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Home arrow Religion arrow Islam and the making of the nation: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th Century Indonesia


The Darul Islam and the Indonesian Republic conducted their activities in a similar manner, opposing Dutch colonial authority and building an independent nation-state for the Indonesian people. Ideological differences between secular nationalists and Islamists, during their rapprochement, had been lessened in favour of these common goals; even after the departure of the Dutch, relations between the Darul Islam and the Indonesian Republic were not clear-cut. Masyumi and PSII went to great length to promote a political solution to the ‘Darul Islam problem’ and to limit the army’s intervention in the Priangan.

The proclamation of the unitary state in 1950 and Soekarno’s increased favouritism towards a spiritual understanding of the Pancasila, which by then would include the communists in his coalition, resulted in the emergence of substantial and structured antagonism. Coupled with calls for national unity and pressure to ‘restore peace’ - especially after the regional uprisings in Sumatra and Sulawesi - Soekarno was encouraged to take a stronger stand against the Darul Islam.

By the time Indonesians were called to the ballots in 1955, ten years after the ‘temporary’ constitution had been proclaimed, political Islam was between a rock and a hard place. Masyumi had lost the NU, its non-Javanese outlook had led it to support the regional rebellions and its founding ideology pushed it to favour the Darul Islam. These factors contributed to its political demise.

By the end of the decade the army had regained its political power, and on the issue of the Darul Islam it now had the upper hand against those calling for a political solution. In June 1962 Kar- tosuwiryo was captured and Darul Islam activities slowly petered out.

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