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Jakarta Post

Islamic fundamentalism and democracy

  • Izhari Mawardi

Cambridge, Massachusetts   /   Fri, May 25 2012   /  09:11 am

Amid the hyped resistance of Muslim hard-liners to a planned concert of American singer Lady Gaga in Jakarta, there is reason to hope that ultimately the democratic process will offer a way for Islamic fundamentalism to coexist in society.

To understand this, we need to see how Islamic fundamentalism arose and how recent changes have evolved Islamic fundamentalism into a democratic player rather than an opponent of democracy.

Islam has been around for 1,400 years, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that Islamic fundamentalism took root as a major regional political force. Islamic fundamentalism grew from an acute sense of disappointment with the failure of good governance. It was the way that Muslims dealt with the failures of leaders, religious as well as political, in serving society.

Islamic fundamentalism grew as an anti-democratic regional force three decades ag...