Islam and Politics in Indonesia: The Masyumi Party between Democracy and Integralism

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By Rémy Madinier

The Masyumi Party, which was active in Indonesia from 1945 to 1960, constitutes the boldest attempt to date at reconciling Islam and democracy. Masyumi proposed a vision of society and government which was not bound by a literalist application of Islamic doctrine but rather inspired by the values of Islam. It set out moderate policies which were both favourable to the West and tolerant towards other religious communities in Indonesia.

Although the party made significant strides towards the elaboration of a Muslim democracy, its achievements were nonetheless precarious: it was eventually outlawed in 1960 for having resisted Sukarno's slide towards authoritarianism, and the refusal of Suharto's regime to reinstate the party left its leaders disenchanted and marginalised. Many of those leaders subsequently turned to a form of Islam known as integralism, a radical doctrine which contributed to the advent of Muslim neo-fundamentalism in Indonesia.

This book examines the Masyumi Party from its roots in early twentieth-century Muslim reformism to its contemporary legacy, and offers a perspective on political Islam which provides an alternative to the more widely-studied model of Middle-Eastern Islam. The party's experience teaches us much about the fine line separating a moderate form of Islam open to democracy and a certain degree of secularisation from the sort of religious intransigence which can threaten a country's denominational coexistence.

“a textured and nuanced portrait...This contribution not only adds depth to our understanding of Indonesian history, but also illustrates the diverse and ever-changing manifestations of Islamic politics across the Muslim world.” - Joshua Gedacht, Asian Studies Review

“Madinier has done the field of Indonesian and Islamic studies a great service.” Indonesia

Rémy Madinier is a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and co-director of the Centre Asie du Sud-Est (CASE-EHESS). He is also the co-author of The End of Innocence? Indonesian Islam and the Temptations of Radicalism.

Publication Year: 2015
504 pages, 229mm x 153mm

ISBN: 978-9971-69-843-0

NUS Press