilitary groups emerged. Prominent were Fron Pembela Islam (FPI), Laskar Mujahidin and Laskar Jihad. Laskar Jihad was disbanded in 2002.
Salafi (Wahhabi) movement began in Indonesia as a peacefulk non-political movement, But with the rise of Saudi Arabian influence in the resurgence of Islamic fervour political Islam became a reality.
The rise of Saudi influence came from local organisations such as the Dewan Dakway Indonesia (Dakwah Council of Indonesia.) Saudi Arabia also established an institution known as LIPIA (Institute of Islamic and Arab Studies) a subtle way of influencing Indonesian Islamic views and which is affiliated with Saudi’s University in Cairo. Members of this institute then joined in an Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union. When these Jihadists returned to Indonesia they established Salafi type foundations such as As-Sunnah, Majlis Al-Turath, Al-Sofwa, Iajnah Al-Kahirriyah, Al-Rahmah and Wahdah Islamiyah. The Salafi teachings reassert the fundamentals of the Quran and the Sunnah, Tawhid, al-wala and al-bara, impermissible of hizbiyah, hakimiyah, impermissible of democracy and jihad. These views rejects the likes of Hasan Al-Hanna, Sayyid Qutb, and abu Bakar Bassyir. 
Islam in Modern Indonesia
The views of Islam in Indonesia by the conference of the US-Indonesian Society and the Asia Foundation can be summarised in a few paragraphs:
• The increase in Islamic radicalism is due basically to the “abrupt decline of central government authority together with the demoralization of the police.” There is no conspiracy at the centre directing radical groups but rather a breakdown in governance at the centre and an inability or unwillingness to prevent the excesses of individual players.
• The vast majority of Indonesian Muslims remain tolerant and inclusive, as they have been traditionally described, and voted for secular political parties in the last elections in June 1999. Although Islamic piety has increased in recent years there has been no increase in the number of radical Muslims.
• There has always been tension between the majority view and small groups that have pushed for more orthodox, conservative, literal interpretations of Islam. These more conservative groups have been mostly indigenous although there have always been ties between Indonesian Muslims and Muslims elsewhere. These groups have had varying agendas and
varying degrees of activism. International connections are not necessarily terrorist connections.
• The presence of al Qaeda in Indonesia has not been proven. However intelligence reports about the activities of individuals in various South east Asia countries are credible and should be investigated cooperatively among those countries.
• The Laskar Jihad is the most flamboyant and militant of the Islamic organizations. There is ample reason to presume it receives its funding from internal sources, including individuals from the former elite of the New Order who have vast sums of money at their disposal.
• The Islamic-oriented political parties are in disarray and are ineffective. There is no likelihood of Indonesia becoming an Islamic State. Islamic politics is less about doctrine than about power struggles of individuals and groups seeking to maintain their positions.
• Democratisation will not proceed in Indonesia until it is actively supported by the Islamic community and until the values of democracy are explicitly articulated as compatible with Islamic doctrine.
• Civil society, however important, will not create a democracy unless it is linked to state institutions and reinforced by actions of the government.
• Despite its relatively small size, Islamic radicalism in Indonesia poses a danger because it may c0-0pt the moderate majority in the absence of effective counter measures.
• The United States should not over emphasise the threat of radical groups in Indonesia because it will give them the publicity they seek, enable them to play the “nationalist” card, provoke a negative reaction among moderates and increase bilateral tension.
• The best way for the United States to counter radicalism will be to continue assistance to democracy-building institutions and continue support for economic recovery.
• The United States should help the police in training to maintain law and order, and should look toward increased military to military relations within the bounds of current U.S. law. 
I do not subscribe entirely to all these politically correct expressed views as it is more complex than stated above.
Islam in Indonesia (a Hypothesis)
The cultural evolution of the Indonesian culture is unique and unprecedented for this very reason, that Indonesians transformed themselves from ancient times as:
(1) Primitive superstitious spiritualists/shamanism to
(2) Devoted Hindus then to
(3) Devoted Buddhists, and then to
(4) Followers of Islam,
all these changes took place between the 4th and the 15 centuries. So in a span of 11 centuries a peoples altered their beliefs through 4 totally different belief systems. This has occurred with no other cultures in the world and so this quite unique. Most communities will remain within one faith throughout time.
“The elections of June 1999 have meanwhile shown that radical political Islam does not have much of a constituency in Indonesia. Indonesian Muslims voted overwhelmingly for parties that were not exclusively Muslim and that emphasised an Indonesian identity that incorporates ethnic and religious diversity.
This is not to say that Islam is retreating from the public sphere and that globalisation reins in Islamisation. The visibility of Islam and public performance of Islamic ritual go on increasing. In the present phase of globalisation, however, a wide range of Islamic influences have become available, and Indonesians eclectically pick what pleases them. Unlike in the past, when Meccan Islam represented the example to be emulated, there is not a single authoritative form of Islam. Individuals enter into networks that link them with Muslim movements in various parts of the globe, they read books and journals reflecting a wide range of Muslim thought, they try out various Muslim life-styles. The various global influences appear not to be leading to a homogeneous “Middle Eastern” type of Islam but to an ever growing variety of ways of being Muslim.” 
Buddhism and Hinduism were of course based on Sanskrit. It would have been impossible for Indonesians in the 7th to the 14th centuries to have studied either Buddhism or Hinduism to any depth to appreciate the true significance of those religions as it the religious text of those religions were in a foreign and unknown language, Sanskrit, amongst the Indonesians. So whatever the Indonesians gleaned of these two religions must have been very superficial and ritualistic. This is the reason that this shallow veneer of Buddhism and Hinduism could have been so easily discarded for Islam in the 15th century. Buddhism and Hinduism are both religions believing in re-incarnation, and the seeking of self elevation and self purity in order to seek a higher elevation in the next life. They are certainly religions that do not believe in taking away any form of life as that life could have been the reincarnation of a loved one. They were both passive religions and of peace.These two religions, were superseded by Islam, of quite a different philosophy. But it was a more proactive religion and had appeal to the Muslims for reasons discussed in this article. But like Buddhism, and Hinduism, Islamic theology, and teachings were in Arabic, and the Muslims believed that only the true essence of Islam could only be appreciated in Arabic. This is a foreign and unknown language in Indonesia, but in order to learn about Islam it was originally only taught in Arabic. But in the 15th century it would have been rare to find any Indonesian with a grasp of the Arabic language. So Islam had to be transmitted through recitation of the Quran in Arabic, in a language totally foreign to the Malay language. There can be no doubt that the depth of cognisance of Islam with the Indonesian culture must have at best been and still is quite superficial. Even today, the number of Arabic scholars of Islam in Indonesia must be extremely limited.
This raises several points. (1) Although Indonesians identify themselves as Muslims, and know the external rituals of Islam, what is their true perception of the ideology of Islam in relation to their pious and devotional concepts of the philosophy of Islam? The reason why this question is raised is because there is a perception that Indonesians do not seem to practice Islam as the Arabs in Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or Pakistan do. This can be understood only when we have considered all the facts discussed in this article. Such as, comprehension of languages, the earlier illiteracy of the people in their formative years of knowing about Islam, their different way of life, the availability of sufficiently scholastic preacher’s of Islam. And the intellectual development of the Muslim population to truly appreciate the philosophy of Islam in detail and in depth. (2) If Indonesian Islam is in a transitional phase, will Indonesia develop a unique form of Islam, different from the Arabian/Pakistan type of Islam, or will they slowing drift to join up this orthodox Islam. If like most Islamic societies, that Indonesia as a Muslim nation, accepts the Quran (as it stands), as their Holy Book, and accept the Hadiths as part of the traditions of Islam, and accept the Sharia Laws as Islamic laws based on the Qur’an, then the only possible direction for Indonesia is to fall in line with the orthodoxy as practised in the Arabian Peninsular. Otherwise, Indonesia will drift away from orthodox Islam into a new Indonesian religion which cannot be accepted as Islam.
Pacific Islanders were content peoples
Prior to 1945, due to the dispersal of the population over the 13,000 to 17,000 islands and with the diversity of the different tribal and village dialects, and the lack of central government or control with the lack of educational facilities, illiteracy and a peasant mentality and outlook would be common and expected. But where food (fish and game), and tropical foods were abundant, there was little need for tribal competition for resources, as in the African Islamic countries. Thus the people in the tropical islands did not have to fight one another for survival. Their nature and philosophy of life was much more peaceful and tolerant of others. These islanders were easy going complacent people living in a tropical paradise with nothing to fear except the acts of god such as violent storms and earth-quakes and volcanoes for which they attributed to god. Their comprehension and cognisance was basic even approaching primitive. And with such simple and innocent peoples, Indian and Arab traders brought with them their beliefs of Buddhism and Hinduism and Islam.
Buddhism and Hinduism were of course based on Sanskrit. It would have been impossible for Indonesians in the 7th to the 14th centuries to have studied either Buddhism or Hinduism to any depth to appreciate the true significance of those religions as it the religious text of those religions were in a foreign and unknown language, Sanskrit, amongst the Indonesians. So whatever the Indonesians gleaned of these two religions must have been very superficial and ritualistic. This is the reason that this shallow veneer of Buddhism and Hinduism could have been so easily discarded for Islam in the 15th century. Buddhism and Hinduism are both religions believing in re-incarnation, and the seeking of self elevation and self purity in order to seek a higher elevation in the next life. They are certainly religions that do not believe in taking away any form of life as that life could have been the reincarnation of a loved one. They were both passive religions and of peace.
These two religions, were superseded by Islam, of quite a different philosophy. But it was a more proactive religion and had appeal to the Muslims for reasons discussed in this article. But like Buddhism, and Hinduism, Islamic theology, and teachings were in Arabic, and the Muslims believed that only the true essence of Islam could be appreciated in the pure Islamic language of Arabic. This again, is a foreign and unknown language in Indonesia, but to learn about Islam it was invariably taught in Arabic. But in the 15th century it would have been rare to find any Indonesian with a good grasp of Arabic language. So Islam had to be transmitted through recitation of the Quran in Arabic, in a language totally foreign to the Malay language. There can be no doubt that the depth of cognisance of Islam with the Indonesian culture must have at best been and still is quite superficial. Even today, the number of Arabic scholars of Islam in Indonesia must be very limited.
This raises several points. (1) Although Indonesians identify themselves as Muslims, and know the ritual of Islam, what is their true perception of the tenets of Islam in relation to their pious and devotional concepts of the philosophy of Islam. The reason why this question is raised is because there is a perception that Indonesians do not seem to see Islam as the Arabs in Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or Pakistan do. This can be understood only when we have considered all the facts discussed in this article. Such as, comprehension of languages, the earlier illiteracy of the people in their formative years of knowing about Islam, their different way of life, the availability of sufficiently scholastic preacher’s of Islam. And the intellectual development of the Muslim population to truly appreciate the philosophy of Islam in detail and in depth. (2) If Indonesian Islam is in a transitional phase, will Indonesia develop a unique form of Islam, different from the Arabian/Pakistan type of Islam, or will they slowing drift to join up this orthodox Islam. If like most Islamic societies, that Indonesia as a Muslim nation, accepts the Quran (as it stands), as their Holy Books, and accept the Hadiths as park of the traditions of Islam, and accept the Sharia Laws as Islamic, I can only see that Indonesia will in time have a similar perception of Islam as Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan or, Jordan or Syria. There can be no other option.
“In the Muslim world, Indonesia is unique
The majority practice their religion with a devotion deeply felt. But compared to the stereotypes carried in the minds of most Westerners, Islam in Indonesia is very different.
- Muslim shamans pray five times a day, and then commune with mystical spirits while performing rites on other Muslims to cast or remove spells.
- Provincial kings and sultans, also Muslim, place offerings to the Four Guardians of the Earth on their palace grounds, and preside over ancient rituals, like the elaborate annual pageant of sacred objects in the city of Solo, where albino water buffalo, believed to possess supernatural powers, lead the procession.
- Muslim cross-dressers compete to be crowned Miss Indonesian Transvestite of the year, and also pray in the women’s section of the mosque while wearing the traditional headscarf.
These practices would be considered blasphemy by many Middle Eastern Muslims.
Islam in Indonesia has a centuries old tradition of being a tolerant, compassionate, and inclusive religion, where the difference between what is Islam(Indonesian) and what is Arab(Islam) is keenly felt.
Despite this history of pluralism and moderation, however, in recent years Indonesia has become both a target and breeding ground for Islamic militants. The bombing of two night clubs in Bali, in October of 2002, was a stunning wake-up call that Al Qaeda-style terrorism had spread to South East Asia. It was second only to 9/11 as the most deadly terrorist attack in modern history.
Paradoxically, the coming of democracy to Indonesia in 1998, with the collapse of the corrupt and oppressive military dictatorship of General Suharto, was a factor in the rise of Islamist violence and terrorism. The new democratic freedoms allowed for Muslim militants who had fled the country to avoid prosecution (like the notorious Abu Bakar Bashir) to return and rekindle their movement. As Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, an Indonesian Islamic scholar and leader of the Liberal Islam Network says, “This freedom is not [only] for the good guys, but also for the bad guys.”
This conflict between Indonesia’s long tradition of tolerance, and the dramatic rise of fundamentalist forces, makes Indonesia a unique battleground in the war of ideas over how Islam should be understood – the front line in what is becoming the most critical conflict of our age.” 
Summary: Indonesian Islam’s Uniqueness
The evolution of the religious heritage of Indonesia is unique, and so is the characteristic of Indonesian Islam, influenced no doubt by her prior cultures of Spiritualism/Shamanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, her colonial era and now independence.
Buddhism (5th Century)
In the very early days of Indonesia, forms of Spiritualism/Animism/Shamanism were practised until the arrival of Mahayana Buddhism to Java, Sumatra, and Borneo by Indian traders in the 5th Century. 
By 732 AD the Buddhist Sanjaya Dynasty was firmly established. The Borobudur Buddhist Temple was erected between the years 760 to 830 AD.  
But by the 14th Century, the Javanese (and Indonesians) were seduced to adopt Islam as the preferred form of worship and this spelt the decline of Buddhism (practised for 9 centuries) and Hinduism 10 centuries in Indonesia. Islam laid a thin veneer of a new concept and ideology over the foundations of animism, Buddhism and Hinduism and has so remained even today.
Hinduism (4th Century)
Although archaeological finds refer to a Jawa Dwipa Hindu kingdom in Java and Sumatra in Sanskrit writing from 200 BC historical narrative is rather sparse. 
Better documented is the Tarumanagara or Taruma (Hindu) Kingdom (358-669 AD), and early Sundanese kingdom under the 5th Century ruler Purnavarman who was a Brahmin and was associated with Vishnu.
The (Hindu) Kingdom of Mataram or Medang was based in Central Java between the 8th and 10th Centuries. But the Mataram kingdom collapsed under military pressure from the (Buddhist) Srivijaya Ruler. 
Here we see the interchangeable doctrines of Buddhism and Hinduism living side by side in relative harmony. If we accept the establishment of Hinduism from the Taruma Kingdom in the 4th century, and was supplanted peacefully by Islam in the 14th century, Hinduism has had an indelible influence on the culture of Indonesians for 10 centuries before the establishment of Islam. 
Islam (15th Century)
Islam was adopted (seduced) by the Sultan of Malacca after marrying the Muslim princess from Aceh in 1409, the beginning of the 15th Century (only about 500 years ago.) Thus Islam was adopted and not imposed through invasion or through the sword. It was through influence and through example that the populace accepted this new religion. No battles or animosities were aroused.
Islam thus has been a very thin veneer over the two dominant religions that had already formed the benign culture and temperament of the Indonesians, i.e. Buddhism and Hinduism. That is the fundamental difference of Indonesian Islam compared with Arabian Islam. The tolerant, inclusive and laid-back nature of the Indonesian people absorbed Islam into their way of life like adding a new shawl over the rest of their apparel, yet not totally rejecting the many cultural traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Animism, and Spiritualism. Islam was unique in Indonesia because it as a blended form of Islam, or strictly speaking, a “diluted or corrupted” form of Islam, not based entirely or strictly on orthodox Islamic scriptures and ideologies. Indonesian adopted a superficial Islam quite different from the Arabian Peninsular practice of Islam. In fact the difference in ideologies raises the question of whether Indonesian Islam is actually a corrupted form of Islam, infused with animism, Hinduism and Buddhism. If such is the case, Indonesian Islam is a novel superficial Islam still in its infancy and only superficially understands or practises a very superficial corrupted Islam in South East Asia. This is due to illiteracy of the Islamic scriptures and its traditions. But as prosperity allows travelling and the attending of Islamic Universities in the Middle East and Pakistan within the reach of more people Indonesian scholars, and to make it possible for more devout Muslims to make the Hajj in Mecca, more people will appreciate the binding powers of orthodox Islam. There is no doubt that Indonesian Islam will grow more sophisticated in Islamic ideology and protocol and Indonesians will be drawn into the tight knit of Islamic orthodoxy. There is no other route for Indonesia to go if they wish to remain Islamic. To stray further away from orthodox Islam (Arabian Islam) would mean the creation of a new Indonesian Religion that will be No Longer Islam, i.e., a blasphemous cult. A modern example is the Ahmadiyya sect that is now rejected by all Muslim nations(including Indonesia) and considered a blasphemous cult and banned.
A fairly recent trend that seems to show the way Indonesian Islam is heading (towards orthodox Islam as they become more Islamic sophisticated) is shown by the recent court ruling as cited here:
Indonesia upholds blasphemy law Court rules law, which is supported by conservatives, vital to “religious harmony”.Last Modified: 20 Apr 2010 10:08
Critics say the law has largely been used against those seen as offending mainstream Islam [AFP]
An Indonesian court has ruled to uphold a 1965 blasphemy law that allows for criminal penalties and bans on people or groups that “distort” the central tenets of six officially recognised religions.
The court on Monday rejected a petition by moderate Muslims, religious minorities, democracy advocates and rights groups against the law in a case seen as a major test of the mainly Muslim country’s pluralism.
By a margin of eight to one, the judges ruled that while the law was imperfect, it did not contravene the country’s constitution and “was vital to religious harmony.”
The law carries a maximum punishment of five years for beliefs that deviate from the orthodox versions of six sanctioned faiths – Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Confucianism.
“The law should be upheld because if it is annulled … Islam and the Quran could be interpreted at will and people and figures could declare new prophets and establish new religions,” Suryadharma Ali, Indonesia’s minister of religious affairs, said before the ruling
Presently Indonesian Islam is dissimilar to Arabian Peninsular Islam. But the Indonesian culture, perched on the cross-roads of Asia and Africa, China and Australia, must resolve herself in the next few years, perhaps sooner than later. There are already many Islamic groups who are already demanding Sharia Laws, and a more fundamental Islamic ideology in Indonesia. Much will depend on the external influences on her people and the resolve of those same people to determine their own future destiny. The world will watch with keen anticipation.
[1a] Another interpretation of the Journey of Man:
 Map of human migration: http://timetoeatthedogs.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/human-migration.jpg
 Shamanism and Human evolution: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2886354
 Shamanism in Early Indonesia: http://books.google.com/books?id=X8waCmzjiD4C&pg=PA800&lpg=PA800&dq=Shamanism+in+early+Indonesia&source=bl&ots=hF4qhW5ZJ4&sig=Q_lE4EjanZ6_981Ssm8pws6ekDk&hl=en&ei=ZdbyStCAHt_OjAfr9tCbDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CBoQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=Shamanism%20in%20early%20Indonesia&f=false
[4a] Jawa Dwipa Hindu Dingdom 200BCE: http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Hinduism:in:Southeast:Asia.html
[4b] Indonesian Hinduism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism_in_Indonesia
 The Taruma Kingdom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarumanagara
 The Majapahit Kingdom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majapahit
 The Sultanate of Malacca: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultanate_of_Malacca
 Buddhism in Indonesia: http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhistworld/indo-txt.htm
 Kutai, East Kalimantan, Borneo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kutai
 Timeline of Indonesian history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Indonesian_history
 The Building of Borobudur: http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/boro_nav/bnav_level_1/4building_borofrm.html
 Timeling Indonesia: http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/boro_nav/bnav_level_1/timeline_borofrm.html
 Religions in Indonesia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Indonesia#State_recognised_religions
 The Indonesian State Philosophy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancasila_Indonesia
 The Spread of Islam by “ulema.” http://www.islamic-world.net/islamic-state/islam_in_acheh.htm
 A Madrassah Curriculum: http://knol.google.com/k/understanding-islam-a-study-edited-19-11-08-updated-14-03-09-16-06-09-13-12-09#The_Education_Curriculae_in_Madrassas_and_the_Level_of_Literacy_in_Muslim_nations
[15a] Islam was only dominant in the 16th Century:
 Islamic Education in Indonesia: http://naskahkuno.blogspot.com/2007/11/brief-mapping-of-islamic-education-in.html
 The main Pesantrens: http://epress.anu.edu.au/islamic/umma/mobile_devices/ch02s05.html
 Strengthening Saudi Arabia-Indonesian Ties, (LIPIA): http://www.antara.co.id/en/view/?i=1233306695&c=NAT&s=
 Wahhabi influence internationally: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/4697
 The Role of a Sultan in Islam: http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Sultan.htm
 Sultans Reclaiming Their Authority that was lost:
 The Salafi Influence in Indonesia: http://www.rsis.edu.sg/Indonesia_Prog/resources/transcript/06/Noorhadi%20Hasan-%2024%20Jan%202006%20(Draft).pdf
 the US-Indonesia Society and Asia Foundation view of Islam in Modern Indonesia: http://asiafoundation.org/pdf/indo_us_conf.pdf
 Literacy and Bahasa Indonesia: http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache%3AInrNezPcJxEJ%3Awww.ideals.illinois.edu%2Fbitstream%2Fhandle%2F2142%2F9643%2FSLS2000v30.1-13Lowenberg.pdf%3Fsequence%3D2+Literacy+in+Indonesia+pre-independence+Indonesia+Literacy+and+Bahasa+Indonesia&hl=en&gl=uk
 Indonesian Islam Global and local: http://www.let.uu.nl/~Martin.vanBruinessen/personal/publications/global_and_local_in_indonesian.htm
 Can moderate Islam exist in Indonesia? http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/about/show_indonesia.html
 Timeline Buddhism: http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/b_chron-txt.htm
 Timeline Indonesia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Indonesian_history#cite_note-RICKLEFSp18-12
 Borobudur Buddhist Temple: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur
 History of Indonesia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Indonesia
 Indonesian Islam (another view): http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:6BSWCIeRLzgJ:www.hillsdale.edu/images/userImages/bwilkens/Page_5311/nicholsc_1.doc+Orthodox+Islam+in+Indonesia&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=firefox-a
 Indonesia Upholds Islamic Blasphemy Laws: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2010/04/20104208101575962.html
[A1] Bumiputra/Malay defined: http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Bumiputra/
[A2] Timeline Indonesia: http://knol.google.com/k/mbp-lee/timeline-indonesian-modern-history/1l23x9udotn1a/39#
[A3] Islamic Education in South East Asia: http://www.futureofmuslimworld.com/research/detail/islamic-education-in-southeast-asia
[A4] South East Asia Education: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/179408/education/47735/Southeast-Asia
[A5] Global and Local Islam-Indonesia: http://www.let.uu.nl/~martin.vanbruinessen/personal/publications/global_and_local_in_indonesian.htm
[A6] Indonesian Islam Shattering Puritanism:A
[A7] History of Modern Indonesia: Literacy:
[A8] Writing and Literacy: Indonesia: Literacy in Indonesia
[A9] Education in Indonesia: http://www.jstor.org/pss/3023860
[A10] Timeline Indonesian History: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Indonesian_history
[A11] Contemporary Islam in Indonesia:http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:3hAf6WJazfEJ:rspas.anu.edu.au/papers/anthropology/04_fox_islam_indonesia.pdf+Islam+in+Indonesia&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjg4y9tiihQgsI6WGg3vQl0n1b949BltK3oiyS3SSyMhqiNnQ2xXGNpCk13rfOeXj_JzOInK32TBe3mjzjyf8lc8sq98dx-r3YTO8Kn-pXzjIOheZB3GmjLBJqy8ZQ91KDlE__S&sig=AHIEtbQKn5FsFS_0RJzTEvNTMoQgQjRNqw
[A12] Sufi Islam : http://www.americanthinker.com/2005/05/sufi_jihad.html
[A13] Sufi Egyptian Jihad: http://www.turntoislam.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57614
[A14] Radical Islam in S.E.Asia: http://www.scribd.com/doc/18267300/Thayer-Radical-Islam-Terrorism-in-Southeast-Asia
[A15] Radical Islam in Indonesia: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/3926
[A16] Hizb ut-Tahrir: Central Asia: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2003/05/hizb-ut-tahrir-an-emerging-threat-to-us-interests-in-central-asia
[A17] History Hizb ut-Tahrir: http://www.newstatesman.com/200511140010
[A18] History of Buddhism/Hinduism/Indonesia: http://www.servinghistory.com/topics/History_of_Indonesia::sub::Hindu-Buddhist_Civilizations
[A19] Islamic Education in Malaysia**** (see Appendix):