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Jakarta Post

Haj, ‘Islam Politiek’ and national awakening

  • Khairil Azhar

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 21 2011   /  08:00 am

If there were a question, “What was the most fear-provoking ritual for the Dutch colonialists in Indonesia from the 17th until the first half of the 20th centuries?” the answer would be the haj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca during the month of Dhu ‘lhijja, the 12th month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

It was in 1889 that this fear began to decrease, after the availability of more scientific advice proposed by Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936), a pundit working for the colonial government for “mainly” Islamic affairs. Based on his advice, the Dutch government applied what was called Islam Politiek, a policy to abolish any inspiration of political Islam in colonized Indonesia.

According to Hurgronje, first and foremost, the government should position itself as neutral in relation to any dogma or private rules that were purely religious. It was even suggested that the g...