Islamic Activism: The Socio-Political Dynamics of the Indonesian Forum of Islamic Society (FUI)

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Copyright: Munabari, Fahlesa
Since the collapse of the authoritarian Suharto regime in 1998, Indonesia has witnessed an escalation in the activism of Islamic revivalist movements whose goals revolve around the implementation of sharia (Islamic law) such as HTI (Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia or the Liberation Party of Indonesia), FPI (Fron Pembela Islam or Islamic Defenders Front), and MMI (Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia or the Council of Indonesian Holy Warriors). These movements have since continuously voiced their pro-sharia agenda through a variety of collective actions such as mass protests, public gatherings, and media statements. With a view to enhancing co-ordination and communication among Islamic revivalist movements in Indonesia, these movements established an umbrella movement called FUI (Forum Umat Islam or Forum of Islamic Society) in 2005, which has also been actively engaged in social movement activities. Unfortunately, unlike the other Islamic revivalist movements that emerged immediately after the fall of the Suharto regime mentioned above, there has been no scholarly research on FUI. This thesis, therefore, aims to answer the following primary research question: "How did FUI emerge and how does it mobilise organisational resources and frame its ideologies?" In an attempt to better account for this research question, the thesis employs the perspectives of social movements: political opportunity structure, mobilising structures, and framing. This thesis primarily argues that given differences in terms of ideologies and strategies on the part of Islamic movements and organisations in Indonesia, the emergence of FUI was a result of a perceived need to solidify the pro-sharia agenda of these movements and organisations. As an umbrella movement, FUI heavily relies on its major member movements in order to actively engage in collective action. As a result, FUl's ideologies, organisational resources, and strategies are not immune to the influence of its major member movements. In the beginning of its activism (betvveen 2005 and 2008), FUI largely relied on its organisational resources from HTI. However, when HTI severed ties with FUI in the mid of 2008, FUI has since shifted its reliance on organisation resources to FPI. The thesis demonstrates that this shift is also characterised by the consolidation of FUl's ideologies, which unlike HTI that displays its trans-national political orientation through the re-establishment of the caliphate, emphasise the need to respect the basic philosophy of the Republic of Indonesia - Pancasila - in its efforts to implement sharia. This is done through, for instance, re-interpreting principles and values embodied in the Pancasila and the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia in such a way as to justify its pro-sharia agenda:
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Munabari, Fahlesa
Tan, Andrew
Warouw, Nicolaas
Lovell, David
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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