Does Islam as a system of beliefs or as a political force have something\ud positive to contribute to the hoped-for democratisation of Indonesia, or\ud will it largely be an impediment and a threat to the emergence of an\ud open society? Many participants in the political process have strong\ud opinions on these questions. There are those who argue — and not\ud without some justification — that reformist political Islam represents\ud the only significant alternative to the patrimonial, authoritarian and\ud corrupt political culture pervading almost all parties and thereby is the\ud country’s only hope for democracy. Others — and these include many\ud committed Muslims besides secular nationalists and non-Muslims —\ud fear that the Muslim ambition of turning Indonesia into an Islamic state\ud is perhaps the most serious threat the country is presently facing, the\ud more so since radical Muslim groups appear to be courted by powergreedy\ud military and civilian elite factions. There is a widespread and\ud understandable fear of resurgent political Islam — but this resurgent\ud political Islam is itself in large measure a response to another perceived\ud threat, the fear that Islam’s very presence in Indonesia is being\ud threatened
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