Religion and Beliefs
This paper delves into a new perspective on the spreading of Islamic populism in Indonesia. It maps the extent of the influence exerted by the network based on the pesantren of Pondok Modern Darussalam Gontor in Ponorogo, East Java. In the post-authoritarian era, the Gontor alumni who continued their study under the supervision of Syed Naquib Al-Attas (the prominent Malaysian Muslim philosopher) have contributed to dynamizing Islamic discourse and movement in Indonesia. These disciples of Al-Attas mainly concern about countering the idea of secularization, pluralization, and liberalization of Islam (SIPILIS). By engaging with the connection of Gontor alumni throughout the whole country, they promote and spread Al-Attas' works by establishing Islamic think-tank institution, Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought and Civilizations (INSISTS), as well as connect Islamic scholars and preachers from various Islamic movements by establishing the Council for Young and Intellectual Ulama of Indonesia (MIUMI). Later, MIUMI transformed itself from an association of Islamic scholars to political vehicle for Islamic mobilization, playing a substantial role during the 212 Movement. In this paper, following arguments are explored: I) INSISTS and MIUMI which established by the Gontor Connection are among the behind the scene of the rise of Islamic populism; II) The extent of the Gontor Connection in various sectors has accelerated the expansion of INSISTS and MIUMI’s agenda; III) The synthesis of conservatism and modern Islam in the Gontor education had resulted in INSISTS and MIUMI’s agenda getting easily accepted by the Islamic community in Indonesia.