RECOMMENDED READING “Transnational Islamism And Its Impact In Malaysia And Indonesia


The Gloria Center in Israel has published a report titled “Transnational Islamism And Its Impact In Malaysia And Indonesia” that contains useful information on the Global Muslim Brotherhood in Malaysia and Indonesia. The report begins:

This article argues that the Islamist resurgence of the 1980s and anti-American sentiments following the events of September 11 have led to the strengthening of political Islamism in both Malaysia and Indonesia. It also discusses the impact of Islamist movements and governments outside of Southeast Asia (i.e., the Middle East) in shaping the political thinking of Islamist organizations and political parties in Southeast Asia and how this has affected the politics of both Indonesia and Malaysia.

INTRODUCTION Southeast Asian Islam has been portrayed as a moderate, Sufi apolitical variant throughout much of history.[1] Yet these assertions are problematic for several reasons. In Malaysia, ethnic and religious factors have shaped the two main Malay parties, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS); and in Indonesia Islamist parties have played an important role throughout the history of the republic (albeit in a domesticated state during the Suharto era). However, the political context in Southeast Asia was not defined by religion, and these parties have had little impact on regional policies. Since the late 1990s, Islamist parties have begun to play more dominant roles in defining the politics of Southeast Asia’s two largest Muslim countries, Malaysia and Indonesia. At the same time, even secular political parties are starting to use Islam to propound their political positions. Today, increasing numbers of Muslims in Southeast Asia support the implementation of Islamic laws in their countries. This is evident from the number of votes won by Islamist parties in elections as well as from the ability of Islamist groups to influence policies so as to favor the Islamist position. This article will focus on the future role of political Islam in Indonesia and Malaysia. It argues that the Islamist resurgence of the 1980s and anti-American sentiments following the September 11 terror attacks have led to the strengthening of political Islam in Malaysia and Indonesia. The first part of the article will analyze the Islamist resurgence of the 1980s and how this led to the establishment of Islamist organizations in the region and shaped their political ideologies. It will also document the impact of external Islamist movements and governments on Southeast Asian Islamist groups, in Indonesia and Malaysia in particular. Next, the article will show how external developments post-September 11 have led to greater coordination between Islamist groups in the region and those abroad as well as the strengthening of political Islam in the region. Lastly, the article discusses how the September 11 terror attacks and the events that followed have led to cooperation between Islamist parties and transformed their political dynamics and strategies, and in turn led to a more prominent role for Islam within the Malaysian and Indonesian political landscapes.”

Read the rest here.

Previous posts have discussed the Indonesian activities of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. IIIT has long been active in Malaysia and Indonesia and has branch offices in both countries. IIIT co-founder and leader Jamal Barzinji is also a former director of two Islamic Banks in Malaysia, representing Jami Company Sdn, an investment holding, property development and rental company. Barzinji was also one of the main individuals involved in the now defunct SAAR Foundation, an extensive network of charities and companies in Northern VIrginia suspected by the US government of involvement in terrorism financing. He and other SAAR officers were involved in establishing the earliest organizations of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

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