Understanding Contemporary Political Islam
Posted by iqbalhasanuddin pada Maret 31, 2011
The book under title Peaceful Islamist Mobilization in the Muslim World tries to describe comprehensively the dynamics of Islamist or political Islam movements in different space and time contexts. Although covering considerably Indonesian case, it also tries to study comparatively the other Muslim countries, especially Malaysia and Turkey.
This book written by Julie Chernov Hwang illuminates the variation of mobilization strategies in political Islam movements in order to establish the societies and Islamic states. In one hand, Islamist movements utilize mobilization strategies of violence, and the other hand other Islamist movements tend to choose peaceful strategies to achieve their goals.
The question is why does such variation appear? The answer: The state. At this point, the state has a significant role to determine whether Islamist movements choose peaceful strategies or these of violence? There are states have capability to encourage Islamist groups to use peaceful strategies while other states are unable. Julie Chernov mentions that there are three main variables which determine how the state influences mobilization strategies of Islamic movements.
The first is the availability of sphere for political participations. The political openness surely give a stimulus for Islamist movements to participate in existing systems and democratic political institutions, from conducting demonstrations, establishing political parties and fighting in general election, until taking part in important positions in the executive and the legislative body.
Islamists believe that peaceful strategies through such political participations give surety in achieving the goal to Islamize their society and state instead of the strategies of violence such as bombing and undermining entertainment venues.
The second is law and order enforcement. For some Islamists, democracy is not enough. It does not encourage establishing Islamic society. Therefore, they are moved to eradicate various immoralities by themselves. Moreover, other Islamists consider democracy in itself as incompatible with Islam. Accordingly, for them, democracy is a wrong choice.
This view tends to encourage Islamists to utilize mobilization strategies outside system or even to destruct the system by whatever ways, including by ways of violence. In this situation, state’s capability to guarantee law and order enforcement is really needed in order that there is no space for Islamists to utilize strategies of violence.
The third is education and other public good services. Through these variables, citizens will see positively the existence of the state. Consequently, the state gets legitimacy. Besides, the presence of education and other social services will scrape the charm of radical Islamic movements in wider society. Therefore, radical Islamic movements will have difficulties looking for their opponents.
If the combinations among participation—political openness—in one hand, and effectiveness—state capability to guarantee law and order enforcement, and education and other social services in the other hand, the configurations of institutional structures of the state will appear as below.
The first is effective-participatory state which is able to provide for Islamist sphere of political participation, law and order enforcement, and education and other social services. Malaysia is included in this category. As effective-participatory state, Malaysia is able to encourage Islamists to adopt peaceful mobilization strategy to reach their goals by establishing Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
Since 2000, Turkey has come under the category of effective-participatory state after being successful to overcome law and order enforcement matter in 1999. In Turkey, Islamists engage in democratic political system through Justice and Development Party (AKP) which subsequently has taken control of Turkey government since 1999.
The second is effective-authoritarian state which is unable to give sphere for political participation, but is able to give guarantee for law and order enforcement, and education and other social services. Indonesia in New Order era is included in this category. At the time, Islamists who had been marginalized tended to choose to hide under ground. Violence was not intensive, but always occurred. Recently, this violence blew up strongly when the authoritarian leader stepped down in 1998.
The third is ineffective-participatory state which gives sphere of political participation, but doesn’t guarantee law and order enforcement, and education and other social services. Indonesia in Reformation Era is an example for this category. Political openness as effect of reformation movement gives a sphere for Islamists to join with the system through establishing political party and other various participations. They, for example, established Justice Party (PK), and Crescent and Star Party (PBB).
However, reformation witnessed undermining state’s capacity to guarantee law and order enforcement, and education and other social services. Consequently, some Islamists utilize that situation for the sake of their interest by various ways, including mobilization strategies of violence.
In Ambon and Poso, for example, Islamists beat the drums of war against Christian communities. In Bali and Jakarta, they conducted bombing. Some of them also committed violence through sweeping entertainment venues in Jakarta.
Julie Chernov Hwang mentions that situation in Indonesia has been getting better since President SBY leadership era. At this time, Indonesia seems to move from ineffective-participatory state to effective-participatory state. Of course, time will finally show whether it will be successful or failed.
The last, it should be taken in account that this book gives an obvious massage. To avoid mobilizing violence by Islamists, aside from guaranteeing law and order enforcement, and social services, state has to absorb Islamists into democratic political system. By this democratic participation, Islamist movements will undergo a moderation process because they have to fight to look for mass supports in general election. Finally, democracy either can prevent violence, or encourage the birth and the rise of Muslim democrats.
This entry was posted on Maret 31, 2011 pada 9:00 am and is filed under Book Review. Dengan kaitkata: contemporary political islam, islamic social movement, julie chernov, peaceful mobilization stratergy, political islam, social movement, strategy of violence. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, atau trackback from your own site.