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Laying the foundations of the Islamic state february-march 1948)

According to a 1953 RI government publication, Kartosuwiryo received very little support in his endeavour to create an Islamic state. It is there argued that the majority of those present at the initial gatherings rejected the project of creating an Islamic state in West Java on the grounds that doing so would ‘create a dubbelstaat, a state within the state.’[1] However, archival sources paint a different picture.

As the Siliwangi soldiers prepared to withdraw, Kartosuwiryo and other Masyumi and Sabilillah officers followed up on their earlier attempts to coordinate Islamic resistance to the Dutch by organizing a conference in Pangwedusan, Cisayong.[2] On 10-11 February 1948, some five hundred delegates and members of five Masyumi branches from across West Java (Tasikmalaya, Garut, Kuningan,

Majalengka and Ciamis), as well as representatives of Persis, Nah- datul Ulama and Muhammadiyah attended the conference, the explicit aim of which was to establish an Islamic state and army.[3]

These party leaders suspended the activities of the West Java branch of Masyumi and agreed on a plan to draft a clearly defined Islamic policy, create an army and elect a leader. Kartosuwiryo was nominated imam of the Islamic community in West Java, and Oni chief of the Indonesian Islamic Army in the Priangan. Although most of these actions were not initiated until after the March conference (see below), this meeting had already stated the intention of establishing an Islamic state that would implement Islamic laws in the daerah istimewa (special region) between Pagerageung, Cikoneng and Mount Sawal. It also declared a holy war and transformed the Sabilillah into the Tentara Islam Indonesia.[4]

The February meeting was followed by another conference, held on 1 March in Cirebon. Between January and mid March the press recorded a rapid increase in Islamic militias in the Priangan. Until January the town of Maja had been hosting an average of around 300-600 Hizboellah soldiers, but in late February more than 2,000 Hizboellah soldiers, who had been stationed in the area, attacked Bandung, Maja, Majalenka, Sukahaji and Kadipaten. In mid March the Dutch ‘W’ Brigade noted a ‘large concentration’ of Tentara Islam, and by April around 3,000 Hizboellah soldiers under the command of Oni and Lubis were in the area.[5]

At the Cirebon conference, Imam Kartosuwiryo, together with Kamran and Raden Oni (heads of the military section), Sanusi Partawidjaja and Toha Arsjad (leaders of the political section) and Kiyai Abdul Halim and Kiyai Haji Gozali Toesi (of the religious section), created the political and military structures needed to confront the Dutch.[6] First, they announced the dissolution of Masyumi and the suspension of its activities in West Java. In July 1948 the Yogyakarta chief of police speculated that behind Kartosuwiryo’s dissolution of Masyumi was antagonism regarding Soekiman’s ‘not radical enough’ leadership of the party.[7] However, the Masyumi leaders who were gathered in Cirebon declared that it was time for Masyumi to terminate its operations in West Java because of the ‘general situation in the region’:

Especially as the political negotiations between the Republican government and the Netherlands are not concluded yet, all Masyumi’s subgroups [...] and all the organization’s branches are to suspend their activities in the western part of Java beginning 1 March 1948 at 14.00.

The announcement also specified that anyone who had previously held representative roles would no longer have the right to speak for Masyumi, nor for any of its sections.[8]

The various militias were merged to form a unified and structured army - the Tentara Islam Indonesia - which would operate under the command of Kamran on the western side of the Van Mook line.[9] This army was instructed to ‘come to power in a tactful way, succeed in taking control of the Republic, and include it[s territory] within the Islamic state’.[10] The political agenda of this new organization was focused on the preparations for a new state, a Negara Barn. This ‘New State’ would be a democratic Islamic state, the existence of which was seen by its founders as an alternative solution to a national state in case the Republican government were dissolved, or a Dutch-promoted state of West Java created.[11]

All matters related to combat were to be determined by the Islamic government in accordance with ‘Islamic laws’,[9] but no further details are provided. The participants at the March meeting agreed on a list of actions to be pursued in the immediate future to oppose Dutch domination and to strengthen Islamic piety in the area.[13] The last concern addressed at the meeting was the West Java Islamic community’s need for a unified leadership, a problem solved by the election of Kartosuwiryo as sole commander of the ummah in the region and his confirmation as imam.[14]

  • [1] Kementerian Penerangan, Republik Indonesia: Propinsi Djawa Barat (Jakarta: KementerianPenerangan, 1953), p. 215.
  • [2] Dinas Sejarah TNI, Penumpasanpemberontakan D.I./T.I.I., pp. 59-65.
  • [3] Dani Wahdani, ‘Politik militer Angkatan Perang Negara Islam Indonesia (A.P.N.I.I.) di JawaBarat pimpinan Imam S.M. Kartosoewirjo’ (thesis, Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung, Jatinan-gor, 2003) p. 59, quoting from Sedjarah Goenoeng Tjoepoe.
  • [4] ‘Overzicht en ontwikkeling van de toestand 8 April 1800 uur tot 15 April 1800 uur’, Territorial ts. Troepencommandant West Java [1948], MD: AS no. 2224, NA.
  • [5] ‘Sabilillah liar bergerak di sekitar Tjamis’, Sin Po, 1 March 1948, and ‘Hizbullah moendoerke Goenoeng Tjiremei’, Keng Po, 1 April 1948. See also MD:AS nos 2275 and 2288, NA.
  • [6] Dinas Sejarah TNI, Penumpasan pemberontakan D.I./T.I.I, p. 63. Some degree of influencewas also in the hands of Dahlan Lukman (GPII-Priangan leader), Siti Murtayi’ah (GPII-PutriPriangan leader), Abdullah Ridwan (Hizboellah-Priangan leader) and five other cabang-levelleaders from Garut, including Saefullah (cabang vice-president), who was subsequently arrestedand on whose confessions the first Dutch report on the Darul Islam was based.
  • [7] ‘Darul Islam di Djawa Barat’, Djawatan Kepolisian Negara Bagian PAM Yogyakarta, 23 July1948, JogjaDoc no. 203, ANRI.
  • [8] ‘Dunia Masyumi menghentikan usahanya’, 1 March 1948 in ‘Pelaporan No. 14/7/48 Peri-hal Darul Islam’, Jawatan Kepolisian Negara Bagian PAM Yogyakarta, 17 July 1948, JogjaDocno. 218h, ANRI.
  • [9] ‘Rencana ketentaraan oemmat Islam’, in JogjaDoc no. 218h, ANRI.
  • [10] ‘Dunia Masyumi’, in JogjaDoc no. 218h, ANRI.
  • [11] ‘Program politik ummat Islam’, in JogjaDoc no. 218h, ANRI.
  • [12] ‘Rencana ketentaraan oemmat Islam’, in JogjaDoc no. 218h, ANRI.
  • [13] ‘Daftar usaha cepat’, in JogjaDoc no. 218h, ANRI.
  • [14] ‘Kesatuan pimpinan’, in JogjaDoc no. 218h, ANRI.
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