Comment: How democratic can Indonesia become?
Paper Edition | Page: 8
Aug. 21, p. 7
When asked about the ideal form for an Islamic state, Muslim figures such as Mohammad Natsir or Mohamad Roem, surprisingly, did not mention any country from the Middle East.
As recorded by Zainal Abidin Ahmad in 1956, when Muslim leaders here were tempted to establish a democratic Islamic state or a nation ruled by a majority Muslim party in the 1950s, they looked to developed democracies such as Switzerland and the Netherlands as models. (By Khairil Azhar, Jakarta)
Indonesia is not comparable to Germany or Italy, where society is mature and people more educated. The nation has a less educated population and is still a struggling democratic country threatened by fundamentalist groups.
People here can easily be swayed by religious ideas and they cannot compare different options. A government that is based on religion is not in line with our political philosophy, Pancasila.
The essence of democracy is to respect choices. However, this is Indonesia. Even the meaning
of jihad and the start of Idul
Fitri cannot be agreed upon by different groups. This highlights the nation’s fragility
Why should religion insist on political status? Supporters of democracy must know that a government free of religion is the most neutral, and thus ideal, form of government.
Liberalism is the essence of democracy. If you are for democracy, then liberalism is not your enemy, unless you are a member of a power-hungry faction hiding behind the guise of religion.