Oleh: Ahmad Syafii Maarif
When the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, the dramatic event was celebrated as the beginning of a new world order. It was expected that the world, after being freed from ideological conflict between two superpowers, would be a better and a more peaceful place to live. Such confidence in a better and more peaceful world, however, soon proved to be short-lived. When the world began to witness the intensification of other types of conflicts, previously swept under the rug of superpower rivalry during the Cold War era, a new pessimism began to creep in. The world began to see the frenzy of murders in countries plagued with ethnic and religious conflicts, the growing trend of ethno-nationalism, and the increase of incidents of trans-national crimes, as "new" types of threats to world order. The post Cold War's confidence in a better world was shaken further when Professor Samuel Huntington declared that the coming conflict will be fought along civilisation's fault lines: between Islam and the West and between Confucianism and the West.
Questions began to be asked in, the
As Islam in Southeast Asia is part of the global Islamic ummah, despite its differences and similarities with that of in the
This paper sets out to examine four main questions. First, how has globalisation affected Muslims in
Challenges of Globalisation:
The Predicament of Southeast Asian Muslims
Globalisation, in economic sense, has been characterised as “the widening and deepening of international flows of trade, finance and information in a single, integrated global market". It has both positive and negative sides, and also its winners and losers. On the positive sides, it has been argued that the average economic growth rates in countries that take part in the process of globalisation, especially by opening up their economies, had increased from 2.9 percent in the 1970s to 3.5 percent in the 1980s and 5 percent in the 1990s. Meanwhile, those countries not globalising saw a decline in their economic growth from 3.3 percent per year in 1970s to 0.8 percent in the 1980s, recovering to only 1.4 percent in 1990s. It has also presented developing nations with new economic opportunities, primarily through the influx of foreign direct investment which often, but not always, open wider access towards technology, science, and knowledge. During the height of economic growth in
The central issue here, however, is not the positive side of globalisation. The problem lies in the negative side of it, and it is towards the dark side of globalisation that individuals, communities, and nations in postcolonial world, including the Muslim world, have expressed their discontents. At the global level alone, globalisation has been blamed for the widening of the poverty and income gap. Globalisation has also been singled out as the reason for the growing disparity between the rich and poor from 30:1 in 1960 to 60:1 in 1990, and 74:1 in 1997. While a few hundreds people enjoy the status as billionaires, more than 1.2 billion individuals around the world still earn less than US$1 a day, with 0.5 billion others, live in extreme poverty. When the developed world, which only has 22 percent of world's population, consumes 70 percent of total world resources, the contrast between the winners and losers in the globalisation game could not have been more striking.
Globalisation and the Plight of the Deprived Muslims
Within the Muslim community in
Such feeling and suspicion has not developed in a vacuum. Nor does it emerge out of an inherent and embedded belief in the incompatibility between Islam and the West. It emerges out of a specific social, political, economic, and historical context primarily within domestic political order, and also within the global order. In
At the other end of the reality, they are presented with a new way of life on daily basis, performed unashamedly by "the new rich," the benefactors of globalisation. While few hundreds parents send their children abroad for better education, tens of millions others are still struggling to buy even a simple book for their children. When some of these "New Rich" insist to send their children to best hospitals around the world even when they catch a simple flu, millions of other parents can only pray and watch their children lying on the simple wooden beds helplessly, fighting to recover from all kind of serious diseases due to sustained malnutrition. Millions of Muslims cannot understand why hedonism and consumerism, with all its consequences for morality and ethics, are allowed to flourish unabated by the state.
In that context, globalisation has come to the be seen as a direct challenge, if not an assault, not only to the identity and way of life of a community, but also to the very existence of that community itself. The forces of change, which sweep before their eyes and infiltrate their private and public live, have not always been easy to be understood and comprehended, let alone controlled. When the, imperative of change becomes, a dominant and intimidating narrative, presents itself as an inevitable phenomena, and leaves no alternative but to be on board or left behind, the capacity of some people to make an informed choice is significantly reduced in the absence of a level playing field between the privileged and the deprived in the society. When the pressures grow stronger in the absence of globalisation's real progress for the deprived, they soon feel confused, alienated, and forced into a "precarious retreat."
In such circumstances, a chain of self-transformation, that forces an individual to question his/her rights and place within the society, is in order. First, when the deprived see that the state and the government have not come to their defence, they feel abandoned. Second, when they see the problem becomes a waiting game without a clear end, they get frustrated and plunge into despair. Third, when they see the state becomes an accomplice in maintaining the uneven progress between the privileged and the deprived, they get angry. Confusion, frustration, despair, and anger would soon find its expression in many forms, some through violent means, initially aimed at what they see as injustice, moral decadence, and religious bankruptcy within a domestic order. When this process takes place on a collective basis, then what you have is a breeding ground for growing radicalism in the society. In such society, religion -indeed any religion -is often seen as a refuge, as a source for an alternative mode of defence mechanism against the effects of modernity and the janus face of globalisation. Here, the state often comes in as catalyst that forces the deprived to resort to violent acts through regime’s policy of repressing political dissent and denying political participation.
What Went Wrong
Here, it is almost a cliché to say that the sources of problems faced by any society are in fact both exogenous and indigenous. However, one of the greatest problems faced by some within the Muslim community in
The second problem is the preoccupation of some elements in the Muslim world with a historical exercise that rejects all aspects of the so-called “modernity project” -including democracy, human rights, state based on rule of law, and nation-state-- on the basis of a strong belief that Islam is consisted of a unique and comprehensive social-political System. The arguments that Islam is not compatible with democracy would certainly sustain the irony of injustice, corruption, oppression, despotism, and authoritarianism so pervasive in many parts of the Muslim world. In the hands of the advocates of incompatibility between Islam and democracy, Islam has become an excuse to preserve despotism in the name of religion. Islam, if one looks at both the Qur'an and Hadiths, is full with references to the principles of democracy and pluralism, and the importance of human rights. Islam strongly emphasises the principles of nasiha (advice), shura (consultation), ikhtilaf (airing and resolving disagreements), tasamuh (tolerance) and hisbah (public accountability and ombudsmanship) in governing the relationships between the ruler and the ruled; all refer to what we now call democracy. In fact, Islam even teaches that a Muslim should accept an atheist as his/her neighbour. Unfortunately, some in West also dismiss the possibility for the compatibility between Islam and the idea of freedom. According to Der Spiegel, for example, "freedom of thought is, like every other human rights in Islam, unIslamic. "
The third problem is the obsession with the glorious past. In responding to the challenges of globalisation, there is a tendency within the Muslim community to engage in excessive exercise of romanticising the past. The glorious Islamic past (from 8th to 13th centuries) is not seen through a critical lenses, often dismissing the fact that, internally, the Islamic civilisation during this period did not demonstrate the presence of political justice, and in fact was often marked by inter-dynastic rivalry that led to the destruction of the civilisation itself. At the present, Islam still lacks a conscious and coordinated movement aimed at reformulating its understanding of doctrine in a fundamental way. There is a need for the Muslims to engage in an all-encompassing attempt to reformulate its theology, philosophy, Sufism, law system, social principles, economy, politics science and knowledge, and art with the Qur'an as the most importance and highest reference. Few realises that a new Islamic civilisation will stay as an utopia if the Muslims have not changed its attitude towards a positive, creative, and dynamic one in coping with the world marked by rapid change.
When such problems are matched with the unfortunate place of Islam in the psychological ream of the West, the seeds for misunderstandings and mutual opposition would continue to bloom. Islam is still, and increasingly so in the aftermath of September 11, primarily framed in contested terms such as militant Islam, fundamentalist Islam, Islamic bombs, Islamic fanatics, or Islamic terrorism. Here, globalisation, despite its promises for an increasingly more open and borderless world, also has its mystery. Despite its central role in spearheading the process of globalisation, with unlimited and unrestricted access to information facilitated by the revolution in information technology (IT), Islam strangely remains largely a realm of "the unknown” to the West. The implosion of IT, and enhanced interaction between Islam and the West, has not yet removed the habit of stereotyping Islam so prevalent in some quarters in the West.
The image of Islam as a violent religion posing an eternal threat to Western civilisation, more so since September 11, can easily be found even in the educated minds among the Westerners. The unfortunate remarks by Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, who claimed Western civilisation far more superior than that of Islam, clearly demonstrate the magnitude of this problem. As a scholar has aptly noted, "...today we are witnessing the creation of a new myth. The impeding confrontation between Islam and the West is presented as part of an historical pattern of Muslim belligerency and aggression …" Indeed, the growing feeling of disenfranchisement, resentment, and despair among some Muslims and the continuing reluctance to learning and understanding more about Islam in some quarters in the West proves to be mutually reinforcing in a negative way. It is like adding the dry grass to the fire.
The resurgence of Islamic movements in many parts of the Muslim world should be understood within this context. Indeed, it has been pointed out that the basic concerns of past Muslim leaders and thinkers -such as Abu A'la Maududi and Muhammad Iqbal in Pakistan, Muhammad Abduh and Hassan AI-Bana in Egypt, and Ali Shariati in Iran -"'were how to solve the pervasive sense of disenfranchisement that engulfed ordinary Muslims as they grappled with the forces of change." In contemporary context, such concerns remain at the core of the struggle for justice in many parts of Muslim world. It is also the concern being shared and experienced by millions of Muslims in Southeast Asia, especially in
The Case of
Understanding and Coping With Radicalism
As mentioned earlier, globalisation, for many Indonesian Muslims, has its positive and negative sides. The outbreak of the worst economic crisis in decades clearly demonstrates
How do we understand the so-call phenomena of “Islamic radicalism” in the country in relations to the effects of globalisation? What are the efforts undertaken to remedy the situation? The picture, on balance, is not radically different from other parts of the Muslim world in general, and in
However, it should be noted that greater attention to the religious radicalism in
No one denies the existence of radical groups in
In the context of growing radicalism in Indonesia, Muhammadiyah (the second largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia) has set for itself the task of revealing the real face of Islam and its adherents in Indonesia as the most populous Muslim country in the world. This task becomes a pressing one as there is still deep misunderstanding and misperceptions among those who believe that the radical Muslims represent the entire Muslim community in Indonesia. In this context, it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that radical and extremist Islam is not the mainstream movement in
It is also equally important, however, to understand why radicalism emerged here in
In the short-term, their actions might appear fruitful but certainly not in the long-term. It is therefore very dangerous if one idealises their actions. Militancy is always dangerous as it always views things through a pair of black, and white spectacles. Moreover, such radical and militant actions could harm the image of Islam as a peace-loving religion that preaches tolerance and civil ways of solving problems. Al-Qur’an clearly obliges all Muslims to “Invite to goodness, to enjoin equity and to forbid evil."(QS. 3: 104), but they are also reminded, "Call unto the way of Allah with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and contend with them on the basis of that which is best." (QS. 16: 125). In that context, it is the duty of Muhammadiyah in particular, and Indonesian Muslims in general, to create a more loving and peaceful peace of Islam through their religious and cultural da'wah (propagations).
Pathways to the Future:
Towards Cooperative Peaceful Co-Existence
For Muslims the world over, the issue is not whether Islam should oppose globalisation or accept it. The real issue is how to manage globalisation so that its positive aspects can be maximised and the negative ones minimised, if not eliminated. This requires a critical thinking and attitude in responding to globalisation. Yusuf Qardhawi a leading Muslim scholar has noted that Islam should take a middle way, namely, taking the positive sides of globalisation, and leaving its negative ones. Failure to do this surely invites troubles. In this context, it is of paramount importance for us to understand that the failed development policies of the pro-globalisation regimes, endemic corruption, structural poverty, bad governance and crisis of legitimacy serve as the root-cause for the growth of radicalism among the urban and lower classes.
As challenges confronting both the Islamic community and the West are rapidly becoming more complex due to globalisation, then it is imperative for both sides to initiate a joint effort to search for the pathways to the future. A number of points need to be stressed in this regard. First, this endeavour requires a strong political will on both sides to see the merits of constructive engagement with each other in order to forge a cooperative peaceful co-existence. That would require a harder work on both sides to establish mutual understanding and mutual respect, as the basis for cooperation, through a reinterpretation of history of relationship between the two. History has been too often used and abused to sustain mutual suspicion and enmity on both sides. This requires the return of history into its rightful place. A leading Muslim scholar, Muhammad Arkoun, has reminded us that "historians particularly must continue to struggle relentlessly to mitigate the ravaging effects of all official historiographies placed at the service of the will for power.”
Second, Islam and the West should begin to work together and step up their efforts to address the down sides of globalisation. Both parties should eliminate injustices, poverty, prejudices, practices of discrimination, and all forms of evil acts at national and global levels. For Muslims, the requirement for active participation in correcting such condition has been clearly spelled out by Prophet Muhammad, who said "when you see an evil act you have to stop it with your hand. If you can’t, then at least speak out against it with your tongue. If you can't, then at least you have to hate it with all your heart. And this is the weakest of faith" (Sahih Muslin Book. 1, Number 79). This common endeavour can begin with the awareness of both sides to emphasise similarities rather than differences. Continuous dialogue is one way through which both worlds can invoke similarities, rather differences, as the basis for a constructive peaceful-co-existence.
Of course, there are those, both within the Muslim community and the community of the West, who do not believe in dialogue. In the West, for example, the resistance to dialogue is clearly exemplified in such remarks that claim "the West will continue to conquer peoples, even if it means a confrontation with another civilisation, Islam, firmly entrenched where it was 1400 years ago." Within Islam, as Yusuf Qardhawi has admitted, "there are Muslim extremists who claim that there are no common grounds between us and Christians and Jews." And, as he has asserted, "this is a wrong understanding of the Islamic viewpoint." Islam strongly believes in. the value of dialogue. The Qur’an is full of reference to dialogues, and "even with Satan, God Almighty holds dialogue."
Third, a world comprised of different streams of culture and civilisations should not, and need not, be resisted. One world, in the sense of uniformity, would certainly be a very boring place to live. Plurality, and civil ways in managing differences within that plurality, would demonstrate the true meaning of civilisation. Indeed, for Muslims, such a world is not without purpose. As revealed in The Qur’an, "0 people! We have formed you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another" (QS: 49:13) Difference according to the Qur'an is not only to be tolerated and accepted. It is to be celebrated as the object of creation itself. Again, the Holy Qur'an also notes “And had your Lord so willed, He could surely have made the whole mankind one single community, but He willed it otherwise, and so they continue to differ save among those on whom God has bestowed his grace and for this He has created them “ (QS.11: 118). In other words, the celebration of differences in Islam is clearly reflected in the emphasis on the concept of atta'aruf or acquaintance.
Four, a better and more fruitful way towards the future lies in the willingness of both Islam and the West to move beyond the current impasse in their understanding of each other. On the one hand, to echo the call by Ismail Ragi Al-Faruqi, Islamic activism should be prepared to move beyond opposition to implementation. It is no longer enough to decry what one is against. While it is still important to proclaim what one is for, the time has come to craft specific and concrete plans in order to build a bridge between the Muslim world and the West, between the Muslim world and the Rests. On the other hand, the West and the Rests should move beyond their current preoccupation with the notion of Islam as a "'threat" or "'terror" and be prepared to see and understand Islam with all its complexity and plurality. As Edward Said has said, "Demonisation of the other is not a sufficient basis for any kind of decent politics, certainly not now when the roots of terror in injustice can be addressed, and the terrorists isolated, deterred or put out of business." Through this willingness to learn about each other in a honest way, a mutually constructive engagement between Islam and the West should not be too difficult to achieve. The creation of a relationships characterised by cooperative peaceful co-existence between the two great civilisations would not be an utopia.
 See, for example, James F. Hoge, Jr. and Gideon Rose, eds., How Did This Happen?: Terrorism and the New War (
 Strobe Talbot and Nayan Chanda, "Introduction," in Strobe Talbot and Nayan Chanda, eds, The Age of terror: America and, the World After September 11 (New York: Basic Book, 2001), P. xi.
 Fareed Zakaria, "Why They Hate
 Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response. (
 Lyall Breckon, "Solid in Support of the
 UNDP Human Development Report 1997 (Oxford: Oxford University Press for UNDP, 1997) p.82.
 Paul Blustein, "Cause, Effect and the Wealth of Nations,” The
 Suara Karya, 12 March 1997
 Over the last few years, the general discontent against globalisation has been increasingly expressed also in part of developed world. Antiglobalisation protests have always marked economic gatherings of leader of the developed worlds; and also in the WTO meetings.
 Lyonpo Jigmy Thinley "Globalisation: A Views From
 See my argument in Ahmad Syafii Maarif, Membumikan Islam [Bringing Islam to Earth] (yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 1,09,5), P. 95.
 Ibid., p.96.
 I Stress this point in my interview, Tempo, 11 November 2001
 Quoted in Andrea Lueg, 'The Perception of Islam in Western Debate," in Jochen Hippler ans Andrea Lueg, eds., The Next threat: Western Perceptions of Islam (London: Pluto Press,1995),p.22
 For further discussion on this point, see A. Syafii Maarif, Independensi Muhammadiyah Di Tengah Pergumulan Pemikiran Islam dan Politik [Muhammadiyah's Independency Amids The Struggle Between Islamic Taught and Politics] (
 John L. Esposito, "Clash of Civilizations? Contemporary Images of Islam in the West," in Gema Martin Munoz, ed., Islam Modernism, and The West (
 Hussin Mutalib, "Beyond, Pride and Prejudice: Western Perceptions of Islam and the Muslims," in Zafar Ishaq Ansari and John L. Esposito, eds., Muslim and the Wes:, Encounter and Dialogue (
 The next three paragraphs are drawn from author's interview with The Jakarta Post, 26 2002
 Yusuf Al-Qardhawi, Islam dan Globalisasi Dunia, Indonesian trans (Jakarta AI-Kautsar,
2001), p. 141.
 Mohammed Arkoun, 'History as an Ideology of Legitimation: A Comparative Approach in Islamic and European Context," in Munoz, ed., Islam Modernism and the West, p, 37
 Yusuf al-Qardhawi, "Why Muslim and Christian Scholars Come Together,” Speech delivered at Islamic-Christian Summit, Rome, 3-4 October 2001.
 A brief description on the thinkings of Ismail Ragi AI-Faruki can be found in John L. Esposito and John 0.Voll, Makers of contemporary Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), Chapter 1, p. 31.
 Edward Said. "Islam and The West. Are Inadequate Banners," The Guardian, 16 September 2001