Sunday, September 16, 2007


American and Indonesian Cases

Muhamad Ali

The question whether nation and religion are still important for most peoples in this contemporary era of globalization when they have more access to knowledge and get more freedom to choose what they want from the increased quantity of sources, thus undermining the traditional nationalist and religious authorities, can not be answered in an either/or way. It can be argued that nation and religion may coexist, overlap, and even reinforce each other, but may also be conflicting. Be that it may, the complexity of relations between nation and religion today should not hinder peoples in this era of
globalization from living in coexistence and peace. Nationalism is for many a common project for the present and the future, and so is religion. Both are also projects that demand sacrifice, but not the sacrificing of others. Both the American nation and the Indonesian nation should be large-hearted and broad-minded enough to accept the real variety and complexity of the national society in each country, and at the same time to promote shared human values.

Nationalism and Religions
In contemporary era of globalization, nationalism and religious identity are for many still important. They regard both as constructive forces in political, economical, social and cultural interactions. The self-determination, the love for one’s country and the readiness to defend her, the development projects that the state designed and implemented to the welfare of many of the country’s people, and the diplomatic relationship between nation-states for cooperation in many fields of life, have demonstrated how nationalism provides good things to them. On the other hand, religion has played a different, yet crucial role. In America, according to public opinions, religion has become important in public life, in their voting, in American foreign policy, in issues like marriage, abortion, and other socio-political issues. In Indonesia, religion has been even more crucial. In many interfaith meetings, different religions attempt to argue that nationalism and patriotism are sanctioned by their religious beliefs, and their Gods teach them to love their country and to work hard for her prosperity.

Especially after the 9/11 attack, national security became the American government’s first priority, often jeopardizing religious freedom and civil rights of individuals and groups. The American Constitution upholds religious freedom, but some discriminatory cases still exist against African Americans, Arabs, and other minorities. There are American peoples and scholars who still see minorities, including Muslims, as a threat to American nationalism. For them, American nationalism should be defended against external and internal threats, but these threats have been determined by partial and biased parameters. The American war on terror, in the name of national security, has perpretated different kinds of terrors against the accused (See Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies, 2004). Problems of racial prejudices, Islam-phobia, immigrations, health, education, gay marriage and abortion, are debated often within the context of nationalist and religious sentiments.

American nationalism has a variety of meaning among Americans. For some, American nationalism means a project against the Other, including Muslim extremists as they define them (rather than Protestant evangelical extremists, or Jewish extremists inside America or in Israel). For these groups, extremism only applies to others. For them, nationalism demands absolute categories of good and bad (rather than relatively good and relatively bad). Thus Samuel Huntington argues that America is a Protestant country which is under threat from multiculturalism (Huntington, Who Are We?, 2006). But this inherent connection between American nation and religion has been contested. In 1796, for example, President George Washington linked religion to morality and virtue and linked the cultivation of virtue to education. In 1802, however, Thomas Jefferson contended that American legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus binding a wall of separation between Church and State.” Many of the U.S. presidents, including Roosevelt, Truman, Nixon, Carter, Bush, Clinton, and Bush junior, made Biblical references in their public speeches, and interpreted them according to the circumstances. In 2005, George W. Bush, for example, quoted Isaiah 40:31:”But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength….” Today Americans broaden their discourse of nationalism to include liberal democracy, free-trade capitalism, human rights, and peace, not only in the country but also in the Middle East and other parts of the world. The will to spread democracy is one manifestation of American nationalism.

In Indonesia, the public discourse of nationalism, including the relation between religion and nationalism, has not emerged until the early 20th century. In 1928, the birth of Indonesia was marked by The Oath of the Youth declaring one fatherland, one nation, one language, (but no “one religion”). The Indonesian independence in 1945 was followed by the declaration of Pancasila, the semi-secular state ideology mixing theology, humanism, nationalism, democracy and social justice. The New Order Regime (1966-1998) built some alliances with the military against communism, perceived as the inside threat. The 1945 Constitution guarantees religious freedom, but discriminatory policies and attitudes still occur against indigenous believers, Chinese, and other minorities. In former East Timor, Aceh, and Papua, Indonesian nationalism has been a nightmare because force was used in trying to “civilize” and subjugate the marginalized economically, culturally and politically.

Indonesian self-image centered on the elitist discourse, including the Pancasila state, neither secular nor Islamic, the largest Muslim democratic moderate country (after 2004 general elections), and unity in diversity (Bhineka Tunggal Ika). But the country has suffered from conflicts of ideologies, ethno-religious conflicts, lack of and uneven access to education, poor health services, poor public services (transport, cleanliness), population density, and so on.

Nationalisms and Globalization
In 1996, historian Eric Hobsbawm characterized the twentieth century as “the age of extremes” because different ideologies, especially liberalism and socialism, competed for dominance. But, according to Fukuyama, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, liberalism was believed to have triumphed (Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History”, 1989). Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, however, saw a clash of civilizations (Bernard Lewis, 1992; Huntington, “Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of New World Order”, 1993). For Huntington, writing in 1993, “a central focus for the conflict for the immediate future will be between the West and several Islamic-Confucian states”. In the middle, however, the United Nations, European Union, and other international organizations have advocated a dialogue of civilizations, building a common space for co-operation.

For Huntington, civilizations become fault lines. But globalization continues to be more powerful. An American journalist Thomas Friedman suggests that globalization is not simply a trend or a fad but is, rather, an international system. It is the system that has now replaced the old Cold War system, and globalization has its own rules and logic that today directly or indirectly influence the politics, environment, geopolitics, and economics of virtually every country in the world. Challenging Fukuyama and Huntington, Friedman depicts this new era of globalization: “under the globalization system you will find both clashes of civilization and the homogenization of civilizations, both environmental disasters and amazing environmental rescues, both the triumph of liberal, free-market capitalism and a backlash against it.”(The Lexus and the Olive Three, 2000). Friedman however concludes that American national pride, globalization, and sense of community (including religion) are not contradictory and even should coexist.

In Indonesia, there are some debates of whether Islamic solidarity (umma) or the Indonesian nation-state comes first, especially when they see Palestine-Israel conflict, Iraqi conflicts, American war against terrorism, and other global events. For many Indonesians, globalization has been perceived as modernization and modernization as Westernization and more recently Westernization as Americanization (McDonalds, Microsoft, American companies). At the same time, many Muslim liberals have seen global Islamism and Arab or Middle Eastern kind of Islam as not compatible with the Indonesian situation. There is an Indonesian sort of Islam, more accommodative and tolerant toward diverse local cultures. For others, globalization is a blessing and could reinforce sense of nationalist pride, by improving the image of Indonesia not as a terrorist haven, Indonesia as moderate and tolerant as well as a beautiful and culturally-rich country. Nationalism for Indonesians at home and abroad remains strong and even stronger amidst the widespread use of internet and travel (the two icons of globalization).

Prevailing Extremisms
But we are facing excesses of nationalism and excesses of religion. We find aggressive nationalism which tries to impose one’s nationalism onto other nations near and afar. Absolute boundaries based on nationalities and religion can create conflicts and even wars. Absolutism comes from extreme ideologies and attitudes. We know different kinds of extremisms: within the nation-state (between the state and marginalized groups, between civil societies), between the nation-state, between non-state groups and the state, and between one state and the state and the people in other states. The reasons, dynamics, and implications of each kind of extremism vary, but the main features are social disorder and human and natural destruction.

In Indonesia, the regime at times killed the true and the alleged communists in 1965-1966. Indonesian nationalism, either religiously or secularly based, can have excesses and extreme sides. The extreme nationalism, for example, forces minorities to adopt the overarching political agenda that they reject because the agenda do not suit their needs and interests. An extreme nationalism wants to civilize the margins (indigenous believers, religious sects, new religious movements, mountain and jungle tribes, and so forth) by ways of imposition without respect to their particular conditions and needs. Within a nation, there needs to be a balance between nationalism and multiculturalism.

In the U.S., racism still exists, not simply by the white majority against the black or the color, but also by the black against the white. The media, which are supposed to be neutral, are not always neutral; the media could be misinformed about particular groups and events. The association of Islam with Arabs, violence, and terrorism is not yet over in some of American media, although there is some improvement for a more balances accounts.

The nation, according to Benedict Anderson, is an imagined community. It is a fraternity that makes it possible for so many millions of people to die for such limited imaginings. But this willing to die can be noble or can be foolish and destructive of others’ existence and peace. Wars between nationalisms have occurred. As Enrique Dussel put it, “evils accompany war: the clamor of arms, sudden, impetuous, and furious attacks and invasion; ferocity and grave perturbations; scandals, deaths, and carnage; havoc, rape, and dispossessions; the lost of parents and children; captivities and the dethronement of lords; the devastation and desolation of cities, innumerable villages and other sites.”(The Invention of the Americas, 1995).

Nationalist leaders may speak in the name of “democracy”, “civilization”, “peace”, but at the same time could act in a non-democratic and uncivilized manner, in the name of nationalist security or interest. In addition, while they can claim to seek international peace, they are actually harboring hegemonic or imperialist designs. Here nationalism becomes aggressive. Thus, as history shows us, forced nationalism extends abroad: Pan-Americanism, Pan-Britannica, Pan-Romana, Pan-Arabism, Pan-Islamism, etc. In fact, imperialism in the name of nationalism has become a mix of love and hatred, peace and war, blessings and sufferings.

The will for wealth and domination has not ended yet. Jacques Derrida, in his The Other Heading: Reflections of Today’s Europe, wrote: “Europe takes itself to be a promontory, an advance – the avant-garde of geography and history. It advances and promotes itself as an advance, and it will never have ceased to make advances on the other: to induce, seduce, produce, and conduce, to spread out, to cultivate, to love or to violate, to love to violate, to colonize, and colonize itself.” These can occur not only in Europe, but also in the U.S., Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere.

Such will for domination has been made possible because many leaders still view the world in terms of core and periphery, their own nation being at the core, and other nations at the periphery. Self-glorification often corresponds with diminishing others.

I would argue that nationalism, religion, and globalization should have limits to themselves. First, nationalism is socially constructed. Religion, although believed as divine and sacral, is historically constructed. Globalization, although it is regarded as a pervasive force and a system in itself with the communication technology, in fact carries different meanings for different people. Generally, in the secular paradigm, globalization is perceived as more neutral than religion, whereas nationalism is more neutral than religion. Neutrality is however no less constructed according to different perspectives.

Given its negative excesses, nationalism should not be an absolute ideology. There are always reason and unreason in nationalist ideology. As history shows, nationalism can be excessive and aggressive. Religion can also be moderate and extreme. Even religion can be made to justify aggressive nationalism. Religious fundamentalism can be secular or religious, but it has the potential for absolutism.

Tolerant Nationalism and Tolerant Religiosity
It is a time to promote more substantive and tolerant nationalism: strong, solid, but respecting other concepts of nationalism and nationalities within and without the country. Tolerant nationalism is a love of one’s country manifested in various aspects of life, but not at the expense of the destruction of other peoples within and beyond the constructed boundaries. Indonesian nationalism should be tolerant in the sense that, whether religious or secular or mixed according to different communities, it should respect the minorities and the marginalized, and at the same time should respect other nationalisms outside it. One of the outcomes of such tolerant nationalism is continued participation within the nation and peaceful coexistence and fruitful cooperation outside it.

Tolerant nationalism recognizes multiculturalism. Multiculturalism should not be merely a descriptive category, by simply saying that the world is diverse and multicultural. It needs to be normative as well, that requires certain attitudes and practical foreign policies. As Fred Halliday (2001) put it, ”multiculturalism becomes a deliberate approach to diversity, a type of normative discourse.”

Tolerant nationalism also promotes humanism which encourages common human values. As Vaclav Havel eloquently put it, “Different cultures or spheres of civilization can share only what they perceive as genuine common ground, not something that few merely offer to or even force upon others. The tenets of human coexistence on this earth can hold up only if they grow out of the deepest experience of everyone, not just some of us.”

Nationalism, multiculturalism, religion, and humanism can coexist in international relations as global conversation or global dialogue becomes priority before anything else. Thus, voices of dialogue, such as Hans Kung’s Global Ethics, Muhammad Khatami’s Dialogue of Civilizations, Anwar Ibrahim’s Global Convivencia, need to be provided a greater space in public discourse and world politics. There are also World Peace through World Law and World Order Models Projects (WOMP). In these theses, there is a positive escape from self-absolutism which negates the others, which drives a healthy skeptical epistemology. There is also a will to be self-critical that avoids cultural imposition and military aggression, that paves the way to pluralism, which in turn leads to global coexistence and peace.

Humanity has been created to form tribes, races, nations, religions, and other identities, whose differences in physical characteristics, languages, and modes of thought are but the means for the purpose of lita’arafu, to borrow an Islamic term, meaning “getting to know one another”. Exchange and dialogue become an imperative at a time when the world has shrunk into a global village. For it is a pre-condition for the establishment of a global coexistence and peace, a harmonious and enriching experience of living together among people of diverse identities. Clash of identities can be diminished by a conscious attitude in order that they could coexist and cooperate in resolving common world problems such as terrorism, poverty, and environmental disaster.

Strengthening Communities of Noble Purpose
Nation and religion are part of communities. Despite the multiplicity of meanings of “community”, it is a sense of membership to a group either based on place or based on purpose. Community of space is a collectivity based on place (village or city, island, country, region, continent, and so forth), but community of purpose is more based on a common purpose with a shared vision, mission, interest, or hobby. Internet has shaped the creation and development of such communities of purpose, through mailing list, website, blog, and so forth. Travel has also conditioned the greater access to knowledge and experience among individuals.

From 1960s to date, the East-West Center has recognized national identities (food, dress, life style, language), but has promoted interchanges, dialogues, and cooperation among them. For many international participants in the East-West Center, nationalism has become even stronger abroad than they are in their home countries. Exchange of ideas and experiences, exchange of food and dress; national boundaries remain recognized, but this recognition does not preclude the respect of other boundaries. Of course they are still those students who fail to respect other cultures, languages, religions, and nationalities, but the vision of the building of Asia-Pacific Community has continued at least to broaden ethnicities and nationalities to a wider region, which is Asia, the Pacific, and America. The extent to which such mission is successful will depend on how the EWC management, teachers, and the participants are able to connect their particular identities and moralities not only to their nationalities and ethnicities, but to the Asia-Pacific region and more broadly to a global citizenship based on shared humanity norms and values as well. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and for the Asia-Pacific region, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum, among others, are regional forums that should serve as communities of space but more importantly communities of noble purpose, in improving the welfare of the people in these regions, thus helping to improve the wellbeing of the people in other parts of the world.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Recent Publications

Recent Publications,
Muhamad Ali

A. Books


1. Teologi Pluralis Multikultural (Multicultural-Pluralist Theology) (Jakarta: Penerbit Kompas, 2003), 292 pp, plus bibliography.

In Progress

2. Islam and the West: Bridging the Gulf after 9/11, Publisher: LibforAll Foundation (, Winston-Salem, North Caroline, 27160, USA, submitted on December 2006, 106 pp.

3. Religious Tolerance and Pluralism in Indonesia, Publisher: LibforAll Foundation (, Winston-Salem, North Caroline, 27160, USA, submitted on December 2006, 106 pp.

4. Religion and Colonialism: Islamic Knowledge in South Sulawesi and Kelantan, 1905-1945

B. Journal Articles


1. “Fatwas on Interfaith Marriage in Indonesia,” Studia Islamika, 9:3, 2002, 1-25. [Refereed]

2. “The Umma and the Nation-State: Western and Islamic Perspective,” Kultur, 1:3, 2002, 46-59. [Refereed]

3. “Dialogue Amongst Civilizations,” Resonansi, 1:2, 2003, 1-7. [Invited]

4. “Honoring Religions,” Peace & Policy, 9, 2004, 86-9. [Refereed]

5. “The Rise of the Liberal Islamic Netwok (JIL) in Contemporary Indonesia,” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 22:1, Winter 2005, 1-27. [Refereed]

6. “Transmission of Islamic Knowledge in Kelantan,” The Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 79:2:291, 2006. [Refereed]

7. “Menengok Barat, Mengembangkan Tradisi Ilmiah di Indonesia” (Learning from the West, Developing Scientific Tradition in Indonesia), Mimbar Agama dan Budaya (Pulpit of Religion and Culture), vol.23, no.1, 2006, 25-41. [Refereed]

8. “Categorizing Muslims in Postcolonial Indonesia,” Moussons, Paris, no. 11, 2007. [Refereed]

C. Chapters in Books


1. “Mengapa Membumikan Kemajemukan dan Kebebasan Beragama di Indonesia?” (Why Promoting Religious Pluralism and Freedom in Indonesia?), in Kebebasan Beragama di Indonesia (Religious Freedom in Indonesia), Jakarta: Paramadina University, June 2006, pp.78-90 [Invited]

2. “Gerakan Islam Moderat di Indonesia” (Moderate Islamic Movements in Indonesia), in Peta Gerakan Islam di Indonesia (Islamic Movements in Indonesia) Jakarta: PPIM & CSIS, August 2006, pp. 182-197 [Invited]

In Progress

3. “Islam in Southeast Asia”, a chapter in a book to be published in Denmark, 2007/2008

D. Encyclopedia Articles


1. “Women, Gender, and Jihad: East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia,” The Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Culture (Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden), 2004, 231-234.

E. Book Reviews


1. Robert Day McAmis, Malay Muslims: the History and Challenge of Resurgent Islam in Southeast Asia (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002), in (Journal of Asian Studies, 62:4, 2003): 1130-1132.

2. Giora Eliraz, Islam in Indonesia: Modernism, Radicalism, and the Middle East Dimension (Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press, 2004), (American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 22:3, 2005): 136-9.

3. Anna M. Gade, Perfection Makes Practice: Learning, Emotion, and the Recited Qur’an in Indonesia (Honolulu: University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2004), (American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 23:3: 2006): 89-91.

4. Mike Millard, Jihad in Paradise: Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia (New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2004), (American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 23:3; 2006): 91-94.

F. Working Papers


1. “Islam and Economic Development in New Order’s Indonesia,” 1967-1998,” East-West Center Working Papers, 12, 2004, 1-26.

2. “Chinese Muslims in Indonesia: A Post-Diasporic Experience,” Explorations, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, vol.3, no.2, Spring 2007, pp. 1-22.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dr. Muhamad Ali

Dr. Muhamad Ali, 2006-2007

Muhamad Ali was newly appointed assistant professor in religious studies at the University of California at Riverside, recently earned his Ph.D from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and completed his fellowship at the East-West Center, Honolulu. He was awarded the Toyota Foundation Southeast Asian National Research Grant for publishing his dissertation on colonialism and Islamic knowledge in Indonesia and Malaysia. He was invited as speaker on Olelo TV station, Hawaii, on Islam in Indonesia and on promoting religious pluralism, and as trainer of the workshop on Islam in Southeast Asia for school teachers. During the past year, he published articles, including on the transmission of Islamic knowledge (The Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society), on categorizing Muslims (Moussons, Paris), book chapters on moderate Islamic movements in Indonesia and on religious pluralism, and is writing a chapter on Islam in Southeast Asia for a book to published in Denmark, apart from his newspaper articles on various religious and socio-political issues.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

'Biggest Ever' Rally Calls for Revival of Islamic Caliphate

By Patrick
International EditorAugust 13, 2007( -

An estimated 80,000 Islamists packed a sports stadium in the Indonesian capital Sunday to call for the re-establishment of a single Islamic state or caliphate, uniting Muslims around the world under Islamic law.Video footage posted on the group's websites showed tens of thousands of people, men and women seated apart in the stadium in Jakarta, waving black and white flags and shouting "Allah is greater."The event was organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation), which called it the biggest event calling for the revival of a caliphate since the last time one existed in the 1920s.Hizb ut-Tahrir is a transnational Sunni group that says it shuns violence, but it has been outlawed or restricted in Germany , Russia and parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. The British government said it planned to ban the group after the July 2005 London bombings, although it has not yet happened.

Muhammad Ismail Yusanto, the group's Indonesian spokesman, said on the sidelines of the meeting that the group rejects democracy, because sovereignty is in the hands of Allah, not the people.In a statement, he called secularism "the mother of all destruction," and he called on all Muslims to join the struggle to implement Islam and Islamic law.Most of those attending were said to be Indonesians, although supporters of the group also came from the Middle East, Africa and Europe.The Indonesian authorities blocked two foreign leaders, from Britain and Australia, from attending.The Australian, Sheikh Ismail al-Wahwah from Sydney, said he was turned around at the airport and sent home, and the group's British office said the same thing happened to Imran Waheed, a member of its executive committee who was to have addressed the gathering."Whether this is the desperate action of the Indonesian regime or the regime following the orders of an overseas government is unclear," Abdul Wahid, chairman of the UK executive committee, said in a statement."What is clear is that there is an attempt to prevent Dr. Waheed from speaking. One has to ask, do they fear our arguments so much?"Wahid said the meeting in Indonesia had been a great success, and that the concept of a caliphate "is increasingly seen as the alternative to corruption and tyranny in the Muslim world, where the population see Islamic governance as an inherent part of their way of life."


But in Indonesia, the world's most populous Islamic nation, not all Muslim leaders are supportive of Hizb ut-Tahrir's ideology.Hasyim Muzadi, chairman of the mainstream Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), said earlier this year that groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir "tend to use the Islamic religion as the political ideology rather than the way of life," and cautioned against movements "that do not spring from Indonesian traditions."Muzadi said that NU and Hizb ut-Tahrir "have different views dealing with the concept of nationality and Indonesia in nature," with the latter supportive of the unitary state of Indonesia while the latter was focusing on struggling for a caliphate.Claiming a membership of 40 million, NU is the biggest Muslim organization in Indonesia.

In an opinion survey earlier this year of attitudes in four key Muslim countries -- Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia -- University of Maryland pollsters found 36 percent of respondents "strongly" in favor of "unify[ing] all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate."Scholars say a caliphate has not existed in any form since 1924, when Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk formerly abolished the institution, following the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I.

Muhamad Ali, an Indonesian scholar of Islam currently at the University of California Riverside, said Monday he thought Hizb ut-Tahrir's push for a caliphate (also known as a khalifa or khilafa) was neither necessary or realistic."Coming back to the so-called golden age of Islam is an utopia, and is not sanctioned in the Koran and in the Hadith," he told Cybercast News Service, referring to the Islamic sacred text and the traditions of Mohammed, the Muslim prophet."The call will take away Muslims' energy toward something unrealizable and ineffective," Ali said.

In Indonesia, he noted, both NU and another major mainstream organization, Muhammadiyah, had never regarded a caliphate as crucial."The real challenge for Indonesian Muslims are to improve education, health, and public services, without a khalifa. Presidents, governors, regents, and the religious scholars and non-religious intellectuals in Indonesia are trying to realize reform in all aspects of life without a khalifa," Ali said."The imagined khalifa will not be realized and will not be accepted by many let alone most Muslims in Indonesia and other places."

'Clandestine, radical'

Hizb ut-Tahrir was founded in 1953 by a Palestinian Arab and works openly -- except in those countries where it is proscribed -- for the revival of the caliphate. Even regimes like the one ruling Saudi Arabia are not sufficiently Islamic for the group."It can, in no way, be claimed that any of the current Muslim countries are representative of Islam and the Islamic system of government which is the Islamic [caliphate]," it group says on a website.Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesmen insist it does not promote violence, but experts regard it as dangerous.Heritage Foundation scholar Ariel Cohen has described it as "a clandestine, cadre-operated, radical Islamist political organization" that is "transnational, secretive, and extremist in its anti-Americanism.""Like al-Qaeda, it [Hizb ut-Tahrir] advocates an Islamic Caliphate in which [Islamic law] will be supreme, but says it wants to achieve it through peaceful mass agitations and not by resort to terrorism or other acts of armed violence," according to South Asian political and security analyst Bahukutumbi Raman. "What the al-Qaeda seeks to propagate through jihadi terrorism, it propagates through political means."

"[Hizb ut-Tahrir ] is not a terrorist organization, but it can usefully be thought of as a conveyor belt for terrorists," Zeyno Baran, director of the Center for Eurasian Policy at the Hudson Institute, wrote in 2005. "It indoctrinates individuals with radical ideology, priming them for recruitment by more extreme organizations where they can take part in actual operations."On

Monday, Islam scholar Ali said the group was "not very significant" in Indonesia."It represents [a] minority, most of them educated not in religious schools and universities," he said. "They simply want a short-cut toward the realization of [an] Islamic community."Ali said most Indonesian Muslims do not embrace such "foreign" concepts as that of a caliphate.