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ISLAM IN ASIA
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
JULY 14, 2004
Serial No. 108134
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
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Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/internationalrelations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey,
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
NICK SMITH, Michigan
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan
KATHERINE HARRIS, Florida
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCEARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
DIANE E. WATSON, California
ADAM SMITH, Washington
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota
BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., Staff Director/General Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa, Chairman
DAN BURTON, Indiana
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
RON PAUL, Texas
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
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ENI F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
DIANE E. WATSON, California
ADAM SMITH, Washington
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
JAMES W. MCCORMICK, Subcommittee Staff Director
LISA M. WILLIAMS, Democratic Professional Staff Member
DOUGLAS ANDERSON, Professional Staff Member & Counsel
TIERNEN MILLER, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
Meredith Weiss, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of the Graduate Program, Department of International Studies, DePaul University
Douglas E. Ramage, Ph.D., Representative, Indonesia and Malaysia, The Asia Foundation
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His Excellency Husain Haqqani, Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The Honorable Thomas W. Simons, Jr., Consulting Professor, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable James A. Leach, a Representative in Congress from the State of Iowa, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific: Prepared statement
Meredith Weiss, Ph.D.: Prepared statement
Douglas E. Ramage, Ph.D.: Prepared statement
His Excellency Husain Haqqani: Prepared statement
The Honorable Thomas W. Simons, Jr.: Prepared statement
The Honorable Dan Burton, a Representative in Congress from the State of Indiana: Prepared statement
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Honorable Gregory W. Meeks, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York: Prepared statement
ISLAM IN ASIA
WEDNESDAY, JULY 14, 2004
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific,
Committee on International Relations,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:32 p.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. James A. Leach presiding.
Mr. LEACH. The Committee will come to order. First, let me make an announcement. We have a series of votes coming up on the Floor very quickly, and so what I thought we would do is that I will begin with an opening statement, and then we will begin with the panel and see how far we can go. Many Members are, I think, waiting on this vote, and so one of my thoughts was that I would do the opening statement, and then we will see where we are vis-a-vis the vote before determining whether the panel should begin.
In any regard, on behalf of the Subcommittee, I would like to welcome our panel, and I would like to note that one of our witnesses has traveled from as far as Jakarta, which is the political capital of Indonesia and another from Chicago, which is the economic and cultural capital of the American Midwest. We are most appreciative of your participation as well as your contributions to our understanding of this subject.
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Our hearing today is designed to help Members become more familiar with and sensitive to the importance of Islam across the Asia-Pacific region. As we all understand, the end of the cold war, the onset of globalization, and the events of September 11th have led to new thinking about the forces that shape world affairs. One of the dynamics that has received great attention is religion. While religion has always played a large role in global affairs, its importance in Asia and elsewhere has until quite recently generally been underappreciated. Clearly, however, religion is a major and perhaps growing force in contemporary international politics.
Most Americans associate Islam with the Middle East, yet the vast majority of Muslims actually live in Asia. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any single nation, and over half of the Muslims in the world live in four Asian countries: Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Ironically, while many people consider Islam to be mainly an Arab religion, less than 20 percent of the Muslims of the world live in Arabic-speaking countries. In further contrast to the Arab world, Islam in Asia has not only generally been of a moderate character but integral to national development and as impressively demonstrated in the recent elections throughout the region, it has also been integral to democratization in countries as diverse as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh.
Sadly, the September 11 attacks raise troubling questions about the relationship between Islam and terrorism, and here it must be stressed that from the U.S. perspective, terrorism, not Islam, is the enemy. We respect Islam and Islamic nations. The only beef we hold is against parties that manipulate hatred and employ tactics of terror. Civilized values, whether of the East or West, are rooted in just behavior and fundamentals of faith.
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The distinction that matters is not between the Old and New Testaments and the Koran but between committed individuals of faith and fanatics. The former are concerned principally with improving their own lives, the latter with imposing their beliefs on others. It is impressive how closely Saint Paul's admonition about modesty of judgment, that we all see through a glass darkly, parallels Mohammed's directive:
''Follow not that of which you have not the knowledge. Do not go about in the land exultingly, for you cannot cut through the earth or reach the mountains in height.''
When speaking to constituents of the rationale for and against the Iraq war, I have, over the past couple of years, referenced a set of books that held particularly currency in the 1960s: The Alexandria Quarter by Lawrence Durell. Each of the four books describes the same set of events in Egypt from the perspective of a different character. While the events are the same, the stories that unfold are profoundly different, causing the reader to recognize that one person's perspective is at best a snapshot of reality.
A clear picture cannot be pieced together without looking through the lens of a multiplicity of eyes and experiences. For example, the Muslim experience gives substantially less weight than the western experience to the two cataclysmic wars of the 20th century. Not only do Muslims see the 20th century differently from westerners, but we must also understand that they have also drawn vastly different interpretation of current challenges in the Middle East, with profound implications for America's standing in Islamic communities around the world.
In this period of enormous trial, it is vital for policymakers and citizens to take stock of circumstance, individually and collectively. The challenge of all of us in our individual and national odysseys is to express the demands of faith, which are ultimately absolutist, in terms of our social relationships, which are inevitably relativist. Such an effort requires tolerance and humility, tolerance from an appreciation of the pluralistic nature of history; humility from an awareness of personal fallibility. Human communities are structured by religious values. History has shown how the individual spirit can be uplifted by religious faith and the sense of community it engenders. History has also shown how individuals of faith who lack respect for individuals of other faiths can precipitate catastrophic events that subvert these values.
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In this context, as one writer has noted, it is incumbent on the United States to tune in sensitively to Islam and Asia. We need to better understand how it does and does not matter to so many millions in the vast reaches of Asia and the Pacific. Firm efforts to combat violent terrorists must also be accompanied by effective efforts to assist in the Muslim majority's aspirations for social and economic advancement. It would be a mistake of historical proportions if respect for relations not only between the American and the Muslim world were to rupture. We are all obligated to see that they do not.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Leach follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JAMES A. LEACH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IOWA, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
On behalf of the Subcommittee, I would like to welcome our panel of distinguished witnesses. I should note that one of our witnesses traveled from as far away as Jakarta, the political capital of Indonesia, and another from Chicago, the economic and cultural capital of the American Midwest. We are most appreciative of your participation as well as your contributions to our understanding of this critically important subject.
Our hearing today is designed to help Members of Congress become more familiar with, and sensitive to, the importance of Islam across the Asia-Pacific region.
As we all understand, the end of the Cold War, the onset of globalization, and the events of September 11 have led to new thinking about the forces that shape world affairs. One of the dynamics that has received greater attention is religion. While religion has always played a large role in community affairs, its importance in Asia and elsewhere has, until quite recently, generally been underappreciated. Clearly, however, religion is a major and perhaps growing force in contemporary international politics.
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Most Americans associate Islam with the Middle East. Yet the vast majority of Muslims actually live in Asia. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any single nation in the world, and over half the Muslims in the world live in four Asian countries: Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Ironically, while many people consider Islam to be mainly an Arab religion, less than 20% of the Muslims in the world live in Arabic-speaking countries.
In further contrast to the Arab world, Islam in Asia has not only generally been of a moderate character, but integral to national development andand as impressively demonstrated in recent elections throughout the regiondemocratization in Muslim majority countries as diverse as Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
Sadly, the September 11 attacks raised troubling questions about the relationship between Islam and terrorism. Here, it must be stressed that from a U.S. perspective terrorismnot Islamis the enemy. We respect Islam and Islamic nations. The only brief we hold is against parties that manipulate hatred and employ tactics of terror. Civilized values whether of the East or West are rooted in just behavior and fundamentals of faith.
The distinction that matters is not between the Old and New Testaments and the Koran, but between committed individuals of faith and fanatics. The former are concerned principally with improving their own lives; the latter with imposing their beliefs on others. Yet it is impressive how closely St. Paul's admonition about modesty of judgmentthat we all see through a glass darklyparallels Mohammed's directive: ''follow not that of which you have not the knowledge . . . do not go about in the land exaltingly, for you cannot cut through the earth nor reach the mountains in height.''
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When speaking to constituents of the rationale for and against the Iraq War, I have over the past couple of years referenced a set of books that held particular currency in the 1960's: the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. Each of the four books describes the same set of events in inter-war Egypt from the perspective of a different character. While the events are the same, the stories that unfold are profoundly different, causing the reader to recognize that one person's perspective is at best a snap shot of reality. A clear picture cannot be pieced together without looking through the lens of a multiplicity of eyes and experiences.
For example, the Muslim experience gives substantially less weight than the Western experience to the two cataclysmic wars of the 20th century. Not only do Moslems see the 20th century differently from Westerners, but we must also understand that they have also drawn vastly different interpretations of current challenges in the Middle Eastwith profound implications for America's standing in Islamic communities around the world.
In this period of enormous trial it is vital for policymakers and citizens to take stock of circumstanceindividually and collectively. The challenge of all of us in our individual and national odysseys is to express the demands of faith, which are ultimately absolutist, in terms of our social interrelationships, which are inevitably relativist.
Such an effort requires tolerance and humility: tolerance, from an appreciation of the pluralistic nature of history; humility, from an awareness of personal fallibility. Human communities are structured by religious values. History has shown how the individual spirit can be uplifted by religious faith and the sense of community it engenders. History has also shown how individuals of faith who lack respect for individuals of other faiths can precipitate catastrophic events that subvert these values.
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In this context, as one writer has noted, it is incumbent on the United States to ''tune in sensitively to Islam in Asia.'' We need to better understand how it does, and does not, matter to so many millions in the vast reaches of Asia and the Pacific. Firm efforts to combat violent terrorists must also be accompanied by effective efforts to assist in the Muslim majority's aspirations for social and economic advancement.
It would be a mistake of historical proportions if respectful relations between America and the Muslim world were to rupture. We are all obligated to see that they don't.
Mr. LEACH. Let me turn to Mr. Rohrabacher. My thought is we will try to make opening statements before the vote and then return for the panel. Mr. Rohrabacher?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, just a few thoughts, and thank you very much for your leadership, Mr. Chairman, in holding this very significant hearing. I mean, it is about time we had a hearing on this subject and started the dialogue officially that should have started a long time ago.
We are in the midst of a war. Everybody says it is the war on terrorism. It is not a war on terrorism. It is a war on radical Islam or radical Muslims, however you want to say it. That is what this war is all about, and we have to assume that the vast majority of Muslims in this world are our potential allies in this war rather than our potential enemies. Unfortunately, what we have and what we are experiencing is a radical element of a particular faith that is what you might call ''off the reservation'' and is engaged in acts of murder and terrorism against other people, trying to use force and violence in order to exercise their influence in this world, and they have declared war on western civilization.
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That is clearly the struggle that we have, and if we are to end that and make this a more peaceful world, we have to reach out to those that I would probably believe have to be 90 percent of the people of the Muslim faith who want a more peaceful world, and their faith stands for something far, far different than what we see on television and in movies and also in the newspapers. We need to reach out to them in a big way, and we need to understand what the concerns are, what the perceptions are, and how we can not only just live at peace but live as allies respecting each other's faith with those moderate Muslims in the world; otherwise, there will continue to be ongoing fights, there will be ongoing killing, there will be an ongoing destabilization of the world, and many people will lose their lives needlessly.
So it is really important that we are having this dialogue today and your leadership. Let me just note that many Americans just see, oh, my gosh, the Muslims are killing of Christians, and they are attacking our civilization, but it is clear that many Muslims see the world and see history much differently, and, yes, we recognize there is a radical element in Islam today exemplified by Mr. Bin Laden and his type and al-Qaeda, but we also realize that in the last 10 years Muslims have looked out over the world scene and seen Muslims being killed in great numbers in the Kashmir, killed by Hindus, Hindus killing Muslims in great number, we see in the Balkans great numbers of Muslims, again, noncombatants, being killed by Christians in the Balkans, by Serbians who marched Muslim children and Muslim noncombatants out into the woods and raped them and slaughtered them, and we also know that Muslims turn on their TV throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, and see Palestinian children being killed by Israeli troops in great number.
We have to make sure that the perception on our side of this gulf, on the United States side and the western side, does not put all Muslims into that bag or into that category of the enemy and people who are committing horrible atrocities. We also have to make sure that Muslims do not put western people and other people in the world, non-Muslims, in a category as the enemy. What we need is mutual respect and people who are committed from all faiths to respect the rights of people of other faiths, and that is what our goal is. That is the goal, not to superimpose any faith on anyone.
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So I really appreciate your leadership in starting this dialogue, Mr. Chairman. I am anxious to hear the testimony today. We can make this a better world if we reach out to one another and to the good people on both sides and try to understand where people are coming from and try to work together against the radical elements in all of our societies that would make war on each other when we can live in peace. Thank you very much.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you, David. Let me apologize to the panel. I think, rather than breaking up an initial testimony, it would be better to adjourn for the vote and then reconvene, and so what I would like to do at this point is recess. It will probably be about 20 minutes, and so the Committee will be in recess.
[Whereupon, at 1:45 p.m., a recess was taken.]
Mr. LEACH. The Committee will reconvene. Let me briefly introduce our witnesses. Our first witness is Dr. Meredith Weiss, who is assistant professor of international studies at DePaul University.
Our second witness is Mr. Douglas E. Ramage, who is with the Asia Foundation and represents the Asia Foundation in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Our third representative is Ambassador Husain Haqqani. Ambassador Haqqani is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace here in Washington and is an adjunct professor at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University.
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We welcome each of you, and we look forward to your testimony. Without objection, your full statements will be placed in the record, and unless there is an agreement of the panel, we will proceed in the order in which I have introduced the witnesses and proceed as you see fit. We would prefer if you could hold your statements to about 5 minutes. Dr. Weiss.
STATEMENT OF MEREDITH WEISS, PH.D., ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR OF THE GRADUATE PROGRAM, DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, DePAUL UNIVERSITY
Ms. WEISS. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Rohrabacher. It is an honor to have been asked to testify before this Subcommittee, and the chief difficulty I face in doing so is that Islam in the region resists generalization, dating back centuries and manifesting quite differently across countries and even provinces within countries, and I only have, I was told, 8 to 10 minutes to speak, perhaps 5. This overview will thus necessarily be a bit sketchy, but my written remarks go into more detail.
I will discuss Southeast Asia primarily, how Islam has developed in the various countries, current dynamics, and political aspects. I will leave a more focused discussion of U.S. policy vis-a-vis Islam in the region to the others from whom you will be hearing today.
One-quarter of the world's Muslims are to be found scattered throughout much of Southeast Asia. Three of the region's 11 countries have predominantly Muslim populations: Indonesia, Brunei, and Malaysia. Two countries have small but geographically concentrated Muslim minorities engaged in secessionist struggles: Predominantly Catholic Philippines and predominantly Buddhist Thailand. Other countries in the region also have significant Muslim minorities: Singapore, Burma, Cambodia, and East Timor.
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Flanking Southeast Asia are China, with over 20 million Muslims, and India in which Muslims represent the largest religious minority.
Most Muslims in Southeast Asia are Sunni, though there are small numbers of Shi'a, Wahhabi, and other sects. Several factors mark Islam in Southeast Asia as distinctive from the religion as practiced elsewhere. First, Islam in Southeast Asia tends to be moderate and tolerant. Like other religions in Southeast Asia, Islam was superimposed over animist, Hindu, and other traditions and has retained certain features of those religions. Moreover, Islam in Southeast Asia has taken root in a region marked by quite different local customs than those of other regions. For instance, Southeast Asia historically has been a region of remarkably high gender equity, openness to trade, and peaceful accommodation among groups. While Arab-influenced dress and other traditions have become more prevalent in the region over the past few decades, some of those influences may be relatively superficial.
Second, Islam is both a religious and a political force in Southeast Asia. Particularly in Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia, Islamic political parties compete in elections alongside secular or other religious ones. Islam as a political orientation in Southeast Asia has rarely taken on a militant stance outside a radical fringe or at times of severe societal upheaval. Moreover, even Islamist political parties or groups may not seek installation of an Islamic state. Both Malaysia and Indonesia are marked by strong traditions of civil Islam or progressive, pro-democratic orientations among Muslims in the context of largely secular states.
Third, importantly, religious and ethnic identities coincide in much of the region. With some exceptions, Muslims and non-Muslims are marked not just by religious difference but by ethnic difference. For instance, Thai Muslims are predominantly ethnic Malays, contra the ethnic, Thai Buddhist majority. Hence, what appear to be religious grievances may also be ethnic ones, and religious discrimination may be disguised racism.
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Fourth, even when groups are called ''Islamic,'' other issues also matter. The overlap of religious and other claims admits of various possible framings for grievances. For instance, Thai Muslims are concentrated in the comparatively poor, underserved southern provinces. The Thai state's efforts to appease Muslim separatists have thus included programs for economic development as well as religious initiatives. Similarly, demands for secession and Aceh are couched in terms of Islam but are also about economics. The province supplies about 30 percent of national oil exports but is one of the poorest in Indonesia. Moreover, those Muslim separatist movements most active in the region, much as, for instance, in Kashmir, are longstanding and have in the past been framed more in terms of self-determination than Islam.
Fifth, levels and forms of observance vary dramatically among Muslims. As is the case with any religion, Islam as practiced every day in Southeast Asia may diverge sharply from its formal tenets. Moreover, variations in ideology and observance coexist across the region and within individual countries. For instance, a major rift among Indonesian Muslims is between more pious ''modernists'' and less-orthodox traditionalists. Similarly, Malaysia's Islamic Party adopts a dual strategy, appealing differently to Muslim urban professionals than to traditional rural Malays. Despite an Islamic revival that has swept Southeast Asia since the 1970s, promoting a more modernist, urban-radical approach, these variations persist. An indigenous feminist approach to Islam is also to be found in the region.
This broad overview glosses significant distinctions across states in Southeast Asia, given the divergence in Islamic practice and politics throughout the region. Given that diversity, any policy recommendations must be sensitive to the specific context. All the same, past history and current trends suggest a few broad generations to inform policymaking.
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First, the need for equitable economic development to prevent perceptions of comparative disadvantage. Southeast Asia has made rapid economic gains since the 1960s. Some of the areas in which Islamic radicalism is most a threat are those that have not enjoyed such prosperity, such as southern Thailand and Aceh. Other incidents of religious tension, such as Muslim-Christian violence in Indonesia in the late 1990s, are similarly wrapped up with racial scapegoating on account of economic grievances. Socio-economic deprivation may be framed as predominantly Islamic, since the disaffected communities are that as well, but may be addressed as much through attention to economic development as to Islamist remedies.
Second, the need for democratic incorporation to preclude militancy. Southeast Asia has been the United States's second front in the war on terrorism, but specific incidents of terror have been comparatively few, aside from such notorious attacks as the ones by Jemaah Islamiyah in Bali and Jakarta. Even if violent outbursts have been rare, however, the countries in the region have knowingly or unknowingly served as havens and springboards for some of the most active Islamic militant groups and leaders. All the same, it bears reiteration that Muslims in Southeast Asia, both historically and today, tend to be moderate. What radical fringe there is does not represent the mainstream of public opinion, nor are any governments in the region likely to become significantly more radically Islamist in the near future.
In those states with enough of a Muslim majority for Islam to be a significant factor in politics, Islamic parties participate in and generally strongly endorse democratic elections and institutions, and, for instance, as was obvious with the last Malaysian elections, radical Islamist appeals enjoy limited support.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The countries of Southeast Asia offer compelling support for the thesis that the best way to moderate radical appeals, whether Islamist or otherwise, is to expand outlets for democratic participation, thus lessening the appeal of extra-institutional agitation.
Third and finally, the need for multilateral cooperation to combat extremism. Overall, the nations of Southeast Asia have cooperated with the United States in its counterterrorism programs despite widespread popular disagreement, which itself seems to have had a radicalizing influence with many of the strategies of the United States, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq and regarding visa requirements for Southeast Asian nationals. Moreover, efforts to curb Islamist radicalism in the region predate these initiatives and even 9/11. Given the transnational nature of extremist networks and the regionwide aspirations of groups like Jemaah Islamiyah, such multilateral efforts seem more likely to be productive than any one country's cracking down and driving its radical fringe into neighboring states.
In conclusion, Islam in Southeast Asia is diverse and distinctive. It should certainly not be presumed inherently antidemocratic or divisive but should be engaged as an integral part of the culture, politics, and civil society of a complex and geo-strategically important region. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Weiss follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MEREDITH WEISS, PH.D., ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR OF THE GRADUATE PROGRAM, DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, DEPAUL UNIVERSITY
It is an honor to have been asked to testify before this subcommittee on the nature, significance, and implications for United States foreign policy of Islam in Asia. The chief difficulty I face in doing so is that Islam in the region resists generalization, dating back centuries and manifesting quite differently across countries and even regions within countries. This overview will thus necessarily be rather superficial. I will focus on Southeast Asia rather than South or East Asia. Moreover, I will concentrate on the view from the region: how Islam has developed in the various countries, current dynamics, and political aspects. I will leave a more focused discussion of US policy vis-a-vis Islam in the region to the others from whom you will be hearing today.
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I will begin with a general overview of Islam in Southeast Asia, then offer a very brief discussion of related sociopolitical trends in the several countries in the region in which Islam represents a significant force, then conclude with some broad conclusions and trends.
I. OVERVIEW OF ISLAM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Islam first entered Southeast Asia by way of Arab and Indian Muslim traders, taking root in the region's port cities by the 14th century . By now, one-quarter of the world's Muslims are to be found scattered throughout most of Southeast Asia. Three of the region's eleven countries have predominantly Muslim populations:
Indonesiaapproximately 87 percent Muslim
Brunei63 percent Muslim
Malaysia60 percent Muslim.
Two countries have small but geographically-concentrated Muslim minorities that pose significant security threats:
The Philippinesapproximately 5 percent Muslim (and otherwise mostly Catholic), concentrated on the island of Mindanao
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thailandapproximately 4 percent Muslim (and otherwise mostly Buddhist), concentrated in four southern provinces.
Other countries in the region have significant Muslim minorities that do not pose significant security threats:
Singapore16 percent Muslim
Burmaaround 4 percent Muslim (much higher before many fled persecution under the military junta), concentrated in the Arakan region
Cambodiaa few percent Muslim
East Timornow just a few percent Muslim, but more before secession from Indonesia.
Within the region, only Vietnam and Laos have Muslim populations of trivial size. Flanking Southeast Asia are China, with over 20 million Muslims (1.4 percent of the mainland population), and India, in which Muslims are the largest religious minority group (12 percent of the total population).
Most Muslims in Southeast Asia are Sunni, of the Syafi'i school (one of four legal traditions in Sunni Islam), though there are small numbers of Shi'a, Wahhabi, and other sects. Many ethnic Cham are Bani (a sect unique to the Cham, who are found primarily in Cambodia and neighboring countries).
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Several factors mark Islam in Southeast Asia as distinctive from the religion as practiced elsewhere:
1. Islam in Southeast Asia tends to be moderate and tolerant.
Like other religions in Southeast Asia, Islam was superimposed over animist, Hindu, and other traditions, and has retained certain features of those religions. Moreover, Islam in Southeast Asia has taken root in a region marked by quite different local customs than those of other regions. For instance, Southeast Asia historically has been a region of remarkably high gender equity (extending even to matriarchy in some regions), openness to trade, and peaceful accommodation among groups. While Arab-influenced dress and other traditions have become more prevalent in the region over the past few decades, those influences may be relatively superficial.
2. Islam is both a religious and political force in Southeast Asia.
Particularly in Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia, Islamic parties compete in elections alongside secular or other religious ones. Islam as a political orientation in Southeast Asia has rarely taken on a militant stance, outside a radical fringe or at times of severe societal upheaval. Moreover, even Islamist political parties or groups may not seek installation of an Islamic state (strict adherence to Islamic law and rule by religious authorities). Both Malaysia and Indonesia are marked by strong traditions of ''civil Islam,'' or progressive, pro-democratic orientations among Muslims.
3. Religious and ethnic cleavages coincide in much of the region.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With some exceptions (the Philippines, for example), Muslims and non-Muslims are marked not just by religious difference, but also by ethnic difference. Thai Muslims are predominantly ethnic Malays (contra the Thai Buddhist majority). So are Muslims in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, in all of which non-Muslims are mostly ethnic Chinese. Muslims in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam are predominantly of Cham ethnicity. Hence, what appear to be religious grievances may also be ethnic ones, and religious discrimination may be disguised racism.
4. Even when groups are called ''Islamic,'' other issues also matter.
The overlap of religious and other claims admits of various possible framings for grievances. For instance, Thai Muslims are concentrated in the comparatively poor, underserved southern provinces; the Thai state's efforts to curb Muslim unrest in the long term has thus included programs for economic development and not just support for religious customs and needs. Similarly, the conflict in Aceh is couched in terms of Islam, but is also about economics: the province supplies around 30 percent of national oil exports, but is one of the poorest in Indonesia.
5. Levels and forms of observance vary dramatically among Muslims.
As is the case with any religion, Islam as practiced everyday in Southeast Asia may diverge sharply from its formal tenets. Moreover, different schools of thought and piety coexist across the region and within individual countries. For instance, a major rift among Indonesian Muslims is between more pious ''modernists'' and less orthodox traditionalists. Similarly, Malaysia's Islamic Party (PAS) adopts a dual strategy to appeal both to Muslim urban professionals and to more traditional rural Malays, and Thai Muslims in the north tend to be more assimilated than those in the southern provinces. Despite an Islamic revival that has swept Southeast Asia since the 1970s, promoting a more modernist or even radical approach, these variations persist. An indigenous feminist approach to Islam is also to be found in the region.
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6. Southeast Asia's Muslim-majority states maintain close relations with both other Muslim states and non-Muslim states.
Malaysia in particular styles itself as a bridge between East and West, as it both plays a leading role in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and enjoys close trade, diplomatic, and other ties with the United States and other non-Muslim countries. Developments since September 11, 2001 have strained these ties at times, given the unpopularity in the region of the American actions in Iraq in particular and widespread sympathy for Palestinians and other Muslims. Even so, ties remain close and countries in the region have broadly cooperated with American-led counterterrorism initiatives.
II. COUNTRY-SPECIFIC ANALYSIS
This broad overview glosses significant distinctions across states in Southeast Asia, given the divergence in Islamic practice and politics throughout the region. The countries most critical in terms of the import of Islam are Indonesia and Malaysia, but Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore also merit discussion. While the Muslim minorities in the other countries (or majority in Brunei, an absolute monarchy with Islam as the state religion) may face difficulties of their own, they generally pose too minor a political force or security risk to require a coherent policy response from the US. The analysis that follows is necessarily brief and thus incomplete, but highlights major attributes and trends in each country.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Home to around 200 million Muslims, most of them Sunni, Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim country. While Indonesians are free to practice other religions, Islam has long been tied with national identity in integral ways. For instance, nationalist leader and Indonesia's first president, Soekarno, argued for the coherence of nationalism, Islam, and Marxism; and among the most significant early nationalist organizations and post-independence parties were (or were outgrowths of) mass Islamic associations that could unite individuals with otherwise disparate identities. Chief among these were and are the modernist (or santri), 30 million-strong Muhammadiyah, founded in 1912, and traditionalist (abangan) Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), founded in 1926 and now with around 40 million members.
Still, at the time of independence, in the interest of national unity, Indonesia's constitution established a secular state. Indeed, the Pancasila (literally, Five Principles), Indonesia's national ideology and ''sole backbone'' of all sociopolitical organizations under Soeharto's New Order regime (196798), mandated only monotheism, and not necessarily Islamic faith. While political parties today are free today to adopt a basis other than the Pancasila, few center themselves around radical Islam, and those that do enjoy far less political support than secular, nationalist parties. This tendency has been attributed both to the effect of three decades of authoritarian rule in suppressing demands for syariah (Islamic law) and to the emergence of moderate, pro-democratic thinking in Muhammadiyah and the NU. Even today, these mass Islamic organizations do not support the extension of syariah law to all Muslims in Indonesia, and a proposal for that never even came to a formal vote in the process of recent constitutional amendments.
Upon Soeharto's forced resignation in May 1998, his deputy, B.J. Habibie, took over as interim president. Having headed the Ikatan Cendekiawan Muslim Indonesia (ICMI), a network of Muslim intellectuals fostered by Soeharto to shore up support for his regime, Habibie enjoyed support from Islamist students and activists, despite his obvious ties to the discredited New Order government. Islamist opposition to having a woman as leaderembodied in a ''central axis'' formed posthoc among Muslim partieskept Megawati Sukarnoputri, Soekarno's popular daughter, out of the presidency after the June 1999 elections. NU head Abdurrahman Wahid assumed the post instead, only to be impeached and succeeded by Megawati two years later. Taking her place as vice president, though, was the comparatively conservative Islamist Hamzah Haz.
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Even though most national leaders and citizens are Muslim, disagreement persists on how Islamic the state should be. This dispute is most heated in the province of Aceh, the northern portion of the island of Sumatra. 75 percent of Aceh's population is ethnic Acehnese and retains a strong sense of identity derived from the precolonial Acehnese sultanate, anti-Dutch resistance through the early 20th century, strong commitment to Islam, and a long-standing movement for regional autonomy or secession, beginning with the Islamic Darul Islam rebellion of the 1950s (which resulted in the province's being granted ''special territory'' status). Policies of the New Order such as transmigration of other ethnic groups into Aceh and the perceived exploitation of the Arun gasfields for the benefit more of outsiders than of locals ratcheted up sentiments. Leading the charge for secession has been the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (Free Aceh Movement, GAM), launched in 1976 by Teungku Hasan di Tiro (in exile in Sweden since the suppression of a 1989 GAM revolt). The New Order state made Aceh a Military Operations Area (DOM) and was brutal in its suppression of dissent. The post-transition regime has been more willing to negotiate, lifted DOM status in August 1998, and granted only Aceh and Papua ''special autonomy'' status in October 1999. However, a referendum on secession, as was held in East Timor, has been staunchly denied and a succession of peace talks and ceasefire agreements have collapsed. Islam provides a key frame for mobilizationfor instance, the Indonesian state is criticized by GAM leaders as insufficiently Islamistand concessions by the federal government have included extending syariah in Aceh, but the dispute is not really about Islam per se so much as the economic and political marginalization of the province. Indeed, even implementation of syariah has not been a consistent demand of Acehnese activists.
Indonesia does have a radical Islamist fringe, most notably embodied in the Jemaah Islamiyah (Community of Islam, JI), headed by Abu Bakar Ba'asyir (who was sentenced in February 2004 to four years' jail for treason). After a spate of robberies, hijackings, and bombings dating back to 1994, including a raft of church bombings on Christmas Eve in 2000, JI leaped into prominence in October 2002 with the bombing of two nightclubs in Bali. This incident forced Megawati to take stronger action against radical networks in Indonesia. Previously, she had been wary of aggravating Muslim extremists with a crackdown, but her government launched an ultimately quite effective investigation into the Bali attack. The Bali bombing was followed in July 2003 by an attack on the Indonesian parliament, then with the bombing of the Jakarta Marriott Hotel the next month. Other targets around the same time included a McDonald's restaurant, the Jakarta airport, and a bridge near the United Nations headquarters in Jakarta. Other radical groups include the Laskar Jihad, which has terrorized Christians especially in the Maluku islands and Sulawesi since the late 1990s, though government-brokered ceasefire agreements in 2001 and 2002 have helped restore calm; and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which has attacked bars, billiard halls, and comparable ''immoral'' venues. All the same, the vast majority of Indonesian Muslims remain moderate and pluralist in orientation, and most prominent religious authorities condemn the use of violence.
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The politics of semidemocratic Malaysia have been organized since before independence in 1957 primarily along ''communal,'' or racial, lines. However, those lines nearly match lines of religious cleavage. Hence, the two main parties catering principally to Muslims cater also mostly to Malays: Parti Islam seMalaysia (Malaysian Islamic Party, PAS) and the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO, from which PAS was an offshoot in the late 1950s). Indeed, the federal constitution denies Malays freedom of religion; all must be and remain Muslim. Moreover, since the colonial period, Muslims have been subject to syariah law rather than secular codes for family and religious matters. The criminal code, in contrast, is uniform for all Malaysians, and implementation of hudud penalties (stoning, amputation, etc.) is unconstitutional.
Malaysia has had a significant Islamist political opposition since the 1950s, most clearly embodied in PAS and especially since the 1970s, in a range of non-governmental mass organizations. Such activism has generally been contained within legal bounds: contesting elections, organizing in registered societies for community service and advocacy work, etc. There have been sporadic violent incidents on occasion, but since open political participation is allowed, only a small minority turns to extremism. Still, sects apart from Sunni are banned as ''deviant,'' and their adherents are subject to detention under the Internal Security Act or other legislation. Most notable in this regard is the Darul Arqam movement, which was banned in 1994 for its teachings and its purported antistate proclivities.
Depending on the political climate and which issues seem tantamount, UMNO and PAS vacillate between an openly ethnic chauvinist line and an Islamist one, though the latter has increasingly prevailed since the early 1980s. At that time, UMNO coopted a leading Islamist activist, Anwar Ibrahim, into the government and adopted a program of ''assimilation of Islamic values'' in government administration, including such steps as establishing an Islamic university and Islamic banking system. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (in office 19812003) and his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, also cultivated closer ties with Muslim nations and have urged Muslim solidarity, especially in the face of recent developments in Afghanistan and Iraq, even while maintaining trade and diplomatic ties with non-Muslim states. The fact that political rivalry between UMNO and PAS has taken the form of spiraling Islamization seems to have encouraged radicalization among Muslims.
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Starting in the early 1970s, as increasing number of young Malays entered higher education at home and abroadthanks in large part to federal affirmative action programs designed to uplift the economically disadvantaged Malay massan Islamic revival took root in Malaysia. Called dakwah (literally, ''call to Islam'') and popular especially among university students, particularly those in the sciences, this movement was more about making Muslims better Muslims than about proselytization. The government cracked down on this movement in its early days not so much for its Islamist flavor as for its oppositional and left-wing bent: Islamist students joined with socialist student groups and others to stage mass rallies in support of poor farmers, landless urban poor, and the like. The government subsequently took stepssuch as the recruitment of Anwar into UMNO in 1981, forming its own dakwah organizations, and implementing more Islamist policiesto coopt Islamist activism. In addition, particularly in the last several years, the government has taken steps to curb independent Islamic schools, largely because they were seen as turning youths away from the UMNO-led government and bolstering PAS's future chances. In October 2001, Mahathir went so far as to declare Malaysia already an Islamic state to obviate support for PASalthough at the risk of irritating the approximately 40 percent of the population that is not Muslim.
Popular discontent among Malays with the UMNO-led government tends to be channeled into support for PAS or for less enduring Malay-dominated splinter parties. One such surge in support for PAS came in the late 1990s, in the wake of the Asian economic crisis, when PAS joined with other opposition parties in the Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front) to contest against Mahathir and his UMNO-dominated Barisan Nasional (National Front) government with a platform of social justice and democracy. In the November 1999 general elections, PAS secured control of a second state's government (the predominantly rural, Malay, east coast state of Trengganu; the party already controlled neighboring Kelantan). However, PAS performed far less well in the March 2004 general elections. Its real or apparent radicalismthe promotion of Islamist social policies and criminal statutes in the two states it controlled even at the expense of Alternative Front cohesion, party leaders' statements of support for the Taliban, popular panic over Islamist militancy in Malaysiatogether with Mahathir's retirement and innovations by UMNO to win back support (including by asserting its Islamist credentials) cost PAS substantial support.
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While Malaysia has shown no tendency toward political or religious violence since independence, the country has been a conduit for JI and other radical groups and individuals within Malaysia do have ties with Afghan mujahideen (and some fought with the Taliban against the Soviets in the 1980s), Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, and other groups. Eager both to discredit the Islamist opposition and to prevent and violent outbreaks in Malaysia, the government has been proactive in weeding out such threats. For instance, just before 9/11, Mahathir announced the discovery of a network of extremists determined to establish a united Islamic government in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, signaling the start of a crackdown.
In mid-2000, the government announced the discovery of a large arms cache and a violent standoff with members of the 1,800-strong, ''deviant'' Islamic Al-Ma'unah sect (led by the charismatic Mohd. Amin bin Razali). Security forces launched an onslaught against the group; Mohd. Amin and six of his followers were eventually tried and sentenced to death. The following year, a spate of arrests preceded the detention in August of ten alleged members of the underground Malaysian Mujahideen Group (KMM, which grew out of a loose association formed in the mid-1980s of graduates of Pakistani, Indian, and Indonesian schools). Some of them were veterans of the Afghan war and seven (including the son of the PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat) were also PAS membersthough PAS denied any substantial connection to KMM or other extremist groups. The KMM was implicated in two bank robberies, the assassination of a state assemblyman, and other attacks. In addition, a number of Malaysians were implicated in violent incidents in Indonesia, and the Malaysian cell of JI is the largest in the network, has served as a conduit between JI and al-Qaeda, and has facilitated weapons procurement, regional military training, and other tasks. Among other links, al-Qaeda Asian operations mastermind Riduan Isamuddin (a.k.a. Hambali) spent time working and preaching in Malaysia in the 1990s, having returned there in the late 1980s upon his return from Afghanistan. Although evidence of the government's claims was sketchy and the impugning of PAS seemed likely political opportunism, popular fears of radical Islamist militancy tempered public opposition to the crackdown on such activities, which has ranged from arrests of alleged KMM members to a new compulsory national service scheme for youths. As in Indonesia, though, the vast majority of Malaysian Muslims remain nonviolent and comparatively moderate in orientation.
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Although Thai national identity and ideology are significantly styled around the three pillars of King, Country, and Buddhism, the country has a long-standing Muslim minority. The majority of Thai Muslims are ethnic Malays and geographically concentrated in four southern provinces bordering on Malaysia and known as Greater Pattani (albeit with substantial, generally more assimilated, contingents also in Bangkok and the northeast). The federal government's policies of forced integration or neglect of the south, plus Thai prejudice against Malay-Muslims, has helped to sustain a long-standing insurgency. The state, in turn, has combined religious and economic concessions to attempt to reorient irredentist Malay-Muslims toward Thai culture and identity.
Particularly under democratic rule (given that Muslims constitute the majority in many constituencies, especially in the south), cultural pluralism seemed to be taking root and Muslim unrest was waning by the 1980s. Notably, in 1986, southern Muslim parliamentarians established an interparty Al-Wahdah faction to promote and safeguard Muslims' collective interests and political awareness. Consolidation of this faction gave Muslim MPs bargaining power, which helped them to increase their representation. By the late 1990s, Muslims were playing a greater role than ever before in national politics, serving in parliament and the cabinet, and Muslims had been granted unprecedented freedom of religious observance. However, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra launched a series of ''wars'' on drugs and ''dark influences'' in 2003. These efforts seemed to signal a harder line, less democratic approach from the regime: the ''war on drugs,'' for instance, resulted in over 50,000 arrests and 2,000 deaths in a three month period. The use of purportedly excessive force by the military, including against ''criminal gangs'' (some of them Muslim separatists) in the south, may have heightened resentment against the state.
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Muslim unrest has increased since the late 1990s, and especially since January 2004, in the southern provinces, possibly coordinated by armed separatist group, Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO). While PULO has been active for decades, its agitation diminished after a boost in support in the politically turbulent 1970s. It is now one of many radical secessionist groups operating in southern Thailandand the current unrest may be uncoordinated and/or spearheaded by groups more radical than PULO. Despite recent outbursts, the Thai government had preferred to keep its counterinsurgency operations low-key, for fear of deterring tourists. In June 2003, Thaksin met with President Bush at the White House and agreed to cooperate more actively in antiterrorism campaigns. Two months later, in August 2003, JI mastermind Hambali was arrested in southern Thailand, and several other key al-Qaeda and JI figures were also detained in the country.
Meanwhile, though, the separatist Pattani Liberation Front (PLF, formed in 1960) issued threats against the Thai embassies in Singapore and Malaysia, and violent outbursts continued in southern Thailand. Islamic schools in the region, as well as examples and assistance from Islamic radicals elsewhere, appear to have played a key role in radicalizing Thai Muslims and fostering dozens of extremist groups. At least a half-dozen different groups of varying degrees of radicalism are active now, some of them reputedly linked with JI or al-Qaeda. In the course of violent raids by Islamic militants (possibly organized by the separatist Barisan Revolusi Nasional, National Revolutionary Front), over 100 Thai Muslims were killed by security forces in April 2004 alone. Malaysia expressed fears that the violence would spill over the border, especially if Thai Muslim militants sought refuge on the Malaysian sideand a number of Malaysians were arrested in the course of security sweeps in southern Thailand, bolstering Thai government claims that Malaysians were training and abetting the separatists. Apart from violent suppression, Thaksin has also proposed job creation and economic development as remedies, citing the region's lack of development as a key factor in the unrest. Still, extremists have little popular support among Thai Muslims.
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The Philippines is overwhelmingly (80 percent) Catholic, with another 10 percent Protestant. However, as in Thailand, the Muslim minority is geographically concentrated in the south (especially the island of Mindanao), which lends it force. Filipino Muslims differ in culture, language, and political history from other Filipinos. Still, it was intrusions from the northChristian immigration into the region encouraged by the central government, for instancethat really helped to foster a self-conscious Muslim identity and attachment to a Muslim cause by the mid-20th century.
The main secessionist group among Filipino Muslims was initially the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which waged a violent struggle against the state for over twenty years. The MNLF signed a peace accord with President Fidel Ramos's administration in 1996, resulting in a stronger Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM, first established in 1990). The government also took steps to foster Muslim-Christian understanding and integration by promoting business and other opportunities, including in the armed forces and police, for ex-MNLF members.
However, a more radical group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), continued its offensive, seeking greater autonomy or secession. Other, smaller terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, which splintered off from the MNLF in 1991 to demand a separate Muslim state (though the group is dismissed by mainstream Muslim leaders as an unIslamic gang of criminals), complicate the picture. Despite periodic ceasefire agreements and peace negotiations, hostilities continue. A series of kidnappings, bombings, and other violent attacks prompted a crackdown by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's government starting in 2001. In addition to being given wider powers to detain suspected militants, with US support, the Filipino military launched an aggressive military offensive against the MILF and Abu Sayyaf. Malaysia and USAID also brokered talks between the MILF and the Filipino government. Taking yet another tack, the government has worked to integrate Islamic madrasah into the national education system and has, for instance, introduced the first public holiday for a Muslim holy day (Eid al-Fitr). Macapagal-Arroyo has staunchly supported US-led counterterrorism efforts in the region, even at the cost of domestic opposition to US military involvement.
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The only Chinese-majority state in Southeast Asia, Singapore has a substantial, indigenous Malay-Muslim minority, as well as a significant number of Indian and other Muslims. In the interest of national unity, Singapore prohibits religious or racial appeals in politics and religious education in public schools. Still, the government has established councils for the support of each racial community; Mendaki, for Malays, is complemented by the government-supported Association of Muslim Professionals and related ventures. Tensions over Islam surface mainly with regard to education. With legislation on compulsory national education enacted in 2000, the government took steps to integrate Islamic schools into a national framework by requiring that they train students to the same standard as other schools, but the community resists what it sees as government interference. A prohibition on girls' wearing Islamic headscarves to school also caused tensions in 2002.
Singapore has been implicated in Islamic radicalism, but more as a target or entrepoAE3t than as a source of threats.
III. TRENDS AND CONCLUSIONS
Given the diversity of Islamic practice and Islamist politics in Southeast Asia, formulating a unified policy response would be problematic; variations within the region beg context-sensitive approaches. All the same, past history and current trends suggest a few broad generalizations to inform policymaking.
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Southeast Asia is characterized not just by its position in the Islamic world, but also by its affinity for free market capitalism (even in the region's ''communist'' states). Apart from recessions in the mid-1980s and late 1990s, Muslim Southeast Asia has made rapid economic gains since the 1960s. Some of the areas in which Islamic radicalism is most a threat are those that have not enjoyed such prosperity, such as southern Thailand and Aceh. Other incidents of religious tension, as in Indonesia in the late 1990s, are similarly wrapped up with racial scapegoating on account of economic grievances. Socioeconomic deprivation may be framed as predominantly Islamic (since the disaffected communities are that, as well), but may be addressed as much through attention to economic development as to the strengthening of syariah law or other Islamist remedies.
At the same time, in Southeast Asia as elsewhere, Islamic revival and radicalization accompanied the expansion of opportunities for higher education, especially in technical fields, with economic development. It is probably not the case, however, that something about education and modernization foments radicalism, but rather, that the rapid movement of mostly rural Muslim youths to urban campuses at home or abroad fostered feelings of anomie, inadequacy, and displacement, encouraging those students to seek out empathetic communities. Particularly for those students studying overseas, those communities were often populated not only by co-nationals, but also by Muslims from Pakistan, Egypt, and elsewhere, who exposed young Southeast Asians to new and sometimes radical Islamic teachings. One might then expect this apparent correlation between rising education levels and rising radicalism to decline over time, as access to higher education becomes more commonplace and as urbanization brings greater mingling between Muslims and non-Muslims and awareness of their common interests.
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Deterring militancy: The need for democratic incorporation
Given the prevalence and political significance of Islam in Southeast Asia, the region has been the US's second front in the ''war on terrorism.'' Specific incidents of terror have been comparatively few, aside from such notorious attacks as the ones by JI in Bali and Jakarta. Even if actual violent outbursts have been rare, however, countries in the region have knowingly or unknowingly served as havens or springboards for some of the most active Islamic militant groups and leaders, including ones linked with al-Qaeda, as well as for an active small arms trade that supplies rebel groups. Moreover, authorities in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore express increasing concern over region-wide networks of militants, whether or not those networks are closely tied with comparable networks in the Middle East or South Asia. Police in Malaysia and Singapore allege that radical groups have the aim of establishing a Daulah Islamiah Raya, or unified Islamic state, to encompass Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and portions of the Philippines, Thailand, and even Cambodia.
All the same, it bears reiteration that Islam in Southeast Asiaboth historically and todaytends to be moderate, with little proclivity toward violence. What radical fringe there is does not represent the mainstream of public opinion, nor are any governments in the region likely to become significantly more radically Islamist in the near future. In those states with enough of a Muslim majority for Islam to be a significant factor in politics, Islamic parties participate in and generally strongly endorse democratic elections and institutions; those Islamist groups that are less pro-democratic are also generally politically and economically marginalized (for instance, in southern Thailand, Mindanao in the Philippines, or Aceh in Indonesia) and see little other outlet. The countries of Southeast Asia offer compelling support for the thesis that the best way to moderate radical appealswhether Islamist or otherwiseis to expand outlets for democratic participation, thus lessening the appeal of extra-institutional agitation.
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Curbing and preventing terrorism: The need for multilateral cooperation
Overall, the nations of Southeast Asia have cooperated with the United States in its counterterrorism programs, despite widespread disagreementwhich itself seems to have had a radicalizing influencewith many of the strategies of the US, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, efforts to curb Islamist radicalism in the region predate these initiatives and even 9/11. These initiatives have been bilateral, multilateral, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-wide; some have been confined to the region and others, in alliance with such partners as the US, Australia (which announced a preemptive defense strategy after over one hundred of its citizens were killed in Bali), and New Zealand.
For instance, within the region, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Cambodia have an agreement to combat terrorism with enhanced joint training, better border controls, and security cooperation, while a 20 May 2002 ASEAN joint communiqué expands military coordination and exchange more broadly, extending even to the establishment of a regional Anti-terrorist Center in Kuala Lumpur. Expanding beyond the region, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore (none of them majority-Muslim) have pursued Operation Enduring Freedom to promote regional security. Australia also signed an agreement with Malaysia and the Philippines in August 2002 for mutual defense and intelligence exchange. Furthermore, the United States has enhanced its military alliances with the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore to search out and combat Islamic militancy, and India has both renewed its security ties with the US and taken on a role in protecting the Straits of Melaka, the narrow waterway separating Indonesia from western Malaysia. Given the transnational nature of extremist networks, such multilateral efforts seem more likely to be productive than any one country's cracking down and driving its radical fringe into neighboring states.
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Mr. LEACH. Thank you for that very thoughtful testimony.
STATEMENT OF DOUGLAS E. RAMAGE, PH.D., REPRESENTATIVE, INDONESIA AND MALAYSIA, THE ASIA FOUNDATION
Mr. RAMAGE. Thank you very much for inviting me to testify before the Subcommittee on issues related to Islam and the United States in Southeast Asia. It is, indeed, an honor to be here today.
I reside in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I have been the representative of the Asia Foundation since 1996. My experience developing democracy support programs in collaboration with Islamic organizations in Indonesia is what informs much of my testimony today. Given the time constraints, I will do my best to summarize my remarks in the time allowed.
The Asia Foundation has long sought to support the efforts of Indonesia's Muslim majority to strengthen civil society, enhance women's rights, ensure free and fair election, and support education reform and pluralism in what is now the world's third-largest democracy and, of course, as we all know now, the world's largest Muslim-majority democracy. The foundation's programs with Muslim organizations in Indonesia, which started back in the 1980s, are reflective of the unique nature of Islam in Indonesia.
Indonesia just held its first direct presidential election this month, following successful legislative elections in April. What is little known about this election is that Indonesia's large, mainstream Muslim organizations effectively organize themselves to ensure the success of this politically ''secular,'' democratic process through a massive voter-education and election-monitoring effort reaching over 70 million voters. Yet despite this concrete demonstration of the Muslim majority's commitment to a politically secular democracy, Indonesians are frustrated. They are frustrated at the hijacking of their religion for political and violent purposes by others, especially in the Middle East, but also in their own country, as we have seen. They are also frustrated at their own difficulty to show those outside Indonesia the crucial role that Islam has played in the country's national development, from its emancipation from colonial rule to the more recent overthrow of authoritarianism, in large measure, due to the work of Muslim organizations.
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So as the United States seeks the best way to engage with and support Muslim-majority democracies, we would do well, I think, to distinguish between Islam in the Arab world and Islam in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia and in Indonesia, in particular. The United States should not look at Islam in a one-size-fits-all fashion, as you have already indicated in your opening remarks, Mr. Chairman, and I applaud the intent of the Subcommittee today in holding this hearing specifically to examine Islam in Asia and the relationship of the United States with Muslim societies there.
A quick note is necessary to understand the history of how Islam came to Indonesia. In short, Islam came to Indonesia by trade and commerce and not by conflict and conquest, and herein lies one of the fundamental distinctions between the spread of Islam in Southeast Asia and the spread of Islam in the Middle East. Indonesia is also distinguished from the Middle East by the presence of two very large, mass-based, Muslim organizations: The Muhammadiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama, or NU, which together comprise nearly 70 million members and are today the largest Muslim organizations not only in Indonesia but in the world.
In my written testimony, I address the issue of how the legitimate expression of religious faith was restricted during the authoritarian period in Indonesia, which lasted about 40 years up until 1998. During this period, it was Indonesia's own government that was the quickest to demonize Islam and to portray Islam, often falsely, as a threat to the state and to secularism.
Yet beginning in about the 1970s, a group of young, progressive thinkers and activists from Islamic organizations under the leadership of Abdurrahman Wahid, who later would become President, as well as Nurcolish Majid, argued that Islam should be the basis for the country's democratic development and the building of civil society. They began speaking out on the ways in which Islam supported human rights, pluralism, and social justice. These young Islamic activists and intellectuals were, therefore, going further than simply arguing the compatibility of Islam and democracy. In Indonesia, they were finding democratic values to be inherently rooted within Islam.
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In 1997, in order to support these kinds of efforts to strengthen civil society from an Islamic perspective, my organization, the Asia Foundation, began work on a program called Islam and Civil Society with support from the U.S. Government through USAID. The aim was to empower and further the effectiveness of Muslim groups in the democratization process.
It is clear to us that Indonesians are deeply proud of the role that Islam and Islamic organizations played in the overthrow of the authoritarian regime of President Suharto and the strengthening of the country's democracy over the past 5 years. But if this kind of Islam is more representative of the majority of Muslims in Indonesia, why, then, have militant groups gained such public visibility in the past several years? Why do we hear more about Jemaah Islamiyah than we do about voter education or the role of Islam in building democracy?
I think the question is rather complicated, and it is due to both domestic factors and international events. Let me talk a little bit about the international events, however, particularly September 11, 2001, which is described in a little bit more detail in my formal testimony.
Most Indonesians were, of course, appalled by the attack on the World Trade Center, but at the same time they disagreed with the United States response to the attacks. Many moderate Muslims in Asia eventually felt pushed into a corner by the ensuing polarization between the United States and the Muslim world. Militant groups in Indonesia were able to take advantage of these global events and the general upswing in Islamist rhetoric throughout the Muslim world in support of their own domestic, Indonesian, political agenda. But what is most important here is to recognize that the first groups to push back against this militancy in Indonesia were Indonesia's own Islamic organizations, and it was precisely the vibrancy of the country's new democracy that allowed the fundamental openness and pluralism of Indonesian Islam to reassert itself and eventually push back successfully against these militant groups a few years ago.
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An excellent example of this would be the campaign of a group that calls itself the Liberal Islam Network, which launched a nationwide media campaign for pluralism and tolerance which was supported by USAID and the Asia Foundation. In fact, the radio show that they host called Religion and Tolerance is the most widely listened-to talk show in Asia, according to Time Magazine.
We can, in fact, see a silver lining in how Indonesia's mainstream Muslim communities eventually responded to the tragedy of September 11th, as well as the Bali and Marriott bombings in their own country. Mainstream Muslims have been galvanized to reclaim debate over Islam in Indonesia and to recast Islam as a force for the defense of pluralism. As evidence of the success of the progressive mainstream groups' pushback against the militants, we can see how radical publications and militant leaders now profess to be in favor of equal rights for women, religious tolerance, and embrace democracy.
But it is most critical of all to note the outcome of Indonesia's elections. Islamic parties did not increase their vote total over the 1999 election. In fact, by far, the overwhelming share of votes remained with politically secular, mainstream, nationalist parties, and the most Islamist party of all only managed to increase its vote by dropping its support for Islamic issues. So, in other words, in Indonesia, if a Muslim party wants to gain votes, it needs to stop emphasizing Islam.
We see little or no evidence whatsoever that radical, Islamist political parties as a whole made any great cumulative gains in these elections. Once again, we can see that whenever Indonesians get a chance to use a democratic franchise, their vote, to participate in a free society, radical parties and militant views have always lost in Indonesia.
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At the request of the Committee, I would like to conclude with a few policy recommendations, and the first concerns education in Southeast Asia and Islam. As we all know, education reform in Southeast Asia is an important United States policy priority. Assistance for education is critical to Indonesia's development and should be aimed at improving educational quality across the board in state, secular, private, and Islamic schools. The Asia Foundation sees education as an important way to build needed capacity, to improve general academic standards, and at the same time, to generate goodwill for a new generation over the long haul.
I believe the American Ambassador to Indonesia, Ralph Boyce, and the USAID mission have very effectively communicated to the Indonesian public the new United States support for education reform in Indonesia, including a general recognition of the progressive nature of Indonesia's religious schools, and that education reform efforts will be aimed at improving the quality of basic education in all schools, both secular and Islamic. It is our view that this, in fact, is a sophisticated and constructive approach and if that education continues along these lines of both support for secular and Islamic schools, it will be an effective package of assistance welcomed by Indonesians.
That said, democracy and education reform programs should be initiated and driven by Indonesian educators, and, in fact, they have been ongoing for years with quiet United States assistance. So, really, it is a matter of continuing assistance which has already been in place. If anything, it should be significantly expanded.
The other recommendation concerns our public diplomacy and communication with the so-called ''Muslim world.'' We believe there is still a strong need for policymakers to acknowledge differences in the Muslim world in public remarks and in our statements and to use distinct definitions when discussing Muslim populations in Asia which represent, as you have already indicated in your opening remarks, the vast majority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims.
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References to the terms that refer to Muslim populations writ large, and I have already done it myself, as the ''Muslim world,'' ''Islamic state,'' and the ''Arab world'' often confuse or offend Indonesians. Indonesians, I believe, perceive that America's problems in the Middle East tend to lie with authoritarian Arab states and the lack of democracy in the Arab world and so should not be referred to as problems related to Islam. Policymakers should recognize and regularize references to Indonesia as a Muslim-majority democracy, as Indonesians have so carefully defined themselves.
Finally, in terms of our deeper, long-term engagement, the Asia Foundation's own experience is that short-term visits to the United States to see America do not help as much as the longer-term engagement derived from educational opportunities. Therefore, we believe greater support should be provided for Fulbright exchange programs and other scholarly exchanges. Some of the most progressive Muslim leaders in Indonesia today are the beneficiaries of these scholarship programs years ago. Additionally, Asian participation in the American Political Science Association's Congressional Fellowship program, in which Indonesian leaders have participated from Indonesia for the past 25 years, is an tremendously valuable program. Indeed, I think this hearing today was organized in part by an Indonesian Congressional Fellow, Dr. Cecep Effendi, who, back home in Indonesia, is a rector of an Islamic university.
Let me conclude my remarks. I believe that what increasingly typifies Islam in Indonesia are mainstream Muslim organizations' leaders speaking out against religious intolerance and in favor of pluralist, democratic values in the name of Islam. Indonesian Muslims and, indeed, Muslims throughout Southeast Asia, argue that it is the implementation of democratic society which is the full realization of Islamic values. And so it is important for Americans to recognize today that Indonesia is, indeed, working hard to establish a vibrant democracy in this Islamic context. The recent elections are important steps, but it is not just rhetoric; it is the concrete actions which demonstrate this. The only nationwide voter-education and election-monitoring groups were derived from the Muslim organizations, who together fielded over 100,000 election day observers. This is just one indigenous effort of the strength and vitality of Indonesia's democracy and concretely demonstrates how eager Muslim organizations are to participate to guarantee a secular process.
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Within the context of this democracy, there is also, clearly, a struggle within the Muslim community in its relationship to the state. There are militant groups. Clearly, they are willing to use violence to gain ground in Indonesia. We feel this keenly living there. But most important, those groups are a minority in Indonesia, and the history of Islam suggests that moderate views embodied within the two major Muslim organizations and the population at large are far more influential in the long run.
The challenge for the United States, then, is to identify and support those groups who are working toward a peaceful democracy within this context of a Muslim society and to sustain our engagement with them for the long term. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ramage follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DOUGLAS E. RAMAGE, PH.D., REPRESENTATIVE, INDONESIA AND MALAYSIA, THE ASIA FOUNDATION
Thank you for inviting me to testify before this Subcommittee on issues related to Islam and the United States in Southeast Asia. It is an honor to be here today. I reside in Jakarta, Indonesia where I have been the Representative of The Asia Foundation since 1996. My experience developing democracy support programs in collaboration with Islamic organizations in Indonesia informs much of my testimony today, as do my writings on democracy and Islam in Indonesia since the 1980s. The Asia Foundation, which established an office in Indonesia in 1955, has long sought to support the efforts of Indonesia's Muslim majority to strengthen civil society, enhance women's rights, ensure free and fair elections, support education reform, and to build tolerance and pluralism in this, now the world's third largest democracy, and the world's largest Muslim-majority democracy. The Foundation's programs with Muslim organizations in Indonesia, which started in the late 1980's, are reflective of the unique nature of Islam in Indonesia.
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Indonesia just held its first direct presidential election this month, following successful legislative elections in April. What is little known is that Indonesia's large, mainstream Muslim organizations effectively organized themselves to ensure the success of this politically ''secular'' democratic process through a massive voter education and election monitoring effort, reaching over 70 million voters. Yet Indonesians are also frustratedfrustrated at the hijacking of their religion for political and violent purposes by others, especially in the Middle East and South Asia, but also in their own countrywitness the Bali Bombing of October 2002 and the Marriot bombing in August last year. And they are also frustrated at their own difficulty to show those outside Indonesia the crucial role that Islam has played in Indonesia's national developmentfrom its emancipation from colonial rule, to the more recent role of Islam in overthrowing authoritarianism and building a democratic, pluralist, Indonesia.
As the United States seeks the best way in which to engage with and support Muslim-majority democracies, we would do well to distinguish between Islam in the Arab world and Islam in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia and Indonesia in particular. The United States should not look at Islam in a one-size fits all fashion, and I applaud the intent of the Subcommittee today, in holding this hearing to specifically examine Islam in Asia and the relationship of the United States with Muslim societies in Asia.
I will also speak to you today about how Islam has been a force for democratic change in Indonesia, and how the United States Government, in collaboration with private institutions like The Asia Foundation, have supported these initiatives, in most cases stretching back for more than a decade.
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II. HOW ISLAM CAME TO INDONESIA AND DIFFERENCES WITH THE MIDDLE EAST
In order to understand the unique role Islam has played in Indonesia's development, including the role of Islam in the country's recent successful democratization process, it is useful to note briefly how Islam came to Southeast Asia. In short, Islam came to Indonesia by trade and commerce, not by conflict and conquest. And herein lies one of the fundamental distinctions between the spread of Islam in Southeast Asia, and the spread of Islam in the Middle East. Moreover, Islam came to Indonesia via India and by this route, the Islam that ended up in Indonesia bore many sufistic and syncretic tendencies, and so was quite easily accommodated by the pre-existing Hindu-Buddhist traditions of Java and other island kingdoms.
Islam was first brought to Indonesia by Arab traders via India during the 8th century, but it was not until approximately the 13th Century that large-scale conversions took place, first on the island of Sumatra. By the 16th Century, Islam was well on its way to becoming the most pervasive religion throughout most of the archipelago which was to become Indonesia. However, Islam never fully displaced other religions, and hence today there are large numbers of Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist Indonesians. Islam comprises approximately 88% of the population of 240 million.
The early 20th century witnessed a ''reformist'' or ''modernist'' movement within Islam globally, which involved a call for the ''purification'' of Islam by following only the Koran itself and the exact sayings and behavior of the Prophet Muhammad, and rejecting the writings and interpretations of Islamic scholars from the middle ages of Islam. The Wahhabi movement, which originated in the Middle East, was an extreme manifestation of this larger sea change within Islam. These changes did not bypass Indonesia, and in 1912, one of Indonesia's two most influential mass based organizations, Muhammadiyah, was formed in Central Java as a vehicle for ''modernist'' or ''reformist'' interpretations of Islam. These urban-oriented modernists threatened and in some instances directly opposed many of the practices and norms of ''traditional'' Islam heretofore dominant throughout Java.(see footnote 1) In 1926, and in response to this development, a second and larger mass based Muslim organization, called Nahdlatul Ulama, was founded to preserve and protect these traditional practices, which were more permissive towards the syncretic traditions of the Javanese. NU, with over 40 million members, and Muhammadiyah, with over 20 million members, remain the most influential and important mass based civil society organizations in Indonesia today. These are also the largest Muslim organizations in the world.
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It is important to note, therefore, that the very reason for the birth of NU was to preserve the highly pluralistic and accommodating expression of Islam in Indonesia at that time. Hence, a commitment to diversity, pluralism, and freedom of belief is integral and inherent to the identity of a large number of Indonesian Muslims. And yet in this regard, it is important to recall the oft-cited contention of Abdurrahman Wahid, a revered Muslim cleric and later, President, who has stated that the sharpest conflict in Indonesia has always been between and amongst Muslims themselvesbecause of disagreements over what it means to be a ''good Muslim'', rather than between Muslims and non-Muslims.
III. ISLAM UNDER SUKARNO'S AND SUHARTO'S AUTHORITARIANISM
Indonesians are concerned that non-Indonesians are less aware of this history of the peaceful and gradual origins of Islam in Indonesia, and its accommodation of non-Islamic cultures and practices, and its long experience of moderate Islamic responses to those who advocate violence. And they are concerned about how Indonesia's famed tolerance could now be replaced by an image of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Baasyir, and the Bali and Marriott bombings, when people think of Islam in Indonesia. Part of the problem is that in authoritarian Indonesia (19591998), Indonesia's own government was often quick to demonize Islam, to portray Islam as a threat to the state and to secularism.(see footnote 2) Indonesians were governed by authoritarian regimes from 1959 to 1998. President Sukarno had dissolved the parliament in 1959 and later was succeeded by General, then President, Suharto and his ''New Order'' regime, which ruled Indonesia from 1966 to 1998. During the three decades of Suharto's New Order regime, the state viewed Islam as a threat, and through repressive measures maintained an artificial harmony among different religions and forcibly prevented all but the most benign expressions of Islam in public. This approach maintained a facAE9ade of tolerancea forced tolerancebut also severely curbed the power of previously vibrant Islamic institutions that had kept Islamic radicalism in check through their insistence on pluralist values. The marginalization of modernist groups by the regime beginning in the late 1960s drove segments of its younger generation into an increasingly radicalized environment in which the state itself often depicted ''Islam'' as a threat. In addition, the image of the United States within the Muslim world generally began to decline in the early 1970s fostering an already strong anti-western inclination within modernist circles, and solidifying the conservative Islamist element within the modernists. These factors led to the development of a strong conservative element in Indonesia that sought a more literalist and politicized application of Islam.
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In the early 1990s, as cracks in the authoritarian regime became increasingly visible, and Indonesia's democratization movement gained strength, some of Indonesia's leading Muslim activists for democratic change began to warn that the biggest challenge Muslims would face in a democratizing Indonesia would be from an emergence of hardline Islamist militancy. These fears were based on an understanding that Islamist political expression was being held in check by an authoritarian regime and that in a democratic system which allowed for freedom of expression, it was very likely that the heretofore marginalized militant minority would gain political stature. And indeed, in the past five years since Indonesia's democratic period began, we have seen a seeming politicization of Islam and its symbols for narrow political objectives. This presents a formidable challenge to Indonesia's democracy and to its civil society which had been weakened by four decades of suppression.
IV. THE ROLE OF MUSLIMS IN FIGHTING AUTHORITARIANISM AND PROMOTING DEMOCRACY IN THE SUHARTO ERA
It is counter-intuitive to some that Indonesia's NU, a ''traditionalist'' Muslim organization, would be at the forefront of Muslim intellectual efforts to forge an understanding of democracy in an Islamic context, and under an authoritarian regime. Nevertheless, this is exactly what happened. From the 1970's, a group of progressive thinkers and activists under the leadership of Abdurrahman Wahid had been working on a model of pesantren-based(see footnote 3) community development. By the early to mid 1990s the discussion and activism of Muslims had shifted from community development to support for democratic civil society, and focused on fostering a critical political awareness among grassroots populations. Muslim intellectuals began speaking out on issues of human rights, pluralism, and political and social justice. Organizations affiliated with NU in particular created a network of activists and intellectuals committed to criticizing the authoritarian government, to raising awareness of democracy, to championing interfaith tolerance, and to advocating for the interests of small farmers and villagers being exploited by local governments by or central authorities.
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By the mid to late 1990's, NU activists had developed a substantial expertise on and support for pluralism, human rights, and critical opposition, and had become known for promoting ''civil society'', which they referred to by that term. One of the primary aspects of this burgeoning discourse on civil society among these NU intellectuals and organizations was a strong opposition to Islamist politics.(see footnote 4) Through seminars, talks, articles and training sessions, young NU intellectuals argued, using classical Islamic texts, that political aspirations and activities of the state should not be channeled through religion, nor should religious symbolism be used to forward political interests. NU was not the only contributor to a civil society discourse; by the late 1990s, young Muhammadiyah intellectuals and Muhammadiyah youth organizations were also engaged in a rich dialogue on how Islamic teachings affirm thought and praxis on anti-violence, civility, justice, and pluralism. These young Islamic activists and intellectuals were therefore going further than simply arguing the compatibility of Islam and democracyin Indonesia they were finding democratic values inherently rooted within Islam.
V. DEMOCRACY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS AND ISLAM IN THE SUHARTO PERIOD: ROLE OF MUSLIM GROUPS IN DEMOCRATIZATION/REFORMASI PROCESS
In 1997, and building on the momentum described above and previous support to Muslim organizations beginning in the late 1980's, The Asia Foundation established an innovative ''Islam and Civil Society'' program, with support from USAID, with the aim of empowering and furthering the effectiveness of Muslim groups in the democratization process. A central element of this program was support for Muslim thinkers and community leaders who were articulating what civil society and democracy could mean in a Muslim-majority nation. These activists and community leaders used extremely sophisticated understandings of Islamic texts and teachings to show that human rights, rule of law, justice, representation, separation of religion and the state, religious tolerance, equal rights for women, and other universal elements of democracy, could be found within the teachings of Islam. In addition to this important intellectual work, Muslim groups at the time were also engaged in very practical ''democracy education'' for rural, poorly educated, and often marginalized populations. After 30 years of authoritarian rule, Indonesian citizens had very little knowledge or experience with what democracy means, and even less understanding of how to participate in democratic governance.(see footnote 5) So, for example, NU-affiliated NGOs mobilized farmers at the village level, educated them on their rights as citizens, and assisted them to participate in the political process. Thus not only were Muslim organizations involved in the theoretical and intellectual dimensions of building a pluralist civil society in a Muslim majority nation, but they were also at the forefront of efforts to empower citizens to participate in democracy in very concrete ways.
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VI. ISLAM IN A DEMOCRATIZING INDONESIA, 19982004: WHY MILITANCY EMERGED
Indonesians are deeply proud of the role that Islam, and Islamic organizations, has played in the overthrow of authoritarianism, and the strengthening of the country's young democracy over the past five years. We must understand that Indonesia's mass-based Muslim organizations, Islamic leaders, and Islamic civil society NGOs played a critical role in Indonesia's democratization process.
If this kind of Islam is more representative of the majority of Muslims in Indonesia, why then have militant groups gained much public visibility and seeming political strength in the past two years? This is a complicated question, and is best understood as being a function of a combination of domestic and international political factors.
Domestically, we know that this is not the first time Islamic-linked militancy has emerged in Indonesia. From 1949 to 1962 a movement called Darul Islam attempted to establish an Islamic state. This movement was ultimately quashed, but its leaders continued to remain connected underground. In the 1970s, the Komando Jihad, largely made up of sons of the Darul Islam movement, carried out some bombings of public buildings in an effort to establish an Islamic state. This movement was forcefully suppressed by the military. Some observers accuse some parts of the Armed Forces of possibly engineering a radical Islamic movement in order to legitimize military action against ''political Islam''. This pattern of the military engineering an Islamist ''threat'' in order to justify a strong crackdown and renewed military control emerged repeatedly in the ensuing years, and evidence that elements within the military supported contemporary Islamist groups like Laskar Jihad and Front Pembela Islam was seen as a continuation of this pattern. Initially the Jemaah Islamiyah was also seen in this light, though more recently evidence has emerged to indicate that is more authentically motivated by sincere Islamist objectives.
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This pattern of military intervention exists alongside the history of repression of political Islam throughout most of the Suharto regime. Throughout most of his nearly three decades of rule, Suharto encouraged cultural expressions of Islam, but generally clamped down on any political expressions of the faith. During the last few years of his regime however, in the early 1990s, Suharto began to court some Islamist groups, due to his waning support from the armed forces and from mainstream Islamic organizations. When Suharto fell in 1998 repression of political Islam was lifted, and there was an explosion of political activity by Islamist groups. Within three months after Suharto's resignation, 42 Islamic parties were formed. Thus Suharto's fall triggered a significant, though ultimately short-term increase in politicization and to an extent, radicalization of Islam in Indonesia.
VII. ROLE OF MUSLIM GROUPS IN COUNTERING MILITANCY
The foregoing describes the domestic political context into which international events also came to have significant resonance inside Indonesia. September 11, 2001 served as a catalyst to the politicization of Islam that accelerated with the end of the Suharto regime in 1998, at once mobilizing and dramatically increasing its progress. Most Muslims in Indonesia were appalled by the attack on the World Trade Center. At the same time, they also disagreed with U.S. response to the attacks. We must recognize that most Indonesians disagree with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the military action in Afghanistan and later, the war in Iraq. Many moderate Muslims in Indonesia eventually felt pushed into a corner by the ensuing polarization between the U.S. and the ''Muslim world.'' This served to provide political momentum for the minority militant Muslim groups within Indonesia, who were more ideologically aligned with the radical Muslim world. Militant groups in Indonesia were able to take advantage of these global events, and the general upswing in Islamist rhetoric throughout the Muslim world, in support of their own domestic political agenda. For example, even Islamist political parties (not necessarily militants) reintroduced a shari'ah agenda to their platforms, a pro-polygamy campaign was begun among some groups, and Islamist organizations like the Indonesian Mujahideen Council began to publicly attack efforts by pro-democracy Muslim groups.
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One cannot over emphasize how critical that moment, immediately post-September 11, was for Indonesia's own mainstream democracy-supporting Muslim groups. The ferocious criticism and backlash against the U.S. by radical Islamist groups was prevalent in the press, particularly during and after the U.S.-led action against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The nature of the criticism and its growing salience for many people was a surprise to most mainstream leaders and certainly to most Westerners living in Indonesia. Drawing on their decades of opposition to authoritarianism, and support for civil society and community development, the leadership of these mainstream groups were the first to push back against militant groups in their own midst. It was precisely the vibrancy of Indonesia's new democracy that allowed the fundamental openness and pluralism of Indonesian Islam to reassert itself against radical or militant interpretations of Islam.
A good example of this is the campaign of a group that calls itself the ''Liberal Islam Network'' (JIL, or Jaringan Islam Liberal), in response to what they viewed as the growing ''extremism'' and ''fundamentalism'' of Islam in Indonesia at the time. Their self-stated mission is to ''check the growth of militancy, and to promote a ''pluralistic'' and ''inclusive'' expression of Islam, by: ''1) strengthening democratic foundations by fostering values of pluralism, inclusivism and humanism; 2) building a religious life based on respect for difference; 3)supporting and spreading an understanding of religion that is pluralistic, open, and humanistic; 4) preventing militant and violent approaches to religion from dominating the public discourse.''
To achieve these ambitious aims, JIL launched a nation-wide media campaign for pluralism and tolerance, which the Asia Foundation is proud to support, with funding from USAID. Promoting democracy, gender equality & religious pluralism, this 30 minute call-in weekly radio talk-show entitled ''Religion and Tolerance'' has run since late 2001 with overwhelmingly positive response, currently reaching approximately 5 million people every Thursday, through the nationwide Radio News Agency 68H syndicate. This large-scale media program for democracy has successfully propelled wider national debates on Islam and democracy into Indonesian mainstream media. Topics such as ''What is the position of women in Islam?'' and ''Is Islam against Democracy?'' are intensively debated on a weekly basis. After four years of broadcasting on the Indonesian airwaves, this program has created a loyal listener-base that consistently follows this program.
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Further, for the past three years, the transcripts of the ''Religion and Tolerance'' radio show described above have also been published weekly by a newspaper syndicate of 100 dailies in around 50 cities reaching 2 million readers. This approach, of providing repetitive and multi-media messages on democracy, tolerance, and human rights, has proven remarkably effective, as evidenced by an enthusiastic reader response and lack of public support for militant positions as espoused by Jemaah Islamiah, Laskar Jihad, the Islamic Defenders Front, and so on. The reader response to the Jawa Pos newspaper group (where the ''Religion and Tolerance'' transcripts are published) has been so overwhelmingly positive that Jawa Pos created a new column for reader's comments next to the article page, and the Liberal Islam Network itself created new space for the reader comments on its website.
Despite the popular adherence to generally pluralist interpretations of Islam in Indonesia, it was also the case, particularly from 1998 to 2002, that the small militant groups were initially more successful in networking themselves in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, and were more adept at using new information technologies to spread militant and undemocratic messages. In order to counter this trend, and to enhance the ability of mainstream pluralist Muslims to reinforce the position of Islam as a force for democratization in Southeast Asia, the International Center for Islam and Pluralism (ICIP) was established in Jakarta in August 2003. While ICIP receives Asia Foundation support, it is truly a locally conceived and initiated program, fulfilling the vision of prominent Indonesian Muslim leaders to address the need for mobilization and networking amongst progressive Muslim thinkers, activists, and organizations in South and Southeast Asia.
ICIP has three primary objectives: 1) to facilitate the formation of a regional and international network of progressive Muslim thinkers; 2) to disseminate progressive Indonesian Muslim thought outside of its borders; 3) to provide a means of deepening and amplifying progressive Muslim thought within Indonesia.
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In order to meet these objectives, ICIP is conducting activities centered around four major sub-themes: 1) the search for and dissemination of authoritative Muslim texts supporting pluralism, tolerance, human rights, and democracy; 2) the promotion of gender equality and women's political participation within Muslim discourse; 3) support for Muslim NGOs, activists and intellectuals engaged in concrete efforts to promote justice, democratic participation, and religious tolerance within the Muslim world; and 4) critical exploration of the relationship and interchange of thought between the Muslim world and the ''West.''
Once again, we can see that Indonesia's mainstream, pluralist tradition of Islam is not complacent. Through the efforts of groups like JIL and ICIP, and through the repeated statements by the leaderships of both Muhammadiyah and NU, we can see the vigorous support of Muslim leaders, community activists, media personalities and theologians for an Indonesia that is democratic, respectful of all religions, and which embraces pluralism and interfaith tolerance.
Even with these and many other efforts underway by mainstream Muslim groups, it was really the bomb that exploded in Bali on October 12, 2002, and the Marriot bombing in August 2003, which together took over 200 lives, that really changed the dynamic of Islam in Indonesia, both internally and vis-a-vis the international community. Prior to these tragedies, political momentum in Indonesia had swung toward an increasingly aggressive, anti-western stance previously associated only with a limited minority of militant Muslims. This change was due to developments in the Middle East, Afghanistan and later, Iraq, which generated increased opposition to U.S. foreign policy, and had gradually spread through the mainstream population. Indonesia had initially appeared to be a recalcitrant partner in the ''war against terror'', and Indonesian police and military seemed reluctant, prior to Bali, to crackdown on alleged militants and potentially violent elements of the Muslim community. We can now see, however, that Indonesia has been very successful in their war on terror, arresting over 100 alleged terrorists, and convicting over 70 to date. Indeed, this is perhaps the most successful crack down on terrorism in Asia using democratic means and the rule of law.
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In fact, I would like to suggest that we can actually see a silver lining in how Indonesia's mainstream Muslim communities have responded to the tragedies of September 11, and the Bali and Marriot bombings. Mainstream Muslims have been galvanized to reclaim the debate over Islam in Indonesia and to recast Islam as a force for pragmatic nationalism and defense of pluralist democracy. There is even some evidence that more radical publications and leaders have been pushed into a more ''politically correct'' positionwe now see even militant publications print articles in which they now claim to accept some of the basic tenets of mainstream Islam in Indonesiareligious tolerance, equal rights for women, and embrace of democracy.
Furthermore, it is critical to note one of the most important outcomes of Indonesia's legislative electionson April 5that is, the Islamic parties did not manage to increase their overall vote totals over 1999 election. And in fact, the largest share of votes remained with the politically secular, mainstream, nationalist parties. And even the most Islamist party of the lotthe Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) which got about 7.5% of the vote, managed this level only by dropping its support for shar'iah, and by emphasizing anti-corruption and clean government. So if a Muslim party in Indonesia wants votes, basically it has to stop emphasizing Islam! And in the July 5 presidential election ''Islamic'' issues did not resonate with the public and the Islamic party candidate, Hamzah Haz, the current Vice President, received only 3.5% of the vote. Once again, we can see that whenever Indonesians get a chance to use their democratic franchiseto vote and participate in a free societyradical parties and militant views have always lost. The poor showing of Islamic parties in the 1999 general elections attested five years ago to the moderate position of an overwhelming number of Indonesian Muslims, along with the force of a substantive, if quiet, civil Islam, or pluralist, democratic Islam, with its deep historical roots. And in this year's two free and fair elections, we also see little or no evidence whatsoever that radical, Islamist political partiesas a wholemade any great cumulative gains in the April 5 or July 5 legislative and presidential elections. In other words, Indonesia's recent increase in problems with terrorism conducted in the name of ''Islam'', have in no way translated into popular political support in elections or governance at the national level.
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VIII. ISLAM AND EDUCATION REFORM IN A DEMOCRATIZING INDONESIA
Despite the strong Indonesian support for democracy and pluralism, we would be remiss not to note the threats to Indonesia's democracy that are still posed by extremist groups, no matter how small a fringe or minority element they represent. Indeed, anti-democratic elements within Indonesia have begun to pursue their agendas by working through democratic institutions and processes. For example, while ''shari'ah law'' has been rejected time and time again at the national level, there is increasing incidence of it being implemented at the regional level through powers accorded to the district heads as a result of Indonesia's decentralization of political and financial authorities to district and city governments since 2001.
Educational institutions from primary to tertiary remain pivotal sites for the formation of both pro and anti-democratic attitudes and values. There is concern that groups with a non-pluralist vision for Indonesia are involving schools and teachers as part of a far-reaching and long-term effort to influence the attitudes of Indonesia's younger generation. The Foundation's own Indonesian staff and partners have reported that children in some elementary schools are being taught militant Islamic marching songs, and told not to exchange greetings with non-Muslims. Using their new-found authorities following decentralization, some local governments in scattered districts and cities around Indonesia now require Muslim girls to wear headscarves in state schools. Further, since the 1940s college campuses have been host to extracurricular 'study groups' that are the source of much of the radical intellectual thought that has existed in Indonesia, albeit on the margins. Currently, these groups appear to be proliferating further according to research by Indonesian Muslim civil society organizations, and, combined with efforts to influence teachers and formal curriculum, are a potential threat to Indonesia's long-term democratic development
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Growing concern with Islamic schools in Southeast Asia in recent years has stemmed from both the poor educational standards provided by these schools, as well as from the perception among Western observers that they promote militancy. At the same time, these schools provide at least a minimal education for millions of children who would not otherwise receive one, and in much of Southeast Asia, they have been part of a tradition of community development which contributes to a strong social fabric. Indeed, in general, pesantren and religious schools are the solution, not the problem, to extremism in Indonesia.
Islamic schools take varying forms and names throughout Southeast Asia, but range from pre-school through to tertiary levels. Most common are the primary and secondary schools known as pondok in Thailand, madrassa and pesantren in Indonesia, madaris or madrassah in the Philippines, and SAR (Sekolah Agama Rakyat; People's Religious Schools) in Malaysia.
Parents have multiple motivations for sending their children to Islamic schools. Primary among these is a financial considerationgenerally speaking many of these schools are very low-cost or free, though a few exceptional ones can be more expensive than state schools. A very close second, however, is religious motivationin an increasingly globalized world many parents seek to reinforce traditional values through religious training, something that many American parents can well understand. Both of these factors play into the fact that in much of Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, girls make up a larger portion of the student body than do boys. Parents in traditional societies often send their sons to state schools, opting to send their daughters to near-by religious schools both for security and for financial reasons. In addition, girls are seen as playing an important role in the religious education of the future generation, thus are often given more extensive religious training.
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The standard of education provided by most Islamic schools is distinctly inferior to state schools, in general. Curriculum at the schools ranges from fully religious in content to over 70% secular depending on the type of school, but one of the most significant features of these schools is their autonomy. In contrast to public schools, the majority of Islamic schools are funded by and accountable only to local Muslim communities. Leaders of Islamic schools are often the sole determinants of both the content of religious curricula, and the ratio of religious to secular curricula. Government efforts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand to regulate content and standards in Islamic schools have a widely ranging success-rate
Indonesia's Islamic schools can be divided into three often overlapping types: pesantren, madrassa, and Islamic colleges and universities:
1. Pesantren are usually defined as 'Islamic boarding schools' or Islamic academies, and consist of a compound where students live and receive instruction ranging from primary all the way through university level in some cases. There are no definitive figures as to how many pesantren there are in Indonesia, but estimates range between 1520,000.(see footnote 6) Approximately 40% of these pesantren teach exclusively religious curriculum, with the other 60% teaching a mix of religious and national curriculumthe ratio set by individual pesantren leaders. The vast majority of pesantren in Indonesia are affiliated with the Nahdlatul Ulamaa traditionalist organization that, as mentioned above, embraces a very diverse range of rituals and belief, and which was established in 1926 to counter growing Wahhabist influence in Indonesia. Thus, almost by definition, these pesantren teach very moderate and pluralistic approach to Islam. While there is no conclusive research as to the number of pesantren that have militant tendencies, the best data on this subject is from the International Crisis Group, whose reports provide documentation indicating fewer than 150 pesantren that have linkages of some kind to the JI network.(see footnote 7)
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2. Madrassa has two meanings in Indonesia: a day-school that provides Islamic instruction and a school within a pesantren that provides the non-religious portion of the curriculum. Because of these multiple meanings, pesantren and madrassa are often used interchangeably in general contexts. In both cases, curriculum in a madrassa is regulated by the Ministry of Religion (not Education)MORA, but only about 8% of madrassas are registered and thus regulated by MORA. Out of approximately 40,000 madrassa in Indonesia, 3,200 are registered. Madrassa and pesantren account for 13% of total enrollment in primary and secondary education. In 1989 a law was passed decreeing that schools accredited by MORA must teach a ratio of 70% national secular curriculum, 30% religious curriculum. This enables students graduating from madrassa and pesantren to sit for national exams and enter the mainstream job market. While less than 10% of madrassa are accredited, it is estimated that the majority do teach a 70/30 split curriculum.
3. Islamic colleges/universities also fall under the regulation of MORA rather than the Ministry of Education. There are three main networks of Islamic tertiary level institutionsthe IAIN (State Institute for Islamic Studies) network, consisting of 47 institutions nationwide, the Muhammadiyah University network, consisting of 168 institutions nationwide, and the PTAIS (Private Institutes of Islamic Higher Education) with approximately 350 schools nationwide. In addition, there are several unaffiliated universities, and approximately 87 Nahdlatul-Ulama affiliated colleges. For the most part, these institutions are known for their progressive and moderate teaching of Islam. In fact, it is a perhaps counter-intuitive but widely known fact that in Indonesia, the source of most radicalism and militant thought is not pesantren or madrassa or Islamic tertiary institutes, but is rather a product of campus dakwah (proselytization) groups on state, not Islamic, campuses. In fact, the Islamic colleges and universities are far out ahead of their secular or state counterparts in developing cutting edge civic and democracy education curricula, replacing the old state indoctrination classes compulsory under the New Order. The autonomy granted to them through decentralization as well as through regulation by MORA rather than the Ministry of Education, has allowed space for them to be more creative and take more initiative in developing progressive classroom material.
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Building on these opportunities, The Asia Foundation, with funding from USAID, has supported the development of an innovative reform program in civic education curriculum for Islamic tertiary institutions that is currently being used in two Islamic education systems nationwide in Indonesiathe IAIN system, and the Muhammadiyah system. This program combines civic education coursework on human rights, democratic institutions, gender equity, functions of political parties, and rule of law, with teacher training in participative teaching methodologies. Teaching teachers to model democratic behavior in their classrooms by encouraging critical thinking and student participation counteracts the norms of rote memorization, uncritical acceptance of dogma, and the omniscient position of the teacher in most Islamic educational institutions. Further, the civic education coursework allows students, very often for the first time, to discuss, debate, and question issues of democratic theory, civil society, and the roles and rights of citizens in a democratic system. Militancy stems, in part, from the enforcing of a narrow and rigid interpretation of Islam, and from blind adherence to a radical leader. By teaching students to think critically, and by exposing them to teachings on pluralism and tolerance within Islam, the potential for militancy is reduced. Because all of these materials have been carefully adapted by Indonesian education experts to an Indonesian Islamic context through use of Islamic language and approaches, students are able to see for themselves how democratic values are compatible with Islamic teachings. Through this program the Asia Foundation, with support from USAID, has this year alone trained over 500 teachers, and provided mandatory civic education classes to over 120,000 students in Islamic tertiary institutions throughout the country. Currently, Foundation partners are adapting this pedagogy and curriculum to the secondary level, and are training teachers in pesantren and madrassa.
In addition, recognizing the influence that Islamic teachers and pesantren leaders hold on the much of Indonesia's population, the Asia Foundation has for the past six years supported the introduction of concepts of human rights, gender equity, and pluralism within pesantren, by engaging senior teachers and kyai in small-group discussions on these topics. Teachers and leaders from over 1,000 pesantren have participated in these discussions. Finally, the Foundation, with funding from USAID, has supported a program of campus-based public discussions on topics of pluralism and democracy. These discussions take place on 15 campuses known to be home to militant student groups, and the program has been successful in drawing such students into debate and dialogue on issues of human rights, civil society, and religious tolerance. One Hizbut Tahrir student (Hizbut Tahrir is an Islamist group that rejects democracy and seeks an Islamic state) in Malang, East Java, after having attended a discussion on the compatibility of Islam and democracy, told the organizers that he came to the event fully prepared to launch a vocal rejection of the notion, but after having heard principles of democracy presented within an Islamic framework, he realized that he had no fundamental disagreement with them. The Asia Foundation's experience is that extremist views can often be moderated simply through exposure to alternative ideas, if they are presented with an Islamic perspective.
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IX. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
Education is an important U.S. policy priority in Southeast Asia. When President Bush visited Indonesia in October 2003, he announced a ''new'' education program ''to support Indonesia's efforts to improve the quality of education in Indonesia's schools'', intended ''to strengthen both basic education by supporting parents, local governments and Muslim organizations in their efforts to give Indonesian students the tools they need to compete in the global economy.''(see footnote 8) The USAID mission in Jakarta has devoted over $150 million over the next five years to education in Indonesia. Other Southeast Asian missions are making similar, though less financially weighty, moves.
Assistance for education is critical to Indonesia's development and should be aimed at improving educational quality across the board, in state, secular, private, and Islamic schools. The Asia Foundation sees education as an important way to build needed capacity, improve education standards and, at the same time, generate good will for a new generation over the long haul. We continue to see the positive impact of past U.S. investments in education and exchanges, through the people who have benefited and are now contributing in significant ways to Indonesia's future. Emphasis on basic education materials, teacher training, and equipment upgrading in addition to curriculum reform or direct democracy training programs will be effective tools in building capacity within the educational system.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the post-September 11 period, U.S. policymakers and assistance efforts have begun to research and analyze the organization and operations of Islamic education, particularly in pesantren and madrassa, to better understand the role they play in Muslim societies. This heightened level of interest is partially due to a view that incorrectly projects the Pakistani madrassa model onto the rest of the Muslim world, and partially due to the fact that some of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist leaders are known to have come from particular pesantren in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Indonesian Muslim leaders initially were not positive about any association of Islamic schools with terrorism. However, US Ambassador Ralph Boyce and the USAID mission in Jakarta have very effectively assured the Indonesian public that they recognize the progressive nature of Indonesia's pesantren, and that education reform efforts are aimed at improving the quality of basic education in both Islamic and non-Islamic schools. It is our view that this is a sophisticated and constructive approach, and that if the education reform effort continues to be implemented along these lines, it will be an effective package of assistance that will be greatly welcomed by Indonesian Islamic educational institutions, as well as by other education systems in the country.
That said, democracy and civic education programs have been ongoing in Islamic schools in Indonesia for the past six years, as described above, with U.S. assistance through The Asia Foundation, with little backlash. If a careful and grounded approach is maintained, it should be able to continue without significant problems and should be significantly expanded. Indeed, Muslim leaders and progressive politicians in neighboring countries have expressed interest in learning from Indonesia's successes with civic and democracy education in religious schools. Again, if done very carefully, there is potential for Indonesia to share some of its progressive Islamic thought and education reform with Islamic schools in other areas of Southeast Asia.
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B. Public Diplomacy and Communication on Distinctions within the Muslim World:
There is still a need for policy makers to acknowledge the differences in the Muslim World, and use distinct definitions when discussing Muslim populations in Asia, which represents over 750 million of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims. Given the sensitivities described above, there is no ''one-size fits all'' reference to the ''Muslim World''. Terms that refer to Muslim populations writ large as ''the Muslim World'', ''Islamic state'' and ''Arab World'' confuse and offend Indonesians. Indonesians perceive that U.S. problems in the Middle East lie with authoritarian Arab states and the lack of democracy in the Arab world, and so should not be referred to as problems related to ''Islam.'' Policy makers should recognize and regularize references to Indonesia, as a Muslim majority democracy, as Indonesians have so carefully defined themselves. Indeed, as noted earlier, Indonesians are deeply proud of the role that Islam has played in their country's transition to democracy from authoritarianism, and in the world's largest Muslim population, which also happens to be a democracy, we should be cognizant and more sensitive to these distinctions.
C. Deeper, Long-term Engagement:
Our experience has shown us that rather short visits to the U.S. to ''see'' America are not necessarily as helpful as much longer term engagement and educational opportunities. Therefore we believe that greater support should be provided for the Fulbright Programs, scholarly exchanges, and international, particularly Asian, participation in the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship program, in which Indonesian leaders have participated in under Foundation sponsorship since the 1980's, to better understand the U.S. Congress and American political system. Indeed, this hearing was, I understand, organized in part by an Indonesian Congressional Fellow, Dr. Cecep Effendi, who, back at home in Indonesia, is the rector of an Islamic university.
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What increasingly typifies Islam in Indonesia are mainstream Muslim organizations and leaders speaking out against religious intolerance in favor of pluralist democratic values in the name of Islam. Many Indonesian Muslimsand indeed Muslims throughout Southeast Asiaargue that the implementation of a pluralist democratic society is the fulfillment of the values of Islam. It is important to recognize that Indonesia today is working to establish a vibrant democracy. The recent parliamentary and presidential elections are important steps. The only nation-wide domestic election monitoring effort in Indonesia for the recent 2004 presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as in the country's first election in 1999, was the People's Voter Education Network (JPPR), a network of mass-based Muslim organizations, working together with Christian and other NGOs, who fielded over 140,000 election day observers at polling stations across the country. This indigenous effort is just one example of the strength and vitality of Indonesia's new democracy, and how eager Indonesian Muslim groups are to participate.(see footnote 9) Within the context of this democracy, there is also a struggle within the Muslim community and its relationship to the state. Clearly, there are militant groups that are willing to use violence to gain ground in Indonesia. But most important, those groups are a minority in Indonesia and the history of Islam in Indonesia suggests that moderate views embodied within the two mass-based Muslim organizations of NU and Muhammadiyah, and in the population at large, are far more influential and important in the long run. The challenge to the US is to identify and support groups who are working toward a peaceful, pluralist democracy within the context of a majority Muslim society, and sustain our engagement with them for the future.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LEACH. Dr. Ramage, before turning to the Ambassador, I am obligated to note that Dr. Ramage mentioned exchanges. The Subcommittee of this Committee has been fortunate to have Dr. Andi Effendi with his on assignment from the Asia Foundation, and we thank the Asia Foundation very much for that. We have learned a great deal from Dr. Effendi, and we are very appreciative of your foundation's work helping this Subcommittee. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF HIS EXCELLENCY HUSAIN HAQQANI, VISITING SCHOLAR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE
Mr. HAQQANI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to begin by thanking you and Members of this Committee for the privilege of testifying before you on the importance of Islam in Asia and its implications for United States foreign policy.
As a Muslim, I feel that it is particularly important that Muslim voices should be included in inquiry and analysis of officials relating to Islam because sometimes in the United States there can be situations where the phenomenon of Islam can be studied exclusively by people who do not necessarily belong to the Islamic community or faith.
Islam is the religion of over one billion people around the world, and given the U.S. principle of strict separation between state and religion, the U.S. clearly cannot have a policy toward the religion of Islam, but as we saw in the case of the 9/11 attacks, terrorist claiming to speak in the name of Islam struck the United States, leading to the need for discussion of Islam as a factor in U.S. policy.
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I think a distinction needs to be made between Islam, the religion, and Islam, the political ideology. Let me just make four basic comments before I move on to a specific discussion of South Asia.
First, Islam is not a monolithic religion. Its adherents in different parts of the world and within each community practice their core beliefs in diverse ways. There is considerable cultural, social, and national heterogeneity among Muslims. Several Islamic sects and Sufi orders coexist throughout Asia, and some of them are confrontational toward one another as much as they are hostile to non-Muslims, whereas others are quite tolerant.
Second, notwithstanding the differences in ritual and even religious belief or practice, Muslims have a strong sense of belonging to one community, the Ummah, and this is one of the most important factors in shaping policy toward the Islamic world because what happens in one part of the Islamic world has consequences in the other because of this sense of community of believers.
Third, although Muslim history is replete with instances of militant assertions of religion, these are not very different from, for example, the invoking of Christianity as a unifier of nations or mobilizing factor for armies in the middle ages. For an overwhelming majority of Muslims, particularly in Asia, Islam is a spiritual scheme for salvation and not a political ideology.
Fourth, contrary to the widespread belief that Islam does not allow the separation of state and religion, political power in most of Muslim history was not wielded by a theocratic class. Although Islam was invoked as the source of political legitimacy throughout history, the Islamic political theory known today as ''political Islam'' is largely a response or reaction to the breakdown of the traditional order under the pressures of modernity. Muslims did not evolve contending ideas about the state and attended to the issue of defining the principles of state after having to contend with ascendant western power. The notion of political Islam, therefore, is a modern idea and should not be considered an integral part of the Islamic tradition. However, it does have implications for policy for nations such as the United States because of its influence at the present time.
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Today, the world's largest concentrations of Muslims are in Asian countries. Indonesia, with 238 million people and 88 percent of them Muslims; Pakistan, with a population of 160 million, 97 percent of them Muslim; and Bangladesh, with a population of 142 million, and 83 percent of them Muslims are the world's largest Muslim-majority nations. In addition, India's population of over 1 billion people includes 140 million Muslims.
Religious tolerance and the tendency to synthesize Islam with local customs has traditionally been one of the chief characteristics of Islam in Asia, as the speakers before me have pointed out. There has, however, in the last several decades, especially since the advent of colonialism in Asia, been a conflict between modernity and Islamic tradition, and I think that that is at the heart of what we see as radical Islam today.
Muslims responded to the challenge of the technologically and militarily superior West in one of two ways. One segment of the population accepted western education and adopted the western way of life, excluding religion from their discourse almost entirely. Others started defining politics in religious idiom, insisting that Islam offered a complete way of life distinct from that offered by the colonial powers and their modern ideas.
The beginning of the modern era thus marked the beginning of ideological conflicts within the Muslim world about politics and governance. Until then, traditional Islamic scholarship had focused on the divine message and had paid little attention to political and economic theory.
Now, after the independence of various Muslim states, a struggle started between Islamic traditionalists who saw the colonial powers' retreat as an opportunity to ''revive'' the traditional ''Islamic'' way of life and modernizers who insisted that there could be no turning back from western influences. Most Muslims did not have any difficulty with practicing Islam as their religion and adopting a modern way of life in general.
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In the case of Pakistan, there was another phenomenon at work. Pakistan was carved out of the Muslim-majority areas of British India in 1947. It felt threatened by a much larger India that did not willingly accept partition, and Pakistan's elite was insecure about the future of the newly independent, multi-ethnic country. Therefore, the elite tried to ''use'' Islam as a unifier of national identity and encouraged Islamic revivalism, believing that a secular, civil-military oligarchy could retain power even after suppressing ethnic and political dissent with the help of an Islamist ideology.
During the cold war, anti-communist Muslim rulers and western policymakers saw the Islamic revivalists, or Islamists, as potential allies. This alliance reached its peak during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, which we all now know played a significant role in polarizing Muslim communities and transforming political Islamists into militant Jihadists. One of the longest-lasting consequences of the cold war in Asian Muslim communities is the penetration of the 'Wahabi' puritan version of Islam. Strong Wahabi and neo-Wahabi groups exist in all Asian Muslim countries, weakening the local traditions of pluralism.
Now, there are surveys, which I refer to in my written statement, which indicate that the United States enjoys less support in the Asian Muslim countries than it did before. Favorable ratings for the United States, according to the Pew Research Center's 2003 survey on global attitudes, fell from 61 percent to 15 percent in Indonesia, and nearly half of Pakistanis surveyed said that they trusted Osama bin Laden to do the right thing more than the people who thought that President Bush could be trusted to do the right thing. At the same time, there were two other interesting findings during these surveys. Most Muslims supported a prominent, and, in some cases, expanding role, for Islam and religious leaders in the political life of their countries, but at the same time, they also said that they liked the American way of life.
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So in some ways, one could say that there was a confusing picture. On the one hand, people said they did not like the United States; on the other hand, they liked how people in America live their life. My conclusion from that is that a majority wants an American way of life in terms of democracy and economic opportunities but, at the same time, has a problem with aspects of U.S. policy. And the fact that within certain countries, such as Pakistan, which has 40 percent of its population below the age of 14 and more than half of them are illiterate with very little economic opportunitiesone third of the population lives below the poverty line, which is they live on less than one dollar a dayin a situation such as this, young people have no ideology and no hope; and, therefore, the Islamists are able to recruit them in large numbers.
I would also like to point out the problem of education, especially in the context of Pakistan, where, in 1956, there were only 244 madrassas, which have now gone up to 10,000. Almost 1 million of Pakistani higher than attend madrassas, religious schools, as opposed to 1.9 million attending government primary schools. The fact that the government of Pakistan has consistently, for the last 50 years, spent more on the military than it has on education has created an underclass that feels that religion is the only thing that is going for it.
I think I am close to the end of my time; and, therefore, I will just try and summarize my recommendations for U.S. policy. Promoting a culture of nonviolent dialogue and tolerance and fostering acceptance of contemporary democratic ideas and norms must be an integral part of any U.S. strategy for dealing with the Muslim world. The U.S. needs ideological and philosophical allies among Muslims, in addition to the strategic and technical alliances that already exist with Muslim governments. Such moderate, democratic, Muslim allies would answer questions about the role of the state, political parties and institutions, education and knowledge acquisition, and the economy from a perspective contradictory to that of the anti-western Islamists.
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The problem that I see in countries like Pakistan is that, on the one hand, is a government that primarily is trying to manage the state; on the other hand are Islamists giving out a message to the people based on religion, a message of revival, a message of a grand future based on a grand past. But there is no one else in the middle who is contending for ideological adherence and support, and that is the vacuum that I think is the biggest challenge to U.S. policy. What the United States has to find are ways to support reform groups within Pakistani society and within other countries in Asia as well where Islamic radicalism poses a serious challenge.
I would like to conclude by pointing out that in the parliamentary elections held in Pakistan in 2002 the Islamist parties made their best showing. They got 20 percent of the seats in parliament and 11 percent of the popular vote, yet, in the past, their electoral showing had not been better than 7 percent. It is quite clear that the state's efforts to try and discredit secular forces within society and the efforts to try and get the support of the Islamists for the Jihad in Kashmir and in Afghanistan has ended up creating more Islamists in Pakistani society than existed some 20 years ago. To reverse that trend, it is important to build an alternative to these Islamists at the popular level. The government is making no such effort, and I think that is something that Members of this Committee should pay some attention to, I hope.
Thank you all very much, and I would be quite happy to answer any questions that you have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Haqqani follows:]
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENT OF HIS EXCELLENCY HUSAIN HAQQANI, VISITING SCHOLAR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE
I would like to begin by thanking you and members of this committee for the privilege of testifying before you on the importance of Islam in Asia and its implications for U.S. foreign policy.
Since the United States was attacked on 9/11 by terrorists claiming to speak in the name of Islam, there has been considerable discussion in the U.S. about the significance of Islam as a factor in U.S. policy. Islam is the religion of over 1 billion people around the world. Given the U.S. principle of strict separation between state and religion, the U.S. clearly cannot have a policy towards the religion of Islam. But policies and actions of states and non-state actors ostensibly seeking an Islamic revival and declaring the United States as their enemy necessitate a policy response. Before commenting on the specific issues relating to political and militant Islamic groups in Asia, let me share with you a few basic observations:
1. Islam is not a monolithic religion. Its adherents in different parts of the world, and within each community, practice their core beliefs in diverse ways. There is considerable cultural, social and national heterogeneity among Muslims. Several Islamic sects and Sufi orders co-exist throughout Asia and some of them are confrontational towards one another as much as they are hostile to non-Muslims.
2. Notwithstanding the differences in ritual and even religious belief or practice, Muslims have a strong sense of belonging to one communitythe Ummah.
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3. Although Muslim history is replete with instances of militant assertions of religion these are not very different from, for example, the invoking of Christianity as a unifier of nations or mobilizing factor for armies in the middle ages. For an overwhelming majority of Muslims, particularly in Asia, Islam is a spiritual scheme for salvation and not a political ideology.
4. Contrary to the widespread belief that Islam does not allow the separation of state and religion, political power in most of Muslim history was not wielded by a theocratic class. Although Islam was invoked as the source of political legitimacy throughout history, the Islamic political theory known today as Political Islam is largely a response or reaction to the breakdown of the traditional order under the pressures of modernity. Muslims did not evolve contending ideas about the state and attended to the issue of defining the principles of state after having to contend with ascendant western power. The notion of political Islam, therefore, is a modern idea and should not be considered an integral part of the Islamic tradition.
Historic overview: In Asia, the spread of Islam took place gradually beginning soon after Prophet Muhammad (570632 CE) proclaimed the religion in the Arabian Peninsula during the early seventh century. Chinese Muslims believe that one of Muhammad's companions brought the religion to the country and is buried in southern China. Today, the world's largest concentrations of Muslims are in Asian countries. Indonesia (population 238 million, 88% Muslim), Pakistan (population 160 million, 97% Muslim) and Bangladesh (population 142 million, 83% Muslim) are the world's largest Muslim majority nations. In addition, India's population of over 1 billion people includes 140 million Muslims.
Islam's spread into Asia came in several waves and different ways. In South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh), merchants and Sufi saints spread the religion long before Muslim conquerors from central Asia established their power base in northern India, the last of these being the Mughal empire that lasted from 1526 to 1857. Islam's early proselytizers in South and southeast Asia allowed local people to retain their cultures and traditions, leading to a regional blend that differed significantly from the way Islam was practiced in its Arab heartland. There were occasional efforts by puritans to Arabize religious practices but the fact that Muslims in Asia lived among or ruled large non-Muslim populations militated against widespread adoption of puritanical interpretations of Islam. Religious tolerance and the tendency to synthesize Islam with local customs has traditionally been one of the chief characteristics of Islam in Asia.
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Like the rest of the Muslim world, Muslims in South and Southeast Asia lived in relative isolation until the advent of the colonial era. They were now faced with modern transformation over a relatively short time and mainly under pressure from the European powers. Unlike Europe and North America, Muslim territories did not get the opportunity to evolve into modern states over time. The Dutch in Indonesia and the British in India and Malaya penetrated and occupied Muslim lands. Once their authority was firmly established, the Europeans governed with an iron fist, with the help of elites trained by the colonial masters.
The earliest western idea borrowed by Muslim modernizers especially in the nineteenth century was enlightened absolutism. Administrative and military reform within the decaying Ottoman Empire, for example, depended largely on the enlightened despotic model. Numerous 'partial modernizers' emerged in other parts of the Islamic world, primarily rulers who wanted to introduce selected western social and economic ideas and technology without altering the basis of political power. Some Sultans even followed Europe's enlightened despots in introducing constitutions and assemblies of nobles, but these efforts did not go far enough for some and too far for others within powerful elite groups.
Muslims responded to the challenge of the technologically and militarily superior west in one of two ways. One segment of the population accepted western education and adopted the western way of life, excluding religion from their discourse almost entirely. Others started defining politics in religious idiom, insisting that Islam offered a complete way of life distinct from that offered by the colonial powers and their modern ideas.
The beginning of the modern era thus marked the beginning of ideological conflicts within the Muslim world about politics and governance. Until then, traditional Islamic scholarship had focused on the divine message (Tafseer and Hadith), philosophy and reasoning (Kalam) and jurisprudence (Fiqh). With notable exceptions, Muslims had paid little attention to political and economic theory. This absence of a consistent Islamic political theory has led scholars such as Bernard Lewis to argue that in Islam, ''In principle, at least, there is no state, but only a ruler; no court, but only a judge''. But the alternative explanation is that Muslim politics were (and remain) plural and changing, which renders redundant any monolithic interpretations of fourteen centuries of history by historians or by religious ideologues.
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The end of the colonial era marked the beginning of a struggle between the Islamic traditionalists, who saw the colonial powers' retreat as an opportunity to 'revive' the traditional 'Islamic' way of life, and the modernizers, who insisted that there could be no turning back from western influences. In case of Pakistan (which included Bangladesh until 1971), there was another phenomenon at work. Pakistan was carved out of the Muslim-majority areas of British India in 1947. It felt threatened by a much larger India that did not willingly accept partition and its elite was insecure about the future of the newly independent, multi-ethnic country. Here the elite tried to ''use'' Islam as a unifier of national identity and encouraged Islamic revivalism, believing that a secular civil-military oligarchy could retain power even after suppressing ethnic and political dissent with the help of an Islamist ideology.
During the cold war, anti-Communist Muslim rulers and western policy-makers saw the Islamic revivalists or Islamists as potential allies. This alliance reached its peak during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, which we all now know played a significant role in polarizing Muslim communities and transforming political Islamists into militant Jihadists. One of the longest lasting consequences of the cold war in Asian Muslim communities is the penetration of the 'Wahabi' puritan version of Islam. Invited by pro-western governments to assist Islamic education and charities, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states sent missionaries to Asian Muslim communities primarily to purify their understanding of Islam. Strong Wahabi and neo-Wahabi groups now exist in all Asian Muslim countries, weakening the local traditions of pluralism.
Current Trends: Islamist parties exist in all Asian Muslim countries with varying degrees of support. Not all groups organized for politics in the name of Islam pose a threat to global security or the interests of the United States. But the sentiment, by all accounts, in Asian Muslim nations is clearly anti-American. According to the Pew Research Center's 2003 survey on global attitudes, favorable ratings for the U.S. in Indonesia fell from 61 % to 15% in one year. Nearly half of the Pakistanis surveyed trusted Osama bin Laden to do the right thing as opposed to negligible percentage having that faith in President Bush. At the same time, most Muslims also support a prominentand in some cases expandingrole for Islam and religious leaders in the political life of their countries.
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Religious hardliners are obviously influencing the political agenda of others, non-fundamentalists, in Muslim countries and can create an environment conducive to even harsher, more puritanical and anti-American interpretations of religion. Given the size of Muslim populations, even if only one percent of the world's Muslims accepts an uncompromising theology calling for an infinite struggle between Islam and un-Islam, we confront the prospect of several million volunteers opposing the present global order. If ten percent of that one-percent decides to commit to a radical agenda, we are looking at the potential for a larger recruitment pool for groups like al-Qaeda.
Several reasons are commonly identified for the rise of political and radical Islam throughout the Muslim world. Anti-American sentiment among Muslims is often attributed to virtually unconditional U.S. support for Israel as well as American backing for hated repressive regimes, especially in the Middle East. The Middle East factors into Asian Muslim politics but there are other, more local, reasons for radicalization of Asian Muslim communities. The Afghan and Kashmir wars have created large cadres of Jihadists in Pakistan who have, until recently, been trained and supported by the state. After General Musharraf's decision to align Pakistan with the United States not all Jihadists are willing to accept the state's U-turn and are carrying on their Jihad in pursuit of their beliefs. Unresolved conflicts in southern Philippines and Indonesia feed radicalism in Southeast Asia in a manner similar to the role of the Kashmir issue in South Asia. But in each case, the absence of ideological alternatives and the declining performance of the state in caring for its citizens is a major factor, which then can be exploited by well-funded and organized radical groups.
That local factors rather than global U.S. policy play the defining role in Muslim anti-Americanism can best be judged by comparing Bangladesh with Pakistan and Malaysia with Indonesia. In case of Bangladesh, the country has a functioning democracy with genuine competition for power. Young Bangladeshis have secular political avenues to channel their energies. The fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party) can openly contest elections and is currently part of the ruling coalition. The open political environment and absence of a major dispute that leads the state to encourage radical insurgents has contained the influence of the Islamists in Bangladesh. The people of Bangladesh have no less empathy for the Palestinians than the Pakistanis but the momentum for radicalism found in Pakistan is not there in Bangladesh.
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In Pakistan, on the other hand, the military and intelligence services tightly control political space. For years, the Pakistani State recruited and trained religious radicals in pursuit of its strategic ambitions in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Pakistan's Islamists made their strongest showing in a general election during parliamentary polls held in October 2002, securing 11.1 percent of the popular vote and 20 percent of the seats in the lower house of parliament. Since then, they have pressed for Taliban-style Islamization in the Northwest Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, where they control the provincial administration. Because of their ties to the military, the initials of the alliance of religious parties Muttahida Majlis-e-AmalMMA-are often referred by critics to mean the Military Mullah Alliance. Pakistan remains home to many extremist groups. The ratio of its population living below the poverty line (31 % of total population last year) is increasing, adding to the pool of disaffected youth searching for simple answers to complex questions and therefore likely candidates for recruitment to radical causes.
Malaysia's experience of allowing a fundamentalist Islamic party to participate fully in a pluralist political system has also kept radicalism at bay. The country's Islamic Party recently lost control of a state it had ruled for twelve years. On the other hand, Indonesia's legacy of military rule and the deployment of Muslim vigilantes by the military as an instrument of influence have created groups such as Laskar Jihad and Jemaah Islamiya, which have engaged in terrorist acts. A consistent democratic process, accompanied by socio-economic development could marginalize Indonesia's radical Islamist groups over time, as has been the case of Malaysia.
What can the U.S. Do: Promoting a culture of non-violent dialogue and tolerance, and fostering acceptance of contemporary democratic ideas and norms must be an integral part of any U.S. strategy for dealing with the Muslim world. The same surveys that showed declining support for the U.S. government in Muslim countries also confirmed broad acceptance of ideas and principles espoused by the United States. That is a sign that the U.S. needs ideological and philosophical allies among Muslims, in addition to the strategic and tactical alliances that already exist with Muslim governments. Such moderate democratic Muslim allies would answer questions about the role of the state, political practices and institutions, education and knowledge acquisition, and the economy from a perspective contradictory to that of the anti-Western Islamists.
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Instead of Islamist revivalism, which insists on rejection of western values and modern ideas, the core belief of moderate Muslims hinges on Muslim reformation. There are several Muslim intellectuals and small groups of activists throughout the Muslim worldan especially in Asiawho see intolerance and Jihadist interpretations of Islam as a threat to the Ummah as much as to the rest of the world. But these individuals and groups do not command the networking resources available to the Islamists, who have over the years built a formidable resource generation capacity beginning with the injection of Saudi and Gulf funding.
Islamist revivalism was seen as an alternative to communist influence during the cold war, giving Islamists an opportunity to organize a global network. Their ideological tracts advocating Jihad, for example, have been printed in large numbers and in many languages with funding from Muslim governments and private individuals in oil-rich states. Groups and scholars expounding non-violent beliefssuch as democracy, inclusiveness and secularismremain limited to their countries of origin. Reform groups in Pakistan, India and Indonesia, for example, do not have the global following of anti-western Islamists or even Al-Qaeda.
Just as the last few decades have witnessed an effort by the ''puritanical'' view of Islam from the Arabian heartland to penetrate the syncretist Asian periphery, there is now a need to reverse the flow of Islamic ideas from Asia to the Middle East. Promoting Muslim moderation is a U.S. national security objective, just as containing communism was during the cold war. Then, the U.S. led efforts to counter Communist propaganda and ideology. Because Islam is a religion and not just a political or economic ideology, the U.S. cannot directly get involved in intra-Islam discourse. It can, however, provide support and encouragement to moderate Muslims, who can then move forward on a momentum of their own.
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Mr. LEACH. Thank you, Ambassador.
Ambassador Simons. From one Ambassador to another.
Mr. SIMONS. You still call me ''Ambassador.'' You cannot do it often enough.
Mr. LEACH. I apologize. You are going to have to turn your microphone on.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE THOMAS W. SIMONS, JR., CONSULTING PROFESSOR, CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND COOPERATION, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
Mr. SIMONS. I, too, am happy to be here. I am flattered to be here. The issues are important, and I am delighted that the Committee is giving attention to them. I have presented a written statement, some parts of which are pretty good, so I am delighted that it is going to be in the record. I will sort of give a sketch of what I said there. I will focus perhaps a little more on U.S. policy since I am the person here who has had the most experience with it.
The U.S. has always had lots of experts on Islam but has never had a policy toward Islam, as such, and that has been good, and good not only because of the diversity within the Islamic world but also because Islam as such thrust itself into American mass politics, democratic politics, only in the 1970s, and as a hostile and threatening force. In terms of mass consciousness, Americans became aware of Islam first in terms of terror perpetrated by Arabs claiming Islamic motivation and then by the Embassy crisis in Tehran after the Islamic revolution.
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I think, in the nature of things, it is going to take a long time to transcend those first impressions, and it would have been a mistake to have a unified policy toward Islam in those conditions. In fact, we have not had one. We have wrestled our way through regional and global interests, taking Islam into account in the individual cases without seeking a consensus position, and that has been good. I believe that today the United States government is, therefore, in a good position to continue to make policy toward the world inhabited in majority by Muslims based on its complex realities.
Those realities include both unity and diversity. There are things that Muslims have in common. We have talked about some of them here today. That includes historically a tension between the city and the countryside, between city dwellers and pastoralists, that is more pronounced in Islam than in the other great historic religions. That is reflected also in a tension between two different kinds of Islam: One, a legalistic, egalitarian, scripturalist Islam in the care of learned clerics which has been based in cities; the other, an ecstatic, personalist, and hierarchical Islam, the Islam of saints and shrines, which has been most appealing in the countryside. But there are other elements of unity and, of course, tremendous diversity, diversity like the diversity between Baptists in Natchez, Mississippi, and Pusan, Korea, or the difference between Jews in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Cochin in India. You have that same kind of a diversity in the Islamic community.
I argue that it would be a mistake to make U.S. policy based on either the unity or on the diversity. If we tried to make it based on unity, it would be too general; if we did it based on the total diversity, it would be too specific to be useful except in individual crises. Instead, I urge us to look at three, what I call, ''intermediate factors'' that over the past century have become pretty characteristic of very many Islamic societies, although they have done so in different sequence and with different weights.
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Again, this is in the paper, but it is my view that it is these factors, the timing and weight of these factors in different Islamic societies, that mainly explain a lot of the diversity in the Islamic world, and that includes different susceptibilities to Islamic radicalism, which we have been talking about today. Those three factors are the following.
First is the fading of the countryside with modernization, with urbanization, with some industrialization.
Second is a concomitant fading of the old Islam of shrine and saint and an increasing ascendancy, particularly in Islamic education, of the legalistic, rigorous, egalitarian, and exclusivist, universalist trend. Some of my colleagues have talked about that. It is from that that the consciousness of belonging to one Ummah, a more exclusive and legalist Ummah in the care of scholars, arises.
Third, however, since 1970, and for specific reasons, you have had the development within the legalistic, rigorous, and universalist trend of a radical modernist brand of Islam, and it is the emergence of this radical modernism in the name of Islam that is at the root of the crisis that we are still living with today. I talk about this at some length in my paper, even at more length in my little book, Islam in a Globalizing World, $10.47 at Amazon.com. I commend it to you.
But essentially, it emerged around 1970 from a combination of factors: The disappointed hopes of the decolonization period; the Six Days' War and the discrediting of the republican nationalism that had been associated with say; Nasser or Mossadeq or the early years in Pakistan; the competition of monarchies and republics with monarchies increasingly using Islam, both of them egged on by the cold war protagonists who paid them rents for friendship; and then specific socio-economic developments, particularly in the Arab world and Iran: The emergence of large numbers of graduates who were from the countryside and small towns into cities with exploding infrastructures and limping economies. More and more young men. At a certain point, Egypt was producing 75,000 graduates a year into an economy which had neither jobs nor dignity for them. And, moreover, the successor regimes were overwhelmingly authoritarian and corrupt in the Middle East.
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So there was a vacuum of ideology, and this was filled by this brand of radical revolutionary Islam which became in many Arab countries the national ideology of national opposition to these authoritarian and corrupt regimes. But is appealing in many parts of the Islamic world, not just in its countries of origin in the Arab world and in Iran.
My view is that the United States should make policy toward regions where Muslims are in a majority based on how these factors play in the individual regions. That produces seven varieties of Islam that are identifiable honestly and can serve as one element in U.S. regional policies. The Muslim diaspora in non-Muslim-majority countries is special. Despite its immense diversity, it has a personality and an identity of its own, and, of course, it furnishes a disproportionate number of adherents to this radical ideology, so that is important in the war on terrorism.
The other six are geographic. They are geographically centered. Four of them are in Asia, the particular interest to this Subcommittee. We have talked about Southeast Asia, but, briefly, they are the Middle Eastin my paper, the crisis originated in the Middle East. I did not talk about Turkey. There is a great experiment going on in Turkey in terms of developing democracy under Islamist political leadership which deserves American support and is getting it. Central Asia is a mystery region; it is very hard to tell what is going on there, but many factors are ominously similar to the Middle East that I describe: Repression and radical Islam becoming the ideology of national opposition. Southeast Asia, we have heard a lot aboutI certainly agree with the conclusions of my betters hereand South Asia. We have talked about the three components of South Asian Islam. Together, there are almost as many Muslims in South Asia as there are in the Arab world, so it is one of the centers of Islamic destinies. I, too, in my paper, focus on Pakistan.
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It is my view that just as the prospects for radicalism are poor in Southeast Asia because Indonesia and Malaysia, in their different ways, have already, over decades, gone through some of these transformations which are so disruptive in the Arab world since 1970, Pakistan has yet to face these crises. In other words, Pakistan has not been particularly radical, but the reason is because it had less development. It has not destroyed its agriculture. It has not urbanized. It has not exploded its cities except in the city of Karachi, where the civil war has been on an ethnic rather than a religious basis. And it has not educated many people. So the preconditions for the emergence of this kind of radicalism that you see in the Arab world and Iran are still in Pakistan's future, and that makes Pakistan a test case for the capacity to legitimate a democratic nation state in a country with a Sunni majority.
These, it seems to me, Mr. Chairman, should be the building blocks of U.S. policy: Regional, where Islam is one factor among many in defining U.S. interests in given regions of the world, a factor where we need to be sensitive, alert, and active but not dominant in itself. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Simons follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE THOMAS W. SIMONS, JR., CONSULTING PROFESSOR, CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND COOPERATION, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
It is a pleasure to appear before your Subcommittee. The topics you are addressing are important for U.S. policy, and I am flattered to be invited to testify. My introduction to these topics came when I lived in British India and then in newly independent Pakistan in the 1940's with my State Department family. As a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard (19581960) I studied Islamic history of the Classical Period under Sir Hamilton A.R. Gibb. I then spent 35 years in the U.S. Foreign Service specializing in East-West relations. My interest in Islam was rekindled by my service in Pakistan in the late 1990's, and after my retirement in 1998 I taught courses in Islamic history as a member of Stanford's History Department (until 2002). Islam in a Globalizing World, based on the Payne Distinguished Lectures I gave at Stanford in the spring of 2002, was published by Stanford University Press in 2003. I have continued to study and write about these issues since my return to Massachusetts, and since 2000 I have visited India, Pakistan (twice), and Iran.
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A SINGLE U.S. POLICY TOWARD ISLAM WOULD BE A MISTAKE
Although Islam is a world religion and the U.S. is a global power, the U.S. has never had a single unified policy toward Islam, and that has been on balance an advantage. The U.S. has always had many experts on the Islamic world, and policy toward countries and regions populated by Muslims has always been an element in U.S. foreign policy as a whole. But Islam as such became an issue in our mass democratic politics for the first time in the 1970's, with the rise of radical Islamism as a political ideology in the Middle East. This outbreak onto the American political scene took two specific early forms: terrorism against Americans, other Westerners and Israelis by Arabs claiming Islamic motivation, and the Embassy hostage crisis following the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Inconceivable as it is to most Muslims, who often feel dominated and oppressed by the West, most Americans were introduced to Islam as a bearer of threat and humiliation.
Given the inertial force of first impressions in mass politics, it was certain to take decades to get beyond that identification of Islam with American humiliation to a more differentiated and realistic appreciation of the complexities of Islamic experience in our time. In that situation, to have sought a unitary consensus view of Islam as a basis for U.S. policymaking would have created an unnecessary and damaging burden for U.S. policy. Fortunately, we did not seek such a consensus view. Instead, year after year and decade after decade we dealt with Islam as one issue among others in formulating our policies toward the regions and sub-regions of the Islamic world.
In the process, I would argue, we have in fact managed to develop a genuine appreciationnever of course complete, but impressiveof the complex realities of contemporary Islamic experience. I believe this is true for American political opinion writ large; it is certainly true for the U.S. Government. For me, the acid tests were the Oklahoma City bombings and September 11. In both cases the Executive Branch carefully avoided imputing responsibility without regard to evidence or tarring Islam and Muslims generally with any single brush. Whatever miseries individual Muslims have suffered at the hands of officials or the general public, I think it is fair to say that public opinion has been against harmful and discriminatory generalization, and true to say that the Government has avoided it almost entirely. It seems to me that we are therefore in a good position to move forward based on realities rather than fears or prejudices. I hope these hearings will contribute to that work with regard to Islam in Asia.
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UNITY AND DIVERSITY
Like the other great world religions, Islam is in practice both unlike anything else and almost infinitely diverse within itself. It asks all the great questions human beings have about life and being, and answers almost all of them. But both questions and answers have specific forms common to all or almost all Muslims, and yet take various forms, with various weights, from one Muslim community to the next and among these communities.
All or almost all Muslims partake of the same magnificent architecture of revelation, reason, law and practice whose foundations were laid in the 7th Century CE and then built out over the next three or so centuries: the Qur'an, the Word of God brought down by the Prophet Muhammad, his Sayings or Traditions, the Shari'a or divine law derived from both these sources, and the jurisprudence required to interpret and apply it in real and changing social circumstances. The Arabic language in which the revelation came has special significance and richness for them all. Almost all believe that revelation is also complete, which has distinctive institutional consequences. Finally, Islam's stress on the oneness and unity of God is extraordinarily direct, pure, and strong, even compared to the other great monotheistic religions.. And in the nature of the enterprise the answers Islam gives to questions of life and being are never entirely adequate, so all Muslims are engaged in an enterprise that is ongoing and problematic.
At the other end of the analytical spectrum, Islamic life as it is lived is also as astonishingly diverse and specific as for any other great religion. In its first centuries Islam absorbed (and Islamized) all the great spiritual traditions and many of the institutional practices of the ancient Middle EastJewish, Christian, Persian. It prospered first in the great cities on one of the earth's semi-arid zones, which were then battered for centuries by waves of warrior nomads from Central Asia. Tension between the communities characteristic of the desert and the sown, between tribes and city-dwellers, has been strongest and most persistent for Muslims. With it came endemic tension between two varieties of religion: the one rooted mainly in citiesscripturalist, legalistic, egalitarianthe other most appealing outside citiesecstatic, personalist, hierarchical. Centuries of coping with invading barbarians produced special syntheses of governance among military dynasties, orthodox scholars, and mystic orders and their living saints. Simultaneously Islam was being carried to the ends of the known world, from Africa to Southeast Asia, to different communities with different traditions at different times. Finally, in the last two centuries, most Muslims were subjected to and then liberated from Western domination, but in different sequences. As your invitation registers, diversity in Islam was built in to start with and then perpetuated by experience. At this end of the spectrum, Muslims are as different from each other as, say, Baptists in Natchez, Mississippi, and Pusan, Korea, or Jews in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Cochin on India's Malabar Coast.
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THREE INTERMEDIATE FACTORS
Policy, however, can deal neither with Islam's overarching commonalities, because they are too general, nor with its fine detail, because it is too specific. Policy can only be based on a range of defining factors in between. Among many such intermediate factors shaping the lives and politics of the Islamic world, I would argue that three should be the key building blocks of sound U.S. policy.
First, over the past century the traditional balances between cities and hinterlands, between city-dwellers and tribesmen, have tilted over the course of the last century in favor of the city and against the tribe. Beginning under Western domination and continuing thereafter, modernization and urbanization have swollen cities by draining country populations into them, to the point where pastoralists and farmers are no longer decisive factors in politics or society. This movement has been unevenin a very few places, the tribal role in politics has actually been strengthened, for instancebut it has been strong and almost everywhere irreversible. And this has been particularly true in many Arab countries and in Iran.
Second, with the draining of the countryside the ecstatic, personalist, and hierarchical brands of Islam that had their real home there have lost much of their capacity to compete with the scripturalist, legalistic, egalitarian Islam of the cities. Although the analogy is flawed, we could say that ''low-church'' Islam, the Islam of saints and shrines, often specific to an area or a tribe, has been losing out to a ''high-church'' Islam centered on the divine law, the Shar'ia; on its scholarly keepers, the ulama; on the appeal of the universal community of Muslim believers, the umma; and on the urge to purify them all of elements now defined as non-Islamic or foreign. Historically these categories faded into each other and coexisted; there were uplanders and tribesmen attached to scripture and purifying reform, lowlanders and city-dwellers attached to shrines and syncretism. In recent years and in many places, they have become much more distinct and exclusive, and almost always to the benefit of the universalist, intolerant, purifying ''high-church'' varieties.
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Third, the specifics of development in some parts of the Islamic world have produced a radical, modernized version of this ''high-church'' universalism which contests both main-stream ''high-church'' Islam and its keepers and the traditional country Islam of shrine and saint. It emerged in the Arab world and in Iran, but has great appeal to key sectors of burgeoning Muslim populations elsewhere.
Since this third factor is the most salient proximate cause of the current crisis, let me briefly describe its trajectory.
The 20th century struggle against colonialism raised high hopes that the departure of the colonizers would usher in a new era of dignity and prosperity for Muslims. The main ideology of these hopes was the kind of republican nationalism associated with Gamal 'Abd al-Nasser in Egypt and Muhammad Mossadeq in Iran. But by about 1970 these hopes had collapsed, and this collapse generated the crisis we have lived with ever since.
Not only had Israel persisted as a reminder that decolonization did not mean an end to subordination, but the 1967 Six Days' War was such a catastrophe that its casualties were not just military: it discredited the republican nationalist ideology as well. The Arab world was rent by rivalries between republicans and monarchists, with the Cold War protagonists egging them on and paying them rents for friendship. Worst of all, the postcolonial regimes turned out to be authoritarian and corrupt.
There had also been much economic and social development, yet it was of very special kinds. State-led industrialization had been based mainly on oil and gas, and oil and gas are special commodities. The iron and steel that drove earlier Western growth had created new middle and working classes; oil and gas do not, and their profits are easily captured by sitting elites. To pay for industry, moreover, states ran down agriculture. Within decades this drove millions from farms and small towns into cities that then exploded their infrastructures. The states offered education, particularly at higher levelsat one point Egypt was producing 75,000 graduates a yearbut beginning about 1970 states were withdrawing from the economy and turning responsibility for growth over to captive and anemic private sectors. So more and more first-generation graduates were entering increasingly slack economies with no real prospects for jobs or dignity.
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All this was a recipe for political radicalism, and the ideological vacuum left behind by discredited republican nationalism was filled by the dream of recreating the unity and purity of the original umma in the 7th century CE. That dream had been part of Islamic discourse almost from the beginning, but it had mainly appealed to the umma's fringes, among Bedouin or among small townsmen who had then become Shi'a or Sufis. Now, around 1970, the dream had been modernised by thinkers like Sayyid Qutb in the Arab lands, 'Ali Shariati in Iran, and Maulana Abu-l-'Ala Maududi in Pakistan, and in that form it entered the Islamic mainstream. It became the chief ideology of opposition to the authoritarian and corrupt postcolonial regimes.
The result has been thirty years of savage and bloody civil war among Muslims. It has struck Westerners and Israelis too, but most of the victims have been Muslim, because the regimes were now headed by Muslims. When Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad retook the city of Hama from Sunni insurrectionists in 1982, he killed at least 10,000 people, three times the casualties of September 11.
Over the course of the crisis, however, Muslims have also generated new ways to resolve it, and some elements of possible resolution have already been moving into place. There has been covert movement on both sides toward a new center. Regimes have been Islamising themselves. They have been introducing some Islamic law and some Islamic practice into their governance. Conversely, Islamists have been entering the political system. They now run for election; they enter cabinets; they serve in parliaments; they function as (more or less) loyal oppositions. Concurrently, more and more Muslims who might have become Islamist political revolutionaries two decades ago are now forsaking politics for community action in the umma. Rather than bombs and guns, the name of the game is now schools, clinics, charities, and the Islamic piety of individual Muslims and their families.
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Moreover, with the end of the Cold War sitting regimes can no longer collect rents from the USSR, and they find it harder to collect rents from the US now that competition with the USSR is over. Even the new rents the US is paying since September 11 will never match Cold War largesse. There will never again be enough official assistance to keep regimes in power by sustaining their growth rates. Now they must rely instead on private foreign direct investment (PFDI). This is because all over the world production of knowledge is replacing production of things as the engine of economic growth. PFDI flows mainly on economic grounds. It is not attracted by the archaic, state-dominated, information-shy economies of the Arab Middle East and Iran: their share of world PFDI has plummeted since 1990. To attract it, they need reforms that will make them less rigid, less state-dominated, and less information-shy. Such economic reforms typically lead to demands for political reforms too. That is their quandary.
Such pressures will not end Islamist radicalism. The conditions that give it birth are often still there. But such pressures do tend to force radicalism to the margins of the umma once again. Osama is a perfect example: through the 1990s he was forced step by step back to the only place in the world where he now had a double layer of protectionby Taliban rulers protected in turn by Pakistanand hence the space and time needed to mount an operation like September 11. Nor will such pressures automatically generate the new Islamic synthesis the planet needs. But they do create a new opportunity for Muslims to fashion an authentically Islamic modernity that is adequate to their history and their hopes.
I would argue that September 11 did not change this basic picture. It came as a shock to most Muslims, and even Islamists asked themselves whether Osama's methods were the best path to the common goal. Iraq, of course, has been much more problematic. There military defeat was so rapid and complete that it rekindled the usual Arab feelings of helplessness and rage, and the botched aftermath has given these feelings time to swell and take political form. Radicalism is reconstituting itself, butit should be notedon a new basis.
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For Osama, for Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, Islam may still be the banner of revolutionary overthrow. For younger Muslims, Islam is increasingly the badge of membership in national communities. It is no longer just an ideology for outsiders. More and more it is the ideology both of outsiders and of deprived or threatened ruling ethnic elites: Sunni Tikritis in Iraq, Pushtuns in Afghanistan. Driven toward the margins by repression, cooptation or military defeat, Islamism is re-entering the body politic through the service entrance of Islamo-nationalism.
The consequences can be ugly. If only Muslims should be citizens, Christians and Jews are excluded in ways quite novel in Islamic experience, and quite dangerous. But there may also be a new and exciting opening for an Islamic legitimation of the modern nation-state that is valid for Sunnis, the majority of Muslims worldwide.
So far, the only place in the Islamic heartlands to produce such a legitimation has been Iran. Not long before he died in 1989, Imam Khomeini ruled on religious grounds that in emergencies national interests can take precedence over the Shari'a. That helps explain how Iran has emerged from the charismatic phase of Islamic rule without widespread violence. But Iran's special Shi'i traditions make it hard to transpose to Sunni-majority societies. Taliban rule in Afghanistan was perhaps an effort to create a version for Sunnis, but it ended before it succeeded. In both cases, moreover, the effort took place within a theocratic framework, direct rule by ulama. Theocracy is not a mainstream Islamic tradition and will not appeal in most Muslim countries. A broader version of religious legitimation of the nation-state could be taking shape now in Iraq. It may be that the Americans are needed both as a parameter and as a target. But the outcome is very uncertain, the circumstances very special.
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Indeed all circumstances in the Islamic world are special, and one grand question for U.S. policy is whether conditions outside the Arab world and Iran will also make this post-1970's brand of Islamist radicalism part of the coin of politics for Muslims elsewhere. These three factors are in play among Muslims everywhere; whether they become decisive in a given Muslim community will depend on the individual balance of forces and factors in that community. It is on those individual balances that U.S. policy should focus.
SEVEN VARIETIES OF WORLD ISLAM
Vastly simplifying, I would argue that one can identify seven brands of Islam in today's world. They share the commonalities noted above, and they are incredibly diverse within themselves, but the mixes of commonalities and diversities that they exhibit are distinct enough to describe honestly. I am not knowledgeable enough to do so well, but in gross terms six of the seven varieties are attached to localities where Muslims constitute majorities of national populations: North Africa west of Egypt, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East including Egypt, Central Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The seventh is the modern Muslim diaspora outside Muslim-majority areas, which also shows commonalities in its dilemmas and directions despite its tremendous diversity, and supplies so many recruits for Islamist radicalism. North and Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora are not perhaps within the primary purview of this Subcommittee. So I will focus briefly on the remaining four varieties, ending with the region I know best, South Asia. The piecemeal quality of my comments reflects the inadequate state of my knowledge, but I hope it will not obscure the main purpose of this testimony, which is to suggest an efficient overall framework for U.S. policy formulation.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the previous section I treated the Middle East at some length, but without addressing Turkey, its western borderland. Turkey has an extremely rich and complex history and situation which deserves treatment more extensive than is possible here. But one comment seems to me important in the context of the Islamic world as a whole: just as Turkey was for decades the world's example of a Muslim-majority country with secular governance, today it is the world's crucible for the emergence of stable democratic governance in a Muslim-majority country under Islamist political leadership. Like Iran but for almost opposite reasons, Turkey is so special that the results of this grand experiment may not be readily transferable elsewhere. But success in the Turkish experiment will make it very much harder for either Muslims or non-Muslims to argue that Muslims as such are incapable of shaping and leading modern democracy. It therefore deserves full American support, which it is receiving.
Central Asia is the mystery region of the Islamic world. Together with Azerbaijan in the Caucasus, its five new nationsKazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistanhave strong Muslim majorities. But they lived for years almost hidden from the world within the relentlessly secular Soviet state, and since they achieved independence in 1991 they have lived under mixed but mainly authoritarian regimes which make hard data and accurate assessments of their evolving domestic situations difficult to come by. For very many outside observers, the structural analogies to the Middle East situation described above are disturbing and even ominous. Where it exists, industry is based on oil and gas. Agriculture is in decline and there is substantial rural out-migration. Education pumping large numbers of graduates into limp economies. And strong-arm, corrupt governance is the rule. In some ways things are perhaps worse. Soviet rule made these societies Islamically illiterate, so despite post-Soviet efforts to fashion a ''moderate'' and politically supportive ulama, there is ample scope for semi-literate Islamist radicalism among young men without much hope of jobs or dignity. General repression also affects Muslims as Muslims, and that would also make it natural for radicalism to emerge as the principal ideology of political opposition, as it has in many Arab countries and Iran.
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Perhaps in other ways things are better. Soviet secularization had its impact; Islamic senisibility was as little developed in Central Asia as Islamic education. And, especially in the wake of September 11, the U.S., Russia, and even China have important economic and military presences in the region, which should give weight to their advice if it is proffered. But without being black boxes, the political/religious situations in Central Asia and Azerbaijan are still largely opaque to outsiders. To the extent that includes the U.S. Government, sound policy will continue to be hard to formulate.
Southeast Asia is a different Islamic world, and not just because it is so much more open and knowable. It is also internally diverse. Indonesia, the largest country, has not only a predominant Muslim majority but the world's largest Muslim population, while Malaysia and the Philippines have large Muslim populations, but not majorities. I will refrain from comment about the Philippines, about which I know too little, except to say that there religion seems to serve in politics mainly as a banner of resistance to central authority for still strongly tribal populations on the fringes of the polity, in the southern islands, or at least for young males among them. The same seems to have been true in areas of Indonesia: for Islam in northern Sumatra, perhaps for Christianity in East Timor, before independence. In the main, however, Islam in both Indonesia and Malaysia recognizably shares certain features with the rest of the Islamic world: tense and shifting balances between city and countryside, tension among ecstatic syncretists, legalistic keepers of the Word, and purifying reformers, the legacies of Western domination, the challenges of globalization. And yet how different their situations are from the Middle East and Central Asia described above.
This is not to say the Malaysian and Indonesian situations are the same. Malaysia is a bit closer to the Middle East. In the 1960's and 1970's its newly independent governments were careful to maintain elite harmony and vigorously promote economic modernization, but as the Malay countryside emptied into the Chinese-dominated cities they were equally careful to preempt radicals' political use of Islam as a national ideology for Malays by adopting it themselves. Islamo-nationalism started early in Malaysia, but in carefully controlled forms; and it is hard to say the experiment has been unsuccessful. Malaysia has gone through gigantic transformations, has in fact joined the modern world, with its inherited political structures largely intact, and without the radicalism and repression endemic in Muslim-majority countries to its west.
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Indonesia, by contrast, spreads over hundreds of islands, with huge diversity, and yet has few identity problems. It has therefore been hard to mobilize Islam as Islamo-nationalism, as a badge of ethnically defined national identity for certain citizens but not for others. It can in fact be argued that when the declining Soeharto regime tried to do so in the late 1990's it dug its own grave; that its effort to build political support among would-be Islamo-nationalists contributed to its downfall, together with specific mistakes and the 1998 financial crisis, by mobilizing strong antibodies already existing in the Indonesian body politic.
Historically, Islam in Indonesia has defined inclusion rather than exclusion. It paid a price in syncretism, especially on the central island of Java, but also reaped the benefit: its ecstatic and legalistic and reforming varieties tended to blend into each other in practice. State schools teach Islam and Arabic; Islamic schools teach secular subjects. And just as Islamo-nationalism came early to Malaysia, purifying reformism came early to Indonesia, along with mass organizations to embody it. The purification impulse began in the 19th Century, with pilgrims returning from the Holy Cities in Arabia. Even among the purifiers or santri a distinction rapidly emerged between santri moderen (modern santri) and santri kolot (traditional, old-style santri). The Muhammadiyah, a huge missionary organization promoting personal piety, was founded in 1912, decades before the comparable Tablighi-Jamaat, say, in Pakistan, or similar organizations in the Arab world. The Nahdatul Ulama, ''The Reviver of the Ulama,'' with its millions of current members, was founded in 1926, by conservative clerics fearful that modernist rejection of the classic schools of Islamic jurisprudence would threaten their capacity to use ijtihad, right reasoning, in applying the Shari'a in everyday life. The contrast with the Arab world could not be more striking. For these were Sunni conservatives, and most of their Arab counterparts even today consider ijtihad suspect as the gate to forbidden innovation, used by Shi'a (as indeed it must be, since they are an embattled minority) but not by true believers. And in independent Indonesia both these organizations not only maintained their integrity vis-a-vis the state but recognized that a healthy Islam would require expanded and educated middle classes, and supported the democratization needed to produce them.
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True experts on Southeast Asian Islam may differ, but it seems clear to me that barring socio-economic and political catastrophe worse than the crisis of 1998 which they successfully weathered, neither Indonesia nor Malaysia are liable to generate radical Islamism of the Middle Eastern variety on a sufficient scale to threaten their basic structures. As in the Philippines, individual communities or areas may succumb. But Indonesian and Malaysian state structures and the elites who lead them should remain strong enough and flexible enough to cope with the challenges of modernization without sacrificing the essentials of modern national life, including diversity protected by law and institutions supporting it.
What of South Asia?
South Asia includes three countries with comparable Muslim populations. India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are all home to 125 million or more Muslims. By comparison, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran each have about 70 million overwhelmingly Muslim inhabitants. South Asia's Muslim population is not much smaller than that of the Arab world. But its three blocs of Muslims live in very different situations. They are a sizeable but still small minority in overwhelmingly Hindu India, with its billion people and its democratic institutions, which they support. In Bangladesh, Muslims are the strong majority, but in a country born in bloody struggle against the West Wing of what was then the united Islamic Republic of Pakistan. If there were ever proof that being Muslim alone is not enough to keep countries together, that was it. Moreover, Bangladesh began and is today desperately poor. Yet Islam has never played a major role in Bangladeshi politics. If there were ever proof that poverty alone is not enough to generate Islamist radicalism, Bangladesh is it. Beyond that, my knowledge is so fragmentary that I will leave the political-religious situations of India and Bangladesh to others, and focus on Pakistan which I know better.
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Very briefly, Pakistan has the advantages of starting late, just as Southeast Asia has the advantages of having started early. Indonesia and Malaysia have had decades to absorb the blows of modernization and adapt with their essential Islamic personalities intact. Pakistan's situation is like those of many Arab countries and Iran in some ways, but different in others. Modern in some important ways, Pakistan nevertheless still has the true crisis of modernization ahead of it.
Like some Arab states, Pakistan inherited a postcolonial security threatthe disparity in power with an India defined as hostilethat has absorbed disproportionate resources and has thereby reinforced older socio-political structures. Traditional elites, including the Army, have remained very much in charge. Tribes remain important, especially in the Pushtun belt along the Afghanistan border and in Sindh, but subordinate. Religionthe Islam of shrines and saints, the Islam of the ulama, the Islam of modernist reformershas a place in society and politics. Most Pakistanis outside the Pushtun population probably practice the relaxed and tolerant form of Islam associated with the Barelvi school, but Pakistan also has its own version of ulama-centered reformism, called Deobandi after the great religious school at Deoband in what are now India's United Provinces. The founder of its main strand of modernist reformism, Maulana Maududi, also came to Pakistani Lahore from North India. As elsewhere in the Islamic world, city-centered rigorism and literalism (in this Deobandi form) have gained an increasing ascendancy in Islamic education in recent years. In Pakistani politics, nevertheless, religion generally has had a subordinate place; it is regularly sponsored and as regularly coopted by the sitting elites. And along with traditional structures comes a traditional sense of political irresponsibility: in Pakistan someone else is always to blame.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Although Pakistan was founded as an Islamic nation-state by modern means and modern people, here too modernity is so associated with the West that it must be denied as un-Islamic.
And Pakistan too has been stranded by the end of the Cold War and the onset of the IT era in economics. New rents from the war on terrorism will not restore the levels of official assistance Pakistan attracted before 1990, and private foreign direct investment has not rushed in to fill the gap.
But Pakistan is also different from the Arab world and Iran in relevant ways. Some are counterintuitive; most are to Pakistan's advantage.
First, Pakistan is not dependent on oil and gas, and can be better off for it. Pakistan is dependent on cotton, and compared to oil and gas, cotton and cotton textile production makes for larger middle and working classes, better attuned to modern political and economic needs than Middle Eastern elites.
Second, Pakistan is less developed than the old Islamic heartlandsmore agricultural, less urbanized, less educatedand that too can help. It has not destroyed its agriculture. Except for the southern megalopolis of Karachi, rural out-migration has not exploded its cities, and even in Karachi civil war has been on an ethnic and not a religious basis. And the graduating cohorts entering the limp economy have been relatively small. In other words Pakistan has not yet produced the conditions that brought Islamist radicalism to the center of Middle East politics. It therefore has a window of opportunity to create better structures less conducive to civil war.
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Third, Pakistanis have been struggling for over half a century to bring religion and politics together in a functioning system of governance. The need to experiment came with Pakistan's original mandate as a refuge for Muslims and has been enforced through one crisis after another and through a whole series of Islamization steps, especially since the 1970's. Currently, experimentation with the religious impulse in politics is particularly intense. Since 2002 Islamists have led the government in one frontier province and share power in another, and they are strong enough in federal politics to be chosen as the government's privileged negotiating partner for some key issues.
The outcome of this experimentation is also quite uncertain. But a half century of experimenting means that Pakistanis have a wealth of lived experience wrestling with issues that are newer and more destructive in other Muslim societies, and of doing so mainly without violence. They should therefore be better able to integrate the religious impulse into a basically democratic political system without first establishing theocracy as in the Iranian or Taliban experiments. If they can, it will be a first version of religious legitimation for the modern nation-state in a society with a recognizably Sunni majority. Where Pakistan fits in today's Islamic world, then, is as a major test case, for Pakistanis, but also for all the other members of the Muslim umma.
CONCLUSION ON U.S. POLICY
My basic argument has been:
that because of the diversity of Islamic experience U.S. policy has been well served by the absence of a single unitary policy toward the Islamic world;
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that the U.S. Government is in a good position to formulate sound and realistic policies toward societies with Muslim majorities (although counter-terrorist policy will of course have to give special attention to political/religious conditions in the Muslim diaspora);
that it would be a mistake to base policy either on what is common to all Muslims, since that would be too general if it could be defined at all, or on the detailed analysis of individual communities or individuals, since that would be too specific to be useful except in unlikely crises;
that nevertheless we can identify three intermediate factors which can and should be taken into account in policy formulation toward Muslim societies; all have to do with modernization processes which are already past, rather than future; they are:
the accelerating reduction in the importance of pastoral and agricultural populations in Islamic societies and politics;
the related ascendancy of city-based universalist, literalist, and egalitarian forms of Islam in culture and politics; and
the emergence since 1970 of a radical strand of universalist reformism as the ideology of political opposition in many Arab countries and Iran, with appeal elsewhere when similar conditions arise;
that Muslim-majority populations in the world differ in their susceptibility to radicalism mainly as a function of how quickly these three factors come into play and in what order;
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that except for the diaspora politically significant varieties of Islam are connected to geographic regions, of which we can identify six, four in Asia: the Middle East including Turkey and Iran, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia; and
that U.S. policy toward Islam ought to consist of policies toward these regions which take into account the whole range of U.S. interests in each, factoring in accurate and sensitive appreciation of its political/religious situation and prospects.
I hope these comments will be of use to the Subcommittee.
Mr. LEACH. I want to thank the panel, and I must say, I am extremely impressed with the four separate statements that are not in contradiction but are totally different. This is a very complementary set of testimony. I also want to say, there is no rule against talking one's book. I want to say Islam in a Globalized World, Stanford University Press, is worthy.
Mr. SIMONS. It is $8.47 used.
Mr. LEACH. Also, we have a book called Protest and Possibilities from the Stanford University Press from Dr. Weiss. We have a book called The Challenge of Change from Dr. Ramage that can be gotten through the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies, and we have a series of articles, and I would like to indicate one in particular, ''The Gospel of Jihad,'' that was in Foreign Policy Magazine, SeptemberOctober 2002, from Ambassador Haqqani.
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I would like to just lead with one question and then turn, and I love your phrase, Ambassador Simons, ''to my betters'' for questions, but, first, we have a new book out that is being reviewed in the last several weeks by a chap named Anonymous from the Central Intelligence Agency, and he has one very profound thesis, and the rest is kind of meting out this thesis. But his thesis is that the Islamic protests against America are not based about challenges to our values but based upon challenges to our policies. Do you concur with that or not, and does that seem to be a valid observation? Ambassador Simons?
Mr. SIMONS. Mr. Chairman, I think it is valid in the main. Islamic radicalism is mainly directed against sitting governments in the area. The U.S., or the West, tends to be a surrogate for governments who cannot be resisted or who are hated. So there is a tendency to associate the United States or Israel or the West in general with evil and to lump them all together in a front threatening Islam and Muslims.
Nevertheless, it remains true that what most people are objecting to, and the reason they go into politics, has to do with local circumstances. Governments are definingeven though they may claim to be fighting for a universal Ummah, or for the recreation of the unity and purity of that Ummah in the Seventh Century of the common era, the truth is that they are fighting in territorial arenas that are defined by sitting governments; and, therefore, they are national states, and that is the main object, just as the casualties are mainly Muslim, Mr. Chairman.
We tend to think of them as American or Israeli or western, but you have had, in effect, 30 years of civil war mainly among Muslims because since decolonization the regimes are headed by Muslims. When Hafez al-Assad retook the city of Hama in 1982 from Sunni insurrectionists, he killed at least 10,000 people. That is more than three times the casualties of 9/11, horrible as they are. They do not affect Americans as much because 9/11, the casualties were mainly American. Nevertheless, I think we ought to keep our focus on the fact that we are dealing mainly with a civil war among Muslims in which we are not a bit player. We have influence and a role, but it is mainly our policies which allow us to be warped into this Muslim civil war, and it would be changes in policies more than anything else which takes care of that particular part of the problem. The civil war will continue, whatever the United States does. We cannot solve that, but we can help. My colleague from the Asia Foundation describing what the Asia Foundation and USAID is doing in Indonesia is very impressive. It could be exemplary for the way the U.S. Government can help. It cannot substitute for Muslims in resolving these issues, but it can help. Thank you.
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Mr. LEACH. Ambassador Haqqani, would you like to comment?
Mr. HAQQANI. I just have a short comment, Mr. Chairman, and I would like to say that there is a radical core, and they are ideologically motivated, and they definitely resent western values. They have a particular mindset. For example, I do not think the Taliban were motivated by American policy in forcing Afghanistan's women entirely out of the public arena, closing down their schools, or forcing the book on them. That is an ideological compulsion. Similarly, for example, some of the books on Jihad that the more radical movements use as their texts were written in the 1930s before the creation of Israel or the American support for Israel.
So I think that the core of the radical movement is motivated by a rejection of modernity and a rejection of the West, and because the United States leads the West, they have a hatred for that. That said, I would say that that core would be insignificant in numbers if it was not for the ability of this core to play up the disaffection of a larger number of Muslims and involve them in its hard-line belief system.
So I think that Anonymous is only partially right in saying that policies are at the heart of the matter. The policies, of course, enable the terrorists and the radicals to recruit more people to their cause and find more fellow travelers. The wider circle of disaffection is created by policies, but the extreme core actually comes from a set of beliefs, and the set of beliefs are not necessarily linked to the policies of the United States, and in many cases the ideas date back much further in history than even the creation of the United States of America.
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Mr. LEACH. Dr. Ramage.
Mr. RAMAGE. I think that for decades Indonesians have been deeply unhappy with American foreign policy in the Middle East, but we did not hear about it because these opinions were suppressed in an authoritarian Indonesia. So coinciding with international events such as September 11th, the rise of international terrorism, we are also hearing Indonesians speaking very freely about what they have always had problems with.
So I think that in that part the contention is correct. It is valid. Problems are primarily with the general public and are primarily problems with perceptions of U.S. foreign policy. But I would absolutely agree as well that the hard core of radical movements in Indonesia is also motivated by a very deeply ideological rejection of the values of the West, but as you said, it is such a small minority that it really has no impact on general discourse.
Mr. LEACH. Dr. Weiss?
Ms. WEISS. I would say that I agree overall with Anonymous and with the nonanonymous people who have just responded, but I would make three additional caveats. One is that the definition of what it means to separate church and state, which I would see as a core American value in terms of governance, may be defined differently elsewhere. So, for instance, Malaysia is a secular state but one which is consciously explicitly defined in terms of Islamic values. These are not seen to limit freedom of religion, for instance, for non-Muslims, and yet that is simply a different framework of what it means to distinguish between these spheres than is practiced in the West.
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Secondly, I think obfuscation of policies in the U.S. leads to a conflation of a disagreement with values and a disagreement with policies, and I refer to Mr. Rohrabacher's opening in which he explained that what we are calling a war on terrorism could also be called a war on radical Islam. When we call it one thing when we actually mean something else, that encourages misunderstanding. So, for instance, when we are talking about contesting terrorism as a way of supporting democracy and then actually defining terrorism as radical Islam, that is putting our values of democracy in false opposition, I would argue, to Islam, whether it is a particular variant or whether that is simply misunderstood as being an anti-Islamic stance in the U.S.
So I think that by calling these policies something that they are not, we are asking for that sort of misunderstanding and confusion.
And, finally, I would argue that it is not just a radical fringe, for instance, that is opposed in some ways to western values but rather that there is a longstanding Asian-values approach which is not specifically Islamist in character within especially places like Singapore and Malaysia that contests arguments that human rights, for instance, are not culturally relative or that contest the idea that individual interests should trump all communal ones. And so there actually has been a longstanding contest against western values, however they are defined, within the region, but that is not necessarily simply an Islamist challenge so much as something that is defined more in terms of political culture in various ways.
Mr. LEACH. Well, thank you very much. My very nonanonymous colleague from California, Mr. Rohrabacher.
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Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much. Yes, this is very fascinating. I think that we need to discuss these various elements that you are talking about and have a better understanding on our part. Americans, and especially Christian Americans, need to try to understand what Islam is all about rather than just look at it as, number one, one unified enemy for us, which, since 9/11, many Americans have unfortunately fallen into that way of thinking. Let me just note that we can be proud of our President that immediately after 9/11, he reached out to the Muslim community here in the United States and included Muslim clerics in every one of the ceremonies and has reached out time and again to try to bring Muslims into view with him in the White House and elsewhere to make sure that we combat that type of stereotyping that could have been very dangerous and fallen right into the hands of the radical element who wants to have a polarization between western civilization and all Muslims.
Let me note that while there is poverty and many of the other elements that can explain that segment of Islam that has become so antiwestern and radical, I do not find that as a reason. The people who are the most radical seem to be very wealthy people and come from the elites of the society.
In Pakistan, I find it disturbing, the figures that were given us about the number of students that are in the madrassas versus the number of students that are in regular schools, which leads to my question for the panel, and that is the Wahhabi influence. Obviously, the Wahhabi sect in Saudi Arabia had enormous financial resources available to it as compared to other perhaps sections, segments of Islam. Is it the Wahhabi mosques? I have heard that in some places the mosques that have been supported by the Wahhabis actually have some very fine clergymen and people who are mullahs who are there that are not preaching the hatred that we know. How much should we focus on the Wahhabi influence and especially the mosques and the schools that have been built over the last 10 years? How much should we focus on that as a threat? We find that throughout Asia and, of course, throughout the world, and we might just start from over on this end with the Ambassador and go on down the panel.
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Mr. SIMONS. Congressman, thank you very much. Those are excellent comments. If I could make two comments on your comments, first, I think it is fair to say that both the American people and the two successive Administrations have done really rather well in not generalizing about Muslims and not demonizing Muslims. For me, the test case is we are not simply 9/11, which was as you described, but also the Oklahoma City bombings. I was in an airport watching the play on that, waiting for some government official to blame Muslims, and not a single one of them did. There was stuff out there in the commentary. But I think we have done rather well in holding off on that.
I think, if I can leave the Wahhabis perhaps to Ambassador Haqqani, but with regard to the elites as radicals, I think the real infantry of Islamist radicalism is drawn not from the poor and not from the very wealthy but from these cohorts of young men from the countryside and small towns who are generally the first of their family to be educated and who are put into economies without jobs or dignity. They are the ones who really have, I think, supplied the infantry and the noncoms, and even some of the leaders of the radical movements rather than the very wealthy or the very poor.
My parallel, if you can stand to read that little book, is Eastern Europe and Russia after 1870 because you get the same kind of phenomena, urbanization, industrialization, and education but with economies that were not very buoyant, and so you form an intelligentsia which in Russia and Eastern Europe also became radical, except there it was radical socialist, and we ended up with Bolsheviks. So there are a lot of parallels there.
I think WahhabiI would just say one thing before he tells you that it is not really Wahhabis in South Asia. One of the problems with the epithet, with the label of Wahhabi, is that it is something in Central Asia that is systematically applied to any kind of Muslim activist in politics by these authoritarian, post-communist regimes, and it is used partly as a scare tactic on us, and it really is true Wahhabis who are sent out from Saudi Arabia espousing a doctrine like that of Muhammad Abdul Wahhabit is an 18th Century doctrineare really quite rare, but let the Ambassador.
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Mr. HAQQANI. Thank you very much. Let me begin by saying that a distinction has to be made between leaders or certain specific radical individuals who may come from any classthey could be very affluent peoplebecause that has to do with belief systems, but when we talk about poverty as a factor, what I am actually talking about is the possibility of more recruitment of foot soldiers because people who are hanging out in the streets of Karachi with no job, no real school to go tomother sent you away because she wanted to get rid of you, so she sent you to a madrassa, and you have some half-baked idea of certain beliefs, and that is all you have. And so, therefore, while radicalism is not necessarily a product of poverty, radicalism can grow more in an environment of poverty, and I think that is the point I would make on that one.
On the question of the Wahhabi influence, let me just say that South Asia has a branch of Islam called the Daobandis, and the Daobandis are a homegrown movement. They were a puritanical movement that started soon after the British arrived in South Asia, and their point of view was that we will not adopt western education, and we will not adopt western means except to destroy western ways. So the tools were fine, but the values were not. Daobandism, of course, has gained ground over the last several years in Pakistan, as has some Wahhabi influence, but, by and large, Saudi support has gone to Islamic political movements which have been able to build an infrastructure, magazines, publication houses, et cetera.
And so my view would be that it is simplistic to talk just about Wahhabi influence. Let us put it this way, that during the Afghan war, the Saudi policy of matching United States aid dollar for dollar enabled the Islamic political movements in Pakistan to increase their resources, and that is a greater threat than mosques. For example, in my old neighborhood in Karachi, the mosque was built by the Saudi prince, but the mullah we had in our neighborhood was pretty okay. So even though the mosque carries the name of a Saudi prince, that mosque is not a hotbed for revolution or a hotbed for radicalism.
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On the other hand, there are these political groups, groups such as the Lashkareteba and the Jesha Muhammad, which have had the support of the Pakistani government as well because these groups were building an infrastructure primarily to train young men to go and fight a Jihad in Kashmir, which Pakistan considers to be a territory on which Pakistan has a legitimate claim.
So that radical movement and that trained Jihadi movement is what needs to be confronted, not just the question of who built the mosques or who paid for the mosques because, otherwise, if we go down that route, then we will end up getting into a conflict with the religious side of Islam, whereas I think what we need to confront is the political-ideology side of Islam or manipulation of Islam as a political ideology rather than the belief system, per se.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. If you have a comment, that is fine.
Mr. RAMAGE. Just a very short one. Indonesians are very savvy consumers of assistance, and Indonesian Muslim organizations are very adept and pragmatic when it comes to receiving support. For example, a Saudi foundation may offer funds to an Indonesian organization to built a mosque and a library, but then the library is filled with books from the Ford Foundation or another American organization. The training of the leadership in that Muslim community is provided by Canadian CIDA at McGill University, or they go down to Australia. And so the provision of that kind of support from Saudi Arabia does not seem to have fallen on very fertile ground, and it is precisely Indonesia's democracy which has made it not very fertile ground for these ideas coming from the Middle East right now.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WEISS. I would argue a couple of things. First of all, Wahhabi Islam as well as all other sects which are termed deviant, not Sunni Islam of the Syaf'i legal tradition in Malaysia are outlawed. So part of the reason that these particular variants are not to be found significantly in Malaysia, or at least openly practiced, is that the state cracks down extremely hard on those who are deemed to be part of deviant sects.
That said, there is actually very little incentive, aside from the possibility of indefinite imprisonment without trial, to pursue these sects within Malaysia, inasmuch as there is a degree of democratic inclusion of a more moderate and even comparatively radicalized vision of Islam within governance. So, in other words, there are Islamic parties, and there is much more chance of actually affecting policies and changing the political norms and behaviors through institutional channels than through what are termed by the Malaysian state ''deviant sects.'' I would suggest that similar dynamics operate elsewhere in the region as well.
In terms of the idea of Wahhabi Islam itself, that specific variant, as others have mentioned, is actually not very significant within Southeast Asia but, rather, is recognized as being specific to a Saudi context, even if the term ''Wahhabi'' is used to denigrate and delegitimize radical Islamist variance.
I would suggest that in terms of this issue of whether it is the haves or the have-nots who are radical within Southeast Asia, it is important to consider both socio-economic and political factors in tandem. So, for instance, considering the ability to get a job and support one's self is one part of the picture, but there is also the question of political control and self-determination. So, for instance, if we look at Kashmir, the conflict there escalates in the 1970s and eighties as Indira Ghandi centralizes control under her government, deposes an indigenous Kashmiri leader in 1984, and takes away a degree of autonomy that was held by the Kashmiri people previously.
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What ends up taking the place of a specific Kashmiri ethno-nationalism there or what ends up taking the place of the Moro National Liberation Front which is replaced by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines or elsewhere is an Islamist variant of what was previously a far more secular ethno-nationalist movement.
So this idea of political incorporation needs to be seen as going hand in hand with economic opportunities in terms of quelling radical tendencies.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, and let me just note from your answers, I am becoming more confident that a democratic-focused strategy in the Muslim world is the right way to go because what you are telling me about is, in Indonesia or Malaysia or elsewhere and even Kashmir, that it was a democratic process or a lack thereof that brought about a worse turn of events, and perhaps Mr. Mosideh in Iran, had he been permitted to carry through his time rather than what we did and what was done to him, perhaps that might have cut the radical Islam in that country off or at least stilted its growth. So Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEACH. Well, thank you, sir. Mr. Tancredo?
Mr. TANCREDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If what my colleague, Mr. Rohrabacher, has just said is accurate, and I certainly think that it is in terms of the advancement of democracy in the area being a solution to our problem with this conflict, what is it in your mind that distinguishes the ability of democracy to flourish, to some extent, at any rate, in non-Arab countries as opposed to the problem it has actually taking root in Arab countries. Why is it working in Indonesia and Turkey, to some extent, and nowhere else in the Arabic world? Because I do not know how else we can possibly advance the issue. That is where we have got to concentrate. Right?
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Mr. SIMONS. Congressman, I do not think anyone has a good answer to that very good question as to why it has been harder in Arab countries. I think one of the classic answers is that the Arabs were colonized or dominated since 1517, first by the Ottomans and then, in the 20th century, by Europeans. So were the Indonesians, and the Iranians were not, and it has not been easy in Iran either.
Mr. TANCREDO. Yes.
Mr. SIMONS. So I think the simple question of outside dominion is not the solution.
Another answer might be that the Arabs are particularly associated with the religion. In other words, the religion was founded and grew on Arab soil. It is associated with the Arabic language. There is a special pride in the centrality, a connection with the religion. Islam is really part of the Arab personality, perhaps more tightly associated with Arab identity than with others, but I do not think that is adequate either.
And, finally, there is the question of Israel, which is, I think, in most of the Muslim world, but particularly in the Arab world, associated with continuing western domination. In other words, the colonies have faded. Direct rule came to an end substantially in 1962 in Algeria, and yet Israel persists as a reminder that the end of colonialism does not mean the end of subordination. So it may be the special closeness and proximity and the fact that it is front line in the Arab world that would explain it.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have given you four different kinds of reasons of different weights. Let me ask my colleagues here.
Mr. HAQQANI. If I may, I am going to give a fifth one, and that is the nature of the nationalist movements. For example, in South Asia, the movement for Pakistan, and we must remember, Bangladesh was part of Pakistan until 1972, and then subsequently the Bangladeshi freedom movement were all exercised through a democratic process, mass movements.
In the Middle East, that did not happen. In the Middle East, these were usually covert, secret societies or parties that eventually grabbed power through the military. In fact, for example, we know the Baath Parties in both Syria and Iraq really suppressed all opposition. The democratic political option has just not existed, and, very frankly, the factor of oil and other strategic considerations that enable these governments to bestates and get cooperation from some majorlike the United States or the Soviet Union in the cold war era enables these governments to suppress and repress with no alternative. So in the Middle East, there is no tradition of surviving opposition, whereas in the worst-repressive days of Suharto in Indonesia or some of the military governments in Pakistan, an opposition has existed.
Right now, for example, we have the example of Egypt. Twenty-two years, has it been, since President Mubarek has been in office? He does not want an opposition. There is no opposition. In the absence of an opposition political movement that will demand democracy, it is not possible for anybody from outside to be able to support anyone there, and so there is a political wasteland in the Middle East in that sense.
Iraq may change that. If we can have a pluralist democracy in Iraq, then there may be a place where opposition groups can start organizing, but then there will be a crucial question for the United States: Does the U.S. support democratic opposition groups that are from countries where the government is favorably disposed to the U.S.? And my answer would be yes. In fact, I am, right now, working on a paper on that very subject, that probably the democracy-promotion strategy for the United States, especially for the Middle East, would be one of promoting opposition groups, training opposition groups for political activity, not for anything else, but for political activity in countries whose governments are supposedly United States allies. How else will there be a political opposition in Saudi Arabia?
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The Islamic radical part to it is that in the absence of a political opposition, the mosque becomes the center of opposition because there will definitely be people who are against the government. Where will they organize? So the only place where they can meet is the mosque because mosques cannot be shut down, and then whether they want it or not, the only opposition that then emerges is religious opposition.
Unless and until somebody assists the creation of a secular opposition in the Arab countries, and now, increasingly, even in Asian countriesin Pakistan, I think there is a serious problem, and Central Asia is the same. Democracy requires both a government and an opposition party, and unless and until there is an opposition party, there will be no democracy. You will only have democracies of 99.9 percent, which is the number of votes each of these rulers gets when they hold an election for international public opinion.
Mr. RAMAGE. I think in Indonesia, the key distinction between democracy in Indonesia and the way you phrased it in the Arab world is really that democracy in Indonesia is underpinned by a vibrancy of religious life. Innovative and dynamic religious thought and interpretation in Indonesia leads Muslim leaders to the conclusion that religious life can only flourish in a democratic society, which is why the Indonesian case is so interesting. Where do you have Muslim leaders arguing that you can only be a good Muslim if you have a pluralist democratic society? That kind of discourse is nonexistent in the Arab world.
Ms. WEISS. The so-called ''democratic deficit'' of the Arab states is a key question in Middle East studies and political science as academic disciplines, and the general consensus seems to be that Islam is not the issue so much as monarchical states, tribal legacies, and totalitarian controls that prohibit in significant ways a civil society from developing. The same can be said of, for instance, Brunei, which is the one remaining monarchy in Southeast Asia.
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That said, the counterargument against that general conventional wisdom is twofold. Number one, when oil revenues drop in the Middle East, we see a rise of pro-democratic movements in the Middle East. So, for instance, movements that have arisen in Egypt, in Algeria, and elsewhere that tend ultimately to be suppressed arise at times that the state is in economic crisis, which suggests that there is a role played not just by totalitarian coercion but also by some degree of buying off the populace. So, for instance, Brunei has taken steps to prevent the emergence in Southeast Asia of a challenge to authoritarian monarchical rule through the ''shellfare state,'' as it is called, which is a comprehensive welfare state supported by oil money, and also then by trying to diversify the economy a little bit so that when the oil runs out, the state can continue to buy off the populace.
The other response to this democratic-deficit argument is not just that the populace is bought off but that there is actually a degree of democracy below the surface. So, for instance, Carrie Rosefsky Wickam writes about Egypt, in a book called Mobilizing Islam, that through mosques, as well as through professional organizations, groups that are otherwise outlawed in Egypt have managed to play a role in developing a civil society and the possibility for democratic governance. So, for instance, in Egypt, we find that the Muslim Brotherhood is not allowed to contest politically but has taken over control of most professional organizations in the country, through which it will significantly control.
Others, like Laurie Brand, write on elsewhere in the Middle East also about the role of women's groups in performing similar functions, and you find the same arguments made for women's groups in a range of countries, including former Soviet states, as being realms that are simply outside the gaze of the state. If politics is assumed to be primarily dominated by men, women's groups are potential areas for mobilizing for political ends that the state simply will not think to suppress.
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For instance, we find that in New Order Indonesia, one of the reasons why there are so many vibrant, including vibrant Islamist women's groups articulating strong feminist critiques of authoritarian governance is because they simply were not so likely to be suppressed by the state as ones that were dominated by men.
Mr. TANCREDO. That is a fascinating presentation. Really, from the very start, I wish I could have been here for all of it. I apologize for having been called away so often because I just think that your observations are sometimes, of course, conflicting, but always profound and present challenges of enormous dimensions. But I, nonetheless, really appreciate your observations. I appreciate the Chairman calling this meeting, and thank you very much.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you, Tom. I want to just end with a query particularly to Dr. Ramage, and I want to use a term that you have asked us not to use, ''Islamic world.'' There is a lot of kind of rhetoric around that the Islamic world is not ready for democracy, and you cite a series of instances where within the Islamic world there is a lot of democracy. Then the question is, you come to the issue of Iraq and whether it can have a democratic election, and it strikes me, one of the most extraordinary phenomena of the last year or 2, in terms of democratic elections, is Indonesia, which has become, in terms of participation, the second-largest democracy in the world. In terms of population, it is the third, but it has greater participation in numbers than the United States of America.
And it raises a question about how long you need to put off the holding of elections in Iraq because it is not prepared, and my view isI am a democratic extremist. I believe you can hold them more rapidly than others. One of the aspects of the discussion of Iraq is that in Iraq they do not have voter registration rolls the way you need them, but, intriguingly, to me, in Indonesia one of the protections of the democratic process was the use of ink, where people dipped a finger in ink, and, I am told, were quite proud of that fact and did not wash their hands for days to show people they voted. And so does that become a technique replicable in Iraq, and should we have Indonesian monitors of the Iraqi election, and is that a model for Iraq, even though these are vastly different parts of the world? Dr. Ramage?
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Mr. RAMAGE. I have been happy to reside in Indonesia because it is about as far away from Iraq as you can go. Now you are forcing me to say something about Iraq.
We had a very interesting experience in the Indonesian election 2 weeks ago. There was a large group of election monitors from Afghanistan. We had discussed with some colleagues whether some observers might come from Iraq. They did not, to my knowledge, but a lot came from Afghanistan, and they were fascinated primarily by how quickly Indonesia could hold democratic elections after the fall of an authoritarian regime. This was precisely the basis of your question there. Suharto fell in May 1998, and Indonesians held democratic elections 13 months later, in June 1999, and they were very peaceful, as you know, and very orderly.
But I think the reason that it could be carried off so effectively in Indonesia, the biggest difference, I think, is that precisely because Indonesia was not a totalitarian state, and precisely because, for years before Suharto's fall, lots of Indonesians were already thinking and planning about what kind of an election system you should have once Suharto eventually died. So there was lots of discussion and planning and debate in Indonesia on what their democracy would look like; you just could not agitate for it in the streets, and you could not get political parties, but a lot of people talked about it, and the National Academy of Sciences did a plan on how people would vote and so on. So Indonesians were pretty much ready to go, if you will, when Suharto fell, and I am not certain if that is the case in Iraq. That might be a big difference.
Mr. LEACH. Public opinion polling in Iraq is very powerful on this. They want elections. I talked to one pollster in Iraq who is a psychologist who runs an institute there. He says that there is a little uncomfortableness with the word ''democracy'' because it is western, but if you ask people what they want, they all want democratic elections, and they are ready to go, and the question is process. So, psychologically, would Indonesians like to go to Iraq and help out in the holding of elections instead of holding-of-guns kind of way?
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Mr. RAMAGE. I imagine Indonesian election monitors, nongovernmental election observers, and voter educators will be thrilled to go to Iraq, but they might be concerned whether going to Iraq was under American auspices or not. They might want a wee bit of critical distance from a U.S. Government association, but I think you would find a very enthusiastic response on the part of Indonesiansespecially these Muslim organizations which monitored the Indonesian elections. They would probably be very keen on it.
Mr. LEACH. Dr. Weiss, you look eager to comment on this.
Ms. WEISS. Sure. A couple of things to add to Doug Ramage's comments. First, I believe it was the Asia Foundation that conducted voter education surveys before the initial post-transition, Indonesian elections in which it was an NGO-led effort for needs assessment prior to beginning a rather comprehensive campaign of civic education, which was a great program. There is a tremendous debate, another of these academic debates with real-world consequences, of whether democratic culture or democratic institutions needs to come first and whether democratic institutions can be used to develop a democratic culture.
A number of countries suggest that that can happen, but conducting significant and context-sensitive voter education is a critical part which can draw upon things like the Asia Foundation's experience, the CEVITAS initiative, which has been funded by the State Department for some time as well. The experience of the U.N. in Cambodia or East Timor is of creating a democracy from scratch. It took a couple of elections in Cambodia for one to be able to say that a degree of functioning democracy seems gradually to be catching on, but to some extent, that was more because of personality conflicts amongst the top leaders rather than a lack of democratic aspirations amongst the populace. People participated in elections. Hun Sen and Ranarridh could not seem to get along.
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The same is true in terms of a sudden onset of elections in Burma in 1988, in which you have a totalitarian state which has not experienced free elections since really the late 1950s in which the government opens it up for carefully controlled elections. There is massive popular participation, something like a 90-percent turnout, and overwhelming support for the opposition.
So, clearly, it is possible, even in the midst of a rather sudden transition, for elections to be held and reflect a real sentiment amongst the people that is pro-democratic. But what can make that a more sustainable process is a program of civic education, making sure that people understand what is meant by their vote and, as in Burma, for instance, there being an alternative leadership out there who seems worthy of support because, for instance, in Cambodia that was part of the problem. There were separate leaderships that were not willing to work together.
Mr. LEACH. Does anyone else wish to comment on this?
Mr. SIMONS. Then you have the Algerian problem, in other words, the problem of 1991. You had an election, again, in a country which had not had democratic politics or elections for a long time, and the prospect was of an overwhelming victory of radical Islamists. The ruling military then shut down the system and provoked a civil war, a savage civil war, tens of thousands of people with their throats cut, which lasted another 6 or 7 years.
So I am on your side. I think the solution to not enough democracy is not less democracy but more democracy, as a general proposition, but it is individual.
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Mr. Chairman, if I could elaborate a little bit on a point that Dr. Weiss made about the economic context. Could I do that?
Mr. LEACH. Of course.
Mr. SIMONS. Because I think it is a more general point. Her point was that governments which feel themselves under economic pressure tend to feel themselves under pressure also to democratize or to allow a development of civil society. It seems to me that that is a more general point that is going on in the Islamic world, but especially its Arab core, since about 1990 because two things have been happening since 1990. First, the cold war ended, which made it more and more difficult to extract these rents from the cold war protagonists. The Soviet Union just disappeared. We became less interested.
The second thing that is happening is the transition to private direct foreign investment as a basis for growth and the end of official assistance that characterized the cold war and the fact that in order to compete, economies need to be more open, more adept at information means that private, direct foreign investment is now the key to growth, and these antiquated, state-run economies do not attract that kind of investment without economic reforms, which then lead to the demand for political reforms, and that is a quandary across the whole area, and it is one that will not disappear; it is likely to get worse.
I would even say to my friend, Ambassador Haqqani, that Pakistan is also in that situation. Pakistan will never again get the kind of official assistance that it got during the cold war. In order to attract foreign investment, it requires some stabilization of the law-and-order situation, but it also requires economic reforms, and that is the origin of consistent pushing for economic reform under every government, civilian and military, since 1988. That will continue because that is in the structure of the world we live in. I think that that is actually a positive element when we are dealing with the prospects for democratization because the governments themselves are under pressure, first, for economic reform and then for the kinds of political structural reform needed to support it and draw foreign investment. Thank you.
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Mr. LEACH. Well, thank you very much. Did you want to comment? Anyone else?
Mr. LEACH. Tom, did you have any further questions?
Mr. LEACH. Well, I am just left with one, what I think is a self-apparent conclusion, and that is that Ambassador Simons ought to come out of retirement. I think two American witnesses ought to go into the Foreign Service, and I think, Ambassador Haqqani, you ought to join our country and go into our Foreign Service as well, and we would have a better world. In any regard, you do not need to do that, Doctor.
I want to thank you all for outstanding testimony. This Committee is very appreciative. I apologize. This is an extraordinary circumstance, time of the year. The Ranking Member is in Tahiti today and had a hard time getting back in time for this hearing. I want to thank you all, and this hearing record will be made available to the full Committee as well. Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 4:01 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
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Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DAN BURTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF INDIANA
Mr. Chairman, thank you for convening this hearing today to discuss the role of Islam in Asia. I look forward to the panel testimony and hearing about some of the challenges facing the people of Asia as they come to terms with globalization, political reform and other expanding freedoms. As we begin today I am mindful that our friends in Asia often counsel us not to view Islam too narrowly. Many fear that we are misinterpreting Islamic values and that we are underestimating the power of a large, tolerant, moderate Islamic community in Asia. Our understanding of the role Islam plays in the countries of Asia is integral to shaping our foreign policy in the region.
I have heard many Asia scholars discuss the struggle for identity within the Muslim community. In recent months I have been encouraged by religious tolerance and pluralism in the world's largest predominantly Muslim countryIndonesia. Together with Congressman Wexler, I have established the Congressional Indonesia Caucus to bring much needed attention to this important country and partner in Asia. Islam is a thriving religion and in Indonesia we see that it is compatible with democracy. I recognize the important contributions USAID is making to strengthen moderate Islamic civil society organizations and I appreciate the impact of programs coordinated by the Asia Foundation and other US NGOs in the region.
After observing historic direct presidential elections in Indonesia earlier this month, former President Jimmy Carter said: ''It is no small coincidence that the three largest democracies on the planet are anchored in countries with predominantly Hindu (India), Christian (USA), and Islamic (Indonesia) religious traditions proving the compatibility of democracy with these great religions.'' Most Muslims in Asia are traditionally tolerant and inclusive, and tend to vote for secular political parties. Democracy will flourish in Asia when there is support from the Islamic community and when the values of democracy are seen as compatible with Islamic doctrine.
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Southeast Asia, home to more than 250 million Muslims, is threatened not only by Al-Qaida but also by regional terrorist organizations such as the Jemaah Islamiyah. The nations of East Asia had a wake-up call with the Bali bombings and the JW Marriott bombing in Jakarta. There are well-documented links between Southeast Asian terrorists and their counterparts inside and outside the region. Jemaah Islamiyah has been disrupted through enhanced intelligence, law enforcement, financial and, in some cases, military cooperation with our partners in East Asia.
Australia, China and Japan have made significant contributions to the global campaign against terrorism. Japan continues to back the international war against terrorism and supports our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Japan is a major contributor to reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq. Japan is also a partner in freezing and disrupting the flow of terrorists' assets. Australian troops have fought side by side with American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and Australia contributes personnel and funds for Iraq's stabilization and reconstruction. Australia has also assumed an important role in combating terrorism in Southeast Asia, strengthening police, customs, immigration and intelligence capabilities. We have worked with China on sharing counter-terrorism information and blocking the flow of terrorist finances by designating terrorists and terrorist organizations under the appropriate UN resolutions. China has a growing awareness of the terrorist threat and our joint efforts against this threat have built trust and strengthened our relations.
Singapore and Malaysia have been effective in their pursuit of terrorists. Malaysia hosts a regional counter-terrorism center and has detained nearly 100 members of the Jemaah Islamiyah and other terrorist organizations. But less than one year ago, former prime minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, used the occasion of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to stoke the flames of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel, closing a long career in public service colored with similar rhetoric throughout. This was deplorable and fellow sponsors of H. Res 409 expect to see more enlightened attitudes now in Kuala Lumpur.
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Singapore has thwarted Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists planning attacks against U.S., Singaporean and other interests. Singapore was the first Asian port to implement the Container Security Initiative, allowing U.S.-bound cargo to be pre-inspected and cleared. Thailand has followed suit and has made a number of key arrests disrupting regional terrorist operations. The Thai government has passed tough anti-terrorism legislation and amendments to its anti-money laundering law and has dispatched soldiers to both Afghanistan and Iraq.
South Asia: Since September 11, 2001, South Asia has been a particular focus of U.S. foreign policy. There are conditions in South Asia that create fertile ground for the rise of even more radical political ideologies, groups, and activities than Al Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist networks. South Asia is the only place left in the world where two nuclear-armed countries stand poised to go to war. The stand-off between Pakistan and India has been an issue that I've been personally involved with for many, many years. On May 12th of this year, I chaired the first and only Congressional hearing to examine in depth the egregious human rights violations taking place in Kashmir. Along with Congresswoman Jackson Lee, I have established the Congressional Pakistan Caucus to develop long term political and security relationships between the United States and Pakistan and to improve Pakistan's relationship with India and its neighbors in order to create a comprehensive peace plan for South Asia.
There are many Muslims in Asia who view globalization as contributing to social ills and being disadvantageous to their interests. There are many factors working against the institutionalization and consolidation of democracy in Asia: poverty, lack of education, lack of opportunities, corruption, lack of confidence in government.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am often asked how the United States can best achieve its objectives in Asia. I believe the United States and our allies and partners in Asia need to continue to strengthen regional stability. By embracing open borders and free markets, the countries in Asia will define the shape of globalization there. Institutionalizing new political freedoms, strengthening rule of law, and democratic processes are important elements of the transition and the United States should support these trends. Throughout Asia we need to encourage governments to cooperate with each other and with us against terrorism. Bilaterally and multilaterally we need to continue sharing intelligence and provide and coordinate training, as well as other essential resources in the war on terrorism. I believe it is entirely possible to crack down on terrorism in concert with our partners in Asia and reassure our friends in the Muslim world of America's commitment to their welfare. There is no room for intolerance. Respect for the rule of law, religious freedom and human rights are all cornerstones of social development and consistent with the teachings of Islam.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE GREGORY W. MEEKS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Chairman, I'd like to thank you and our Ranking Member for holding today's hearing. With so much focus on the Middle East, it would be a serious mistake for us to lose sight of the need for our continued involvement in the rest of the world, and especially, Asia.
Both Indonesia and India boast the world's largest democracies. Both countries also are home to a significant population of Muslims, with Indonesia's population being the largest in the world. The ability of these countries to host democracies, albeit with some growth spurts, helps to demonstrate that Islam is not incompatible with democracy.
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Indonesia is taking huge steps in establishing a pluralistic democracy, a task that is not simple, especially since the transition has arrived from colonial and authoritarian rule. For this reason it is important that we acknowledge Indonesia's accomplishments and the goal to which it aspires.
It also means that if we are truly serious about supporting other democracies, we must begin to better understand and respect how democracies may operate in a Muslim culture.
I understand that Asia is currently undergoing Islamic resurgence; in part due to the economic alienation and malaise as well as the lack of effective political participation that has motivated many Asian Muslims to resort to radical thought. When dealing with a people, any people, who have nothing to lose, their measures to rectify their situation, will be desperate. America can assist in easing this state by working harder to alleviate the socio-economic situation that has prevented wide access to civic participation, education, and other opportunities that would allow for other solutions.
We must do more to model the tenets of democracy such that we are something that others would want to emulate. Presently, our war against terror is leading us to overlook and undermine the strides that some countries have made. Instead of using our experiences from the civil rights movement and other growth spurts in our history to recognize the processes that a democracy must go through in order to grow and strengthen itself, we are defining our relationships primarily through the lens of the war against terror.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is allowing us to view those that practice Islam as extremists and terrorists, though countries with significant Muslim populations have been our allies. We all know that Malaysia hosts the Southeast Asia Regional Counterterrorism center, has cracked down on nuclear weapons proliferation, and called for suicide bombings to end. Other ASEAN countries with significant Muslim populations, like Singapore are allowing our military access to their bases and ports. The work of these governments and others in stopping JI plots cannot simply be discounted simply because they are home to Muslim populations.
As we discuss Islam in Asia today, I hope that we can be mindful of the great assistance that our allies in ASEAN and other parts of Asia have provided us with in the war against terror. I also hope that we can begin to craft a true plan of engagement that will allow us to meet our security concerns, while strengthening our economic and social relationships.
(Footnote 1 return)
Modernist'' and ''traditionalist'' are problematic but widely used labels to describe the two main ''streams'' of Islam in Indonesia. The terms are used here largely because these are the labels most commonly used by Indonesian Muslims themselves. ''Modernists'' refer to largely urban-based, ''secularly'' educated Muslims, who refer only to the Koran and speech and behavior of the Prophet Muhammad (the hadist) for divine guidance, while ''traditionalists'' are largely rural-based Muslims, who adhere to decisions of ulama from the classical era, as handed down within the four primary Sunni schools of thought (the madzhab).
(Footnote 2 return)
In this testimony the term ''secularism'' is used in the way most Americans understand it, which refers to a politically secular society, rather than a society completely devoid of religious belief. It is important to note, however, that the latter understanding of the term is one which most Indonesians hold; hence the term carries a negative connotation in Indonesia. Indonesians are proud of their deeply religious society, while at the same time the vast majority do not want to see the state regulating religious belief.
(Footnote 3 return)
Pesantren are Islamic academies, or Islamic boarding schools, which provide a mix of religious and secular education at the primary and secondary levels. In addition, pesantren are the sites for the production of Islamic knowledge and thinking, and often serve as the hub of the community in a society which is deeply religious.
(Footnote 4 return)
In an effort to avoid reinforcing the association between Islam and militancy and further, terrorism, I would like to distinguish between Islamism, and radicalism, which can give rise to militancy, which in turn can result in terrorism. ''Islamism'' is a term which generally refers to the movement towards formalistic and legalistic application of Islamic law within a society, and also generally includes an effort to distance Islamic societies from western ''domination''. Radicalismthe effort to achieve Islamist goals outside of democratic political processes, and militancythe use of violence to achieve Islamist goals, fall under the broad category of Islamism, BUT, there are also many Islamist groups who strongly reject the use of violence to achieve the Islamicization of society, and many who channel their efforts through the democratic process.
(Footnote 5 return)
During the last ten years of Sukarno's rule, the military gained dominance by quashing both the ''extreme left'' (Communists) and ''extreme right'' (Islamists). This military brought Suharto to power, and he skillfully maintained authoritarian control by playing off these two forces against each other. Thus, for at least 3 decades, any form of criticism was quickly labeled either Communism or Islamism and subsequently suppressed. Hence, a whole generation of Indonesians learned not to express dissent, criticism, or controls on the state in any form.
(Footnote 6 return)
There are a wide range of estimates on the number of pesantren in Indonesia, from a range of sources. For example, in 1997, the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) stated that there were 9388 pesantren, but by 2002, it was officially citing 14,000 as the figure. An independent study sponsored by MORA, however, put the number at 12,828 in 2002. Meanwhile, Maarif NU, NU's education unit, corroborates the 14,000 figure. The MORA figures probably refer only to pesantren registered with MORA, and there is no consensus or data on how many pesantren are unregistered.
(Footnote 7 return)
''Jemaah Islamiyah in Southeast Asia: Damaged but Still Dangerous,'' Sidney Jones, International Crisis Group, August 2003, p. 26.
(Footnote 8 return)
Joint Statement between the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia, 22 October 2003
(Footnote 9 return)
In 1999 and 2004, domestic election monitoring efforts were supported by USAID and AusAID respectively.