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Jakarta Post

Indonesia, Islam and democracy: A perspective

  • Blake Respini and Herdi Sahrasad

San Fransisco/Jakarta   /   Fri, February 5 2010   /  10:36 am

There are currently hundreds moderate Muslim organizations in Indonesia, many of them set up following the fall of President Soeharto in May 1998. The nurturing of these civic organizations may be as important to the future of Indonesia’s democracy as is the curtailment of extremists.  Furthermore, simple political maturity, such as developing true parties with accountability and that stand for something beyond personality as well the development of an educated and experienced electorate should protect and stabilize Indonesia’s democracy.  However, a critical component of Indonesia’s democratic future involves recognition of the special role of Islam in the state.  As most Indonesian Muslims want their government to respect Islamic customs even if they do not support the creation of an Islamic state, the line between support for and opposition to sharia is ...