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07JAKARTA882 2007-03-27 07:17:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Jakarta
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DE RUEHJA #0882/01 0860717
R 270717Z MAR 07
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 JAKARTA 000882 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/27/2012


Classified By: Political Officer Catherine E. Sweet, Reason 1.4(d)

1. (C) Summary. On February 28-March 1, poloffs traveled to
Bandung, West Java, the wellspring of Indonesia's hard-line
"tarbiyah" student movement, which is modeled after the
Muslim Brotherhood and originated there in the 1970s. The
development of the tarbiyah movement arguably brought about a
shift in Muslim students' self-identification away from
Indonesia-specific groups and toward a general "Muslim"
identity, which has made international issues affecting
Muslims take on greater relevance among Muslim students in
Indonesia. Muslim radicals, although strong on campus, are
still a small percentage of Indonesia's overall Muslim
population; they are also fractured, competing with one
another for supporters. However, our contacts suggested that
if an issue were to emerge that could unite these fractious
student groups (most likely an international one like Iraq or
Arab-Israeli conflicts), it could spell trouble. This cable
profiles a number of important tarbiyah (LDK/LDF, KAMMI, PII)
and non-tarbiyah (Hizbut Tahrir, PERSIS, HMI, PMII) groups on
campus. According to faculty contacts, tarbiyah groups have
used mandatory university religion classes, campus mosques
and prayer halls, permanent and visiting faculty positions,
and financial support to recruit supporters. Paradoxically,
radical Muslim groups are strongest at secular, not Islamic,
universities. End Summary.

Bandung: College Town in Radical Islam's Heartland



2. (C) On February 28-March 1, poloffs traveled to Bandung,
West Java, the wellspring of Indonesia's hard-line Muslim
"tarbiyah" student movement. The tarbiyah (Arabic for
education) phenomenon originated in this university town
during the 1970s, at a time when the Suharto regime was
clamping down on political opposition, particularly on
university campuses. As religion became as the last realm
untouchable by the state, many students sought refuge in
Islam and campus mosques became a safe harbor for political
activism. The 1970s was also an era in which Indonesian
Islam became more internationalized or, more properly,
Arabized, as several factors converged: transnational
Islamist movements like Hizbut Tahrir began to take root;
conservative oil-producing Arab countries used their excess
petrodollars to export their interpretations of Islam; and
the Iranian revolution inspired Muslims to believe in the
transformative power of political Islam.

3. (SBU) Along with Yogyakarta further east, Bandung is one
of Indonesia's two most important university towns. While
Yogyakarta was the center for Indonesia's indigenous Muslim
movements, particularly mass-based organizations like
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, the tolerant,
syncretic form of Islam typical of East and Central Java has
helped checked the development of more hard-line Islamist
movements. Bandung, by contrast, is located in Indonesia's
radical Muslim heartland, West Java, the home of the Darul
Islam separatist movement and the province with which many of
Indonesia's modern terrorists have ties. With a dozen
universities and a predisposition toward supporting hard-line
Islamist ideology, Bandung offered the ideal medium for the
growth of radical student groups.

Tarbiyah Moveent and Muslim Student Politicization



4. (SB) The Salman mosque at the secular Bandung Institue
of Technology (ITB) is often identified as the birthplace of
"campus Islam" in Indonesia. Founded in the 1960s by
President Sukarno, himself an ITB alumnus, the mosque became
the locus of "dakwah," or proselytizing, activities in 1974.
That year, Imaduddin Abdul Rahim, the dakwah committee
chairman of the moderate Muslim Students' Association's
(HMI), broke with HMI and established his own organization at
the Salman mosque dedicated to providing "training for the
defenders of dakwah." Abdul Rahim's lectures drew heavily on
the Muslim Brotherhood's doctrine, and particularly the
writings of Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. Abdul Rahim
urged his followers to embrace Islam as a total way of life
rather than simply a religion, in line with the Muslim
Brotherhood's famed motto, "Islam is the solution." He also
introduced the Brotherhood's "usroh" (Arabic for family)
organizing principle, or the use of small cells to recruit
and indoctrinate new followers into living according to the
tenets of Islam, with the ultimate goal of establishing an
Islamic state. These usroh groups would typify the tarbiyah

JAKARTA 00000882 002 OF 005

movement, facilitating its spread to other campuses in West
Java and throughout Indonesia.

5. (SBU) The development of the tarbiyah movement also
arguably brought about a shift in Muslim students'
self-identification away from Indonesia-specific groups
(e.g., Muhammadiyah and NU) and toward a "Muslim" identity
generally. This, in turn, produced a heightened awareness of
belonging to the greater Muslim community, or ummah, which
transcends national boundaries. As a result, international
issues affecting Muslims assumed greater importance among
Muslim students in Indonesia. In fact, the students and the
faculty with whom we met identified international politics,
particularly the crises in the Middle East, as the area of
predominant concern for Muslim students. Although they made
passing references to domestic issues like corruption and
education, what came up repeatedly were their grievances over
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, and U.S. foreign policy.

6. (C) Today, argues Professor Anak Agung Banyu Perwita,
Vice Rector for Relations and Cooperation at Parahyangan
Catholic University, Muslim student movements have become so
powerful that if a student is not associated with one, he or
she cannot get elected to a student union or senate. Indeed,
argue Professors Muradi and Nasrullah from Bandung's
Padjadjaran University, college campuses -- and not Islamic
boarding schools -- are the true center of Islamic radicalism
in Indonesia. They stressed, however, that although the
hard-liners are important on campus, they represent only a
small percentage of Indonesia's wider Muslim community. More
important, they said, these groups are fractured, competing
with one another for supporters. But, they acknowledged, if
an issue were to emerge that could unite these fractious
student groups (in their opinion, an international issue like
Iraq or Arab-Israeli conflicts), it could spell trouble.

A Profile of Some Major Tarbiyah Groups


7. (C) ITB's Salman Mosque -- The tarbiyah movement that
originated at ITB's Salman mosque gave rise to some of
Indonesia's most important contemporary Muslim youth
organizations, most notably KAMMI, the precursor to the
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). Today, according to Salman's
Syarif Hidayat, the mosque's leadership is primarily
concerned with providing spiritual guidance to ITB students.
He noted that ITB is a very selective university, drawing
students from the top four percent of the 400,000 high school
students who sit annually for university exams. Although
they are clearly intelligent, he said, the students need to
find a balance between their secular studies and
spirituality. He said the mosque, which is not affiliated
with any one Muslim organization, stresses values that are
nearly universal across monotheistic religions: freedom of
thought, honesty, tolerance, creativity, and altruism.
Hidayat told us that at any one time, there are approximately
500 students who are actively involved in mosque activities,
and somewhere around 3000 students and faculty attend Friday
prayers at Salman each week.

8. (C) Lembaga Dakwah Kampus (LDK)/Lembaga Dakwah Fakultas
(LDF) -- The Campus Dakwah Institute (LDK) and its faculty
offshoot, LDF, is one of the more significant tarbiyah groups
on campus, both historically and at present. LDK was the
first university dakwah group in Indonesia to use its
organizational structure for explicitly political purposes,
and during the mid- to late 1980s, LDK members began to take
over university student organizations. The politicization
came at a cost, though, with LDK's more politically active
students breaking away in 1988 to form the Indonesian Muslim
Students' Action Front (KAMMI). Those who stayed behind
opted to eschew politics and return again to Islamic
education and mentoring. According to Padjadjaran
University's Muradi and Nazsir, LDK/LDF's teachings are very
hard-line and they actively pursue mentoring relationships
with underclassmen as a tool for recruiting new members (see
para 18).

9. (C) Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Muslim Indonesia (KAMMI) --
In 1988, several LDK political activists formed a new
organization, the Indonesian Muslim Students' Action Front
(KAMMI), whose goal was to unite campus dakwah groups
nationwide and hasten the end of the Suharto regime.
Arguably the most important dakwah group in Indonesia, KAMMI
gave rise shortly thereafter to a formal political party, the
Justice Party (PK), later renamed the Prosperous Justice
Party (PKS), which is now part of Indonesia's governing
coalition. Still a powerful force on campus, Professors

JAKARTA 00000882 003 OF 005

Muradi and Nazsir told us that KAMMI has begun to lose
strength recently to other tarbiyah groups and to the
transnational Hizbut Tahrir movement. Separately, faculty
from the University of Indonesia said that KAMMI has
witnessed a similar decline at UI and other Jakarta-based
universities, where "anybody but KAMMI or PKS" is winning
student elections. Many observers attribute this to student
dissatisfaction with PKS, which is seen as an essentially
secular party that no longer represents Muslims' interests.
The disenchantment with PKS has led KAMMI to start distancing
itself from the political party. At the same time, PKS is
carrying out its own "return to Islam" campaign on
Indonesia's campuses, including at Catholic universities.
(Note. KAMMI's representatives in Bandung boycotted the
lunch we held with Muslim student leaders, to protest U.S.
foreign policy. End note.)

10. (SBU) Pelajar Islam Indonesia (PII) -- The Indonesian
Muslim Youth organization, PII, is unique in representing
students from secondary schools rather than universities.
Founded in Yogyakarta in 1947, PII was historically linked to
Masyumi, the umbrella organization of Muslim groups that was
formed under the Japanese occupation. PII members have also
had strong ties to the West Java-based Darul Islam separatist
movement. In 1988, PII was forced to disband after it became
the only Muslim organization that refused to accept Suharto's
ideology of Pancasila rather than Islam as its source of
legitimacy. The dissolution was only at the formal level,
however, and PII members went underground to join the
burgeoning tarbiyah movement that was spreading the word
among young people about "true" Islam. In the post-Suharto
era, PII was legalized again.

11. (C) We met with the commander of the PII Brigade, Deni
Rusdyana, who reportedly is also a member of Negara Islam
Indonesia (NII), Darul Islam's underground offshoot.
According to Rusdyana, PII focuses on propagating Islamic
education and culture through extracurricular spiritual and
leadership exercises. PII is independent, and its members
are permitted to join other Islamic groups; it does not run
its own Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) or mosques.
Rusdayana said that PII has members in every Indonesian
province, although its strongholds are West and Central Java
and North Sumatra. According to Rusdyana, PII maintains ties
with international Muslim organizations, particularly in
Southeast Asia and Turkey, and has chapters for Indonesians
studying abroad in Australia, Egypt, Malaysia and Turkey,
with plans to open another in Yemen. Eight PII alumni have
become government ministers, several are active in Parliament
(including MPR head Hidayat Nur Wahid) and a handful of PII
alumni are graduates of the American Field Service (AFS)
exchange program.

Non-Tarbiyah Student Groups Active in Bandung


12. (C) Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) -- One of the most
active groups on university campuses today is Hizbut Tahrir
Indonesia (HTI), which gained a foothold in West Java in the
early 1980s. As reported in ref A, HTI is a transnational
Islamist movement that advocates the return of the Islamic
caliphate ruling in accordance with Islamic law. Although
HTI claims to be non-violent, it is avowedly hard-line and
skirts the line between mainstream and radical Islamism; in
Indonesia, Hizbut Tahrir has been one of the main drivers
behind anti-U.S. demonstrations. The bastion of HTI
recruiting is university campuses, where it competes with the
tarbiyah movements and Salafi organizations for supporters.
Previously, HTI's spokesman Ismail Yusanto told us that HTI
has gained members at the expense of movements like HMI and
PMII, which he attributed to two factors. At a personal
level, he argued, students would like to become more
confident Muslims, unashamed to express their Muslim
identity. At the social level, he said, students see Islam
as a vehicle for building a better society. In his mind,
secularism, the adoption of "non-religious values" and
"hedonistic" lifestyles have caused a sense of "moral
dislocation" among students. Although HTI is not considered
a tarbiyah group, its recruiting style, organization and
jargon are all reminiscent of the tarbiyah movement.

13. (SBU) Persatuan Islam (PERSIS) -- A representative of
PERSIS told us that his group is a dakwah and educational
organization centered around Bandung and West Java, with
approximately 200,000 members nationwide and a youth wing of
600-700 members. PERSIS runs its own pesantren and mosques
throughout Indonesia, although the vast majority (80 percent)
are in West Java. While its focus is similar to that of the
tarbiyah groups, PERSIS is generally associated with Salafism

JAKARTA 00000882 004 OF 005

and Wahhabism. Indeed, PERSIS has a reputation for being
among the most conservative of Indonesia's "mainstream"
Muslim movements, and its actions sometimes tread a fine line
between puritanism and extremism. For example, in an act of
Islamist vigilantism PERSIS members in Jakarta hacked down
several large banyan trees after hearing that some Muslims
believed the trees hosted the spirits of the deceased. They
were obliged to prevent such blasphemy, PERSIS's leaders
said, even if their actions were illegal.

14. (SBU) Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam (HMI) -- The Muslim
Students' Association (HMI), one of Indonesia's first and
most important student organizations, was founded in
Yogyakarta in 1947 and its Bandung chapter established in

1955. An independent student group with no formal ties to
any one mass-based or political organization, HMI is
generally regarded as moderate. Indeed, HMI's chair in 1970,
Nurcholish Madjid (who later became one of Indonesia's most
revered Muslim intellectuals), set off a debate over the role
of religion in politics by declaring "Islam, Yes; Islamic
Party, No." That argument continues today, even after
Madjid's death. However, Madjid represented only one current
within HMI, and Imaddudin Abdul Rahim's harder line faction
split with HMI in 1974 (Abdul Rahim then founded the tarbiyah

15. (C) HMI's Bandung branch chief Syaiful Anas told us the
group's mission is to promote a better understanding of Islam
by exploring the relationship between education and Islam.
He called for a dialogue within Indonesia's Muslim community,
saying that "we want to be open because we are confident in
our religion." HMI would like to promote an Islam that is
"friendlier," he said, and is agitating for a "tolerance
revolution." To do that, HMI works in coordination with
other faith-based campus organizations. Several faculty
members have told us that HMI is currently experiencing a
renaissance on campus as dissatisfaction with KAMMI grows.

16. (C) Pergerakan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia (PMII) -- NU's
student wing, the Indonesian Muslim Student Movement (PMII),
is represented throughout Indonesia but tends to be much
stronger in East Java than in Bandung. Traditionally
moderate and open, PMII is actively trying to promote
interfaith tolerance, according to its Bandung representative
Wawan Gunawan. For example, PMII publicly opposed the
violent attacks carried out by radical Muslims on members of
the Ahmadiyah community, a breakaway Muslim sect that many
consider to be heretical. The group also runs an
anti-discrimination program to protect individuals who
practice faiths outside the five state-sanctioned religions.
"PMII does not have the right to tell others what to
believe," Gunawan argued.

17. (C) In contrast to some of NU's religious leaders (and,
by implication, the tarbiyah organizations), PMII is "not
closed to the idea of modernity," Gunawan contended. PMII
is, however, opposed to the imposition of Islamic law
because, Gunawan said, Islam is greater than a set of laws or
a constitution. Separately, PMII's national chairman, Hery
Hariyanto, told us that hard-line student groups, especially
from the tarbiyah movement, have accused PMII members of
being "kafir", or non-believers, because of their involvement
in interfaith activities and their lack of support for
imposing Islamic law. (Note. PMII's national leadership in
Jakarta has received a grant from PAS to combat extremism
among students. End Note.)

Methods and Places of Recruitment


18. (C) Muradi and Nazsir, the political science professors
from Padjadjaran University, described to us the recruitment
process that tarbiyah groups have used to populate their
ranks. Under Indonesian law, all Muslim university students
are required to attend tutorials on Islam for two semesters.
However, because the ratio of students to faculty is so
large, professors must rely on their teaching assistants to
run the religion classes (for example, in the Padjadjaran
political science faculty, there are only three faculty
members for 600 students). According to Muradi and Nazsir,
senior undergraduates who are affiliated with tarbiyah groups
have taken over these teaching assistantships. The teaching
assistants then use the mandatory tutorials to recruit and
indoctrinate underclassmen. When they graduate, some of
these upperclassmen join the university faculty so that they
can continue their dakwah activities (these are two areas in
which LDK and LDF are particularly aggressive, they said).
Finally, hard-line tarbiyah faculty members take advantage of
the large number of visiting lecturer opportunities, which

JAKARTA 00000882 005 OF 005

allows them to spread their message beyond their home
campuses. Because visiting faculty stay for only a semester
or two, Muradi and Nazsir said, universities have a difficult
time tracking their activities. The radicals can therefore
recruit largely without restriction.

19. (C) In addition to religion classes, the radicals are
recruiting in campus mosques and prayer rooms (musholla),
which they have made a concerted effort to infiltrate. They
are also targeting the poor, providing them financial support
and then, once ingratiated, drawing these individuals into
discussions of ideology. The radicals take advantage of
empty university classrooms to hold these prayer and study
groups each weekend.

20. (C) All of our interlocutors told us that, paradoxically,
radical Muslim groups are strongest at secular universities
while the more mainstream groups like PMII and HMI are
strongest at the Islamic universities. Their explanations
for why this is differ. Anak Agung Banyu Perwita, Vice
Rector for Relations and Cooperation at Parahyangan Catholic
University, argues that the students who attend the
prestigious Islamic universities already know what Islam
really is, and are thus less likely to be taken in by groups
professing knowledge of the truth. HTI spokeman Ismail
Yusanto, by contrast, believes that students at secular
universities feel a sense of dislocation there, particularly
if they were educated in Islamic primary and secondary
schools. This feeling makes them eager to join religious
student organizations that can serve as a surrogate community
or family. Radical groups that have adopted the usroh
structure, therefore, would be a natural fit.