The mujahideen are not Islamic enough
BY FARISH A. NOOR (Asian Edge)
SCHOLARS of sectarian religio-political movements the world over will tell you that there is one thing that is common among all sectarian groupings, be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist: That the infernal logic of religious inflation and the discourse of being 'holier than thou' eventually leads to such groups falling apart and splintering into many other, even more radical, groupings.
This is exactly what has happened recently in
Though Ba'asyir was known for his political views and his incessant calls for an Islamic state to be imposed in Indonesia since the mid-1980s, he only grew to be what he is today in the wake of the Bali bombings when he was accused of being one of the masterminds behind the attack.
But Ba'asyir is also known for his tough and uncompromising stand on matters related to Islam and politics, and in
Things, however, have not been going so well for Ustaz Ba'asyir of late, as the movement he helped to form and lead — the Indonesian Mujahideen Veterans' Movement, MMI — has also been drawn into the complex web of Indonesian politics. Perhaps one of the most unique features of Indonesian normative Islam is the fact that even the most conservative Islamist groups have members and leaders who are willing to play the game of realpolitik and get involved in the political debates of the country. MMI members are known to include academics, journalists, businessmen and other professionals who somehow reconcile the calls for Jihad while making a daily living as professionals. Furthermore, the MMI has always operated on the basis of collective consensus and is run by a high executive council of leaders.
Apparently it was this 'democratic' element of the MMI that turned Ustaz Ba'asyir against his own movement and followers. At the recent MMI general assembly Ustaz Ba'asyir was conspicuously absent, having withdrawn himself from the movement at the beginning of August. Ba'asyir's argument is that the MMI, despite its blatantly sectarian and conservative leanings, has been 'contaminated' by the evil influence of modern democracy, thereby making it a 'secular' movement that is haram by his standards.
Ba'asyir did not hide his disgust with the movement he once led, and demanded that if the MMI were to remain a truly Islamic movement then it had to submit to the singular leadership of one pious leader, namely himself. All else, he argued, was a concession to democratic ideas and were not acceptable for a movement that had committed itself to dismantling democracy in
Thus it has come to pass that yet another hard-right conservative movement has split against itself, introducing yet another division between the 'democratic' MMI and its former leader, the 'more Islamic than anyone' Ba'asyir. It was reported that Ba'asyir has decided to form another conservative grouping under the sole and absolute leadership of himself and none other. Just what this might spell for
Dr Farish A. Noor is Senior Fellow, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Research Director for the Research Cluster 'Transnational Religion in Contemporary Southeast Asia', Nanyang Tech Uni, Singapore
Source: Khaleej Times