Politics and International Relations
The resurgence of religion to be used as a source for political resistance and mobilization against the state by Islamist fundamentalist groups at the twenty first century reflects a new threat towards the existence of constitutionally democratic regimes and pluralism in many divided nations of newly democratizing states, including in Indonesia. Adopting the cosmic war theory of Juergensmeyer (2000) and the critical theory of Derrida’s post-modernism, emphasizing his idea of ‘deconstruction’ (Derrida, 1998), this interdisciplinary study examines the ways in which Islam has been exploited as a political vehicle to awaken a sense of religious nationalism in the early phase of democratic transition and consolidation in the divided nation of newly democratizing state of Indonesia. By looking at the religious-political ideologies and strategies of political movements, applied by the Jemaah Islamiyah armed group and the Islamic Defenders Front, the study seeks to demonstrate how the emergence of such Islamic nationalism through fundamentalist movements has been perceived as a new political religion in which it combines revolutionary political concepts and fundamentalist doctrines that directly marks the competition between secular democracy and political Islam. The purpose of the study is also geared to contribute to a comprehensive theoretical and empirical understanding about the politicized Islam and its implications to the outbreak of civil conflicts, while formulating policies on the prospects for peace and conflict resolution. A comparative case study approach will be employed alongside political discourse and content-based analyses for analyzing the data.
Key words: fundamentalism, Islamic nationalism, democracy, pluralism, Indonesia