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4 Buildings on Fire Church Burnings, Riots, and Election Violence, 1995-1997 The ambiguity and tension inherent in the position of those claiming to represent Islam within the political class in the Indonesia of the middle to late 1990s stemmed from three fundamental problems. First, the ascendancy of a modernist Muslim network, associated with ICMI and Habibie within the political class, ran up against the competing interests and built-in advantages of the Suharto family itself-most notably Suharto's favorite daughter, Siti Rukmana Hardiyanti, better known simply as Mbak Tutut. Over the course of the late 1980s, Suharto's children had begun to emerge as a major force in the business world, their vast, diversified conglomerates enjoying unparalleled access to state loans, contracts, monopoly franchises, and regulatory and tax breaks. By the early to middle 1990s a few of the Suharto children had also won seats on the governing board of Golkar and begun to lobby for their own minions and allies in the parliament, the armed forces, and the cabinet. Meanwhile, their huge conglomerates continued to capture the juiciest state contracts and monopoly concessions, as the announcement in 1996 of Tommy Suharto's "national car" project amply attested. So long as Suharto was president, his children would remain entrenched at the pinnacle of New Order power. Thus the final years of the Suharto era witnessed the intensification and escalation of tensions between the Suharto family and those ascendant modernist Muslim elements of the political class disappointed if not embittered by the remaining constraints placed on their accumulation of financial , industrial, and political capital. With urban middle-class Muslims grumbling about the onerous tariffs slapped on imported automobiles to protect Tommy Suharto's mostly Korean-produced national car, Amien 68 Buildings on Fire 69 Rais, chairman of the country's leading modernist Islamic association Muhammadiyah and himself a prominent member of ICMI, launched a public broadside against the Suharto family's business interests, using revelations that surfaced in a series of well-publicized business scandals as the basis for a set of acerbic speeches, articles, and books that led to his forced resignation from the governing board of ICMI.1 Meanwhile, jockeying for position within the Suharto regime intensified with the approach of the 1997 elections, the 1998 session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) to "elect" the president and vice president, and the approaching moment of suksesi (succession) from Suharto to a new president and, perhaps, a new kind of regime. Second, and at the same time, the claims by modernist Muslim members of the political class to represent Islam and to capture the popular energies long suppressed with the demolition of the PKI and the disappearance of the Rakyat from official discourse ran up against challenges from below. "Islam," after all, was an overly ambitious banner in a nation boasting the single largest Muslim population and the most popular nongovernmental Islamic organizations in the world. With their long histories, deep roots in society, and widely divergent theological, institutional, and social underpinnings , NU and Muhammadiyah could hardly be so easily captured-or their leaders co-opted-by an ICMI-based network emanating from the state. In particular, ICMI faced strident and vocal opposition from Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), the chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, who had withdrawn NU from PPP in the mid-1980s and worked to forge close ties with Catholic businessmen and secular NGOs in Jakarta, as well as American and European foundations promoting liberal multiculturalism in Indonesia . In general, the considerable autonomy of associationallife and the great plurality of views long found in the Indonesian Islamic community made the creation and enforcement of a hegemonic, state-based Islam a very difficult project. Beyond the realm of Islamic educational institutions and associational activities, moreover, workers, villagers, and poor urban kampung dwellers were showing ample evidence of capacity for popular mobilization under decidedly nonreligious banners. With industrialization and urbanization came rising numbers of wildcat strikes, land disputes, and incidents of football hooliganism, plus protests over evictions, environmental problems, and the marginalization of street hawkers, market stall vendors, and small shop owners by the new department stores, supermarkets, and shopping malls appearing on urban landscapes in towns and cities around the country .2 A fine local example of these broad trends was the series of mass actions witnessed in 1995 in Pasuruan (the East Javanese town allegedly the 70 Riots, Pogroms, jihad inspiration for Louis Couperus's depiction of Labuwangi in his novel The Hidden Force nearly a...


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MARC Record
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