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.
Southeast Asian Islam has been portrayed as a moderate, Sufi apolitical variant throughout much of history. 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.
ISLAM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Ties between Southeast Asian Muslims and Muslims outside the region have existed for hundreds of years, dating back to the Islamization of Southeast Asia, which began around the eleventh century. Several theories have emerged about the origins and the early spread of Islam. Arab and Indian Muslim traders, some of whom were Sufis, played a significant role in the Islamization process. By the mid-eighteenth century, Arabs, in particular the Sayyids, assumed the position of qadis (religious judges) and acted as royal envoys and advisors. It is also noteworthy that most of the royal family in the western Indonesian archipelago had Arab blood.
These earlier ties were an important precursor to subsequent links between the Middle East and Southeast Asia that occurred in the early eighteenth century. By this period, Muslims were already traveling to the Middle East, mainly to perform the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca and to seek religious knowledge in places such as Egypt. Some of these individuals were influenced by the ideas of Muslim reformist thinkers such as Sayyid Jamal-al-Din Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, and Rashid Rida. These individuals, who were mostly trained as religious scholars, became prominent members of the “group” known as the Kaum Muda. The Kaum Muda reinterpreted Islam and rejected syncretic practices, which they believed had marred the Islamic doctrine. They also held strong nationalist beliefs that the Malay world should be freed from colonial rule.
Many organizations that were to play important roles in the fight against colonialism such as Sarekat Islam and Hizbul Muslimin (HM) (the precursor to the PAS) were formed by Kaum Muda leaders and supporters. A considerable number of these groups espoused an Islamist political ideology. However, unlike the current Islamists who seek to implement Islamic laws in every realm of life, Islamist ideology was simply used to fight colonialism. This form of Islamism also tended to be less concerned with the implementation of Islamic law.
Southeast Asian Muslims have thus always been linked to the larger Muslim World. In a way, a globalized Muslim identity is not a new development. Nevertheless, these ties tended to be limited to the Malay elites. The ideologies of the Muslim reformists in the Middle East, which were adopted by Kaum Muda leaders, influenced only a small group of educated Muslims. Few Muslims saw Islam as a political ideology or sought to form an Islamic state governed by Islamic laws.
Iranian-Saudi Competition in Southeast Asia
The 1979 Iranian Revolution caught the attention of many Muslims throughout the world. In Southeast Asia, many Islamic groups and parties began to see the Iranian model of Islamic governance as one they could emulate. The admiration for the Iranians had to do more with the regime’s stance against the West than any ideological affiliation. In Malaysia, groups like the Malaysian Assembly of Muslim Youth (ABIM) quickly adopted the political slogans of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the revolution. The Iranian Revolution had an important impact on the PAS in particular. In November 1981, the ulama (religious clerics) of the PAS Youth went to Iran to support the success of the revolution and the Iranian ulama leadership. During the meeting, the PAS Youth Council concluded that only the ulama had the strength to lead the Muslim community and that the leadership of PAS must be led by them. Another group influenced by the Iranian Revolution was the Islamic Republic Group (IRG), which sought to establish an Islamist state à la Iran in Malaysia. Subsequently, many of those in the IRG joined the PAS and other Islamist groups such as the Jama’a Islah Malaysia (JIM).
The Iranian government sought to export its revolution to other Muslim countries, including Indonesia. The writings of Iranian religious thinkers such as Khomeini and Ali Shariati flooded Indonesian Islamic bookstores. In addition, the Iranians began sponsoring students to study in Iran. The Iranian cultural attaché in Indonesia also distributed propaganda materials aimed at encouraging an Iranian-inspired revolution in Indonesia. While an Iranian-style revolution did not take place in Indonesia, the Iranian efforts did encourage some Southeast Asian Muslims to convert to the Shi’i sect of Islam. Nevertheless, Shi’i Islam remains limited in the region, as most Southeast Asian Muslims perceive it as a deviant Islamic sect and Islamic bodies such as the Malaysian Islamic Religious Department (JAKIM) and the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) have warned against conversion to Shi’ism.
The Iranian Revolution was a major concern to many Muslim governments, which feared that the Iranian influence would incite their people to bring about similar revolutions in their own countries. Reacting to fears that its Shi’i population might revolt against the government, the Saudis, for example, began to fund and support less threatening groups throughout the Muslim world, including those in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, the beneficiaries of this Saudi funding included the Assembly of Malaysian Muslim Youth (ABIM), headed by Anwar Ibrahim, the current opposition leader in Malaysia.
In Indonesia, Saudi funding has had a more wide-ranging impact. Greg Fealy and Anthony Bubalo have identified three organizations that have benefited from the Saudi funding. These organizations include the Indonesian Islamic Predication Council (Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia, DDII), the Islamic Association for Enlightenment (Jamiat Islam wal-Irsyad, generally referred to as al-Irsyad), and the Islamic Union (Persatuan Islam, Persis). Of these organizations, the DDII was the most politically active. It was established in 1967 by leaders of the banned Masyumi Islamic Party. DDII’s chairman, Muhammad Natsir, who was widely respected in Middle Eastern Wahhabi and Salafi circles, became the most important conduit for Saudi funds flowing into Indonesia during the 1970s and 1980s. Beyond this direct funding, the Saudi government also provided financial support to madrasas (Muslim religious schools) and higher institutions of Islamic learning in order to indoctrinate students with Wahhabism. Financial support was also given to individual students in the form of bursaries and scholarships to universities in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. The “success” of the Saudi project to popularize its Wahhabi doctrine in Southeast Asia was largely due to the fact that the local governments did not see the Saudis as a threat in comparison to the Iranians.
Islamist Movements in Southeast Asia: The Muslim Brotherhood and Jama’at-i-Islami
Besides the Iranian Revolution, the impact of Islamist groups in Southeast Asia has perhaps been more important. The primary aim of Islamist groups is the establishment of an Islamist state based on the tenets and laws of Islam. Among the most important of these Islamist groups are the Arab Muslim Brotherhood and the Pakistani Jama’at-i-Islami. From the early 1950s and 1960s, the two groups began influencing Southeast Asian Muslims. The works of Hassan al-Banna and Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi became popular among leaders of some of the region’s Islamist movements. Some of them, such as Zulkifli Md–who later became a leader of the PAS–received religious training directly from prominent Islamist figures such as al-Banna. Md was also responsible for sending ten students to Iraq for advanced studies and to learn the Muslim Brotherhood ideology.
In 1968, PAS attended an Islamic ideology seminar organized by the Jama’at, thus officially establishing relations with the latter group. The organizations have since maintained ties. Another group that was closely linked to the Salafists was ABIM. Many ABIM leaders were exposed to the Brotherhood and Jama’at ideologies at universities in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Through the Malaysian Islamic Studies Group (MISG) and organizations with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Jama’at-influenced Federation of Islamic Societies (FOSIS), Malaysian students became acquainted with the ideas of al-Banna and Mawdudi.
In Indonesia, a small number of modernist Muslim intellectuals, such as Muhammad Natsir, were exposed with the Brotherhood ideology as early as the 1950s. However, the ideas and organizational methods of the Brotherhood and Jama’at did not become popular until the late 1970s and early 1980s. The main group that was influenced by these ideas was known as the Jama’ah Tarbiyah group. Unlike in Malaysia, where Islamists leaders had direct relationships with Brotherhood and Jama’at leaders, Indonesian Islamist leaders learned these ideas mainly through books by Brotherhood activists that were translated into Indonesian. The only exception to this was Natsir, who had direct links with leaders of the Brotherhood and Jama’at due to his involvement in various international Islamist organizations such as the Muslim World League.
During the 1980s, Indonesia was still ruled by the authoritarian New Order regime, which was suspicious of Islamist parties and groups. It was Natsir and his organization, the DDII, that encouraged Islamist student activism at the various universities. While the extent of Natsir’s relationship with Brotherhood and Jama’at leaders is not known, Natsir played a major role in facilitating sending Indonesian students to Brotherhood- and Jama’at-dominated universities in the Middle East and Pakistan. He was also responsible for introducing the Muslim Brotherhood’s religiopolitical ideas and methods of organization to Muslim students on various campuses by translating works written by prominent Brotherhood and Jama’at ideologues.
It was through these students that the Campus Proselytizing Network (Lembaga Dakwah Kampus, LDK) was established. Interestingly, in addition to students influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, some LDK members were inspired by groups such as Hizb al-Tahrir (HT). It was only in the early 1990s that a formal relationship was established between the LDK and the Brotherhood. In light of the long-standing ideological dispute between the Brotherhood and HT in the Middle East, the former’s leadership disapproved of the presence of HT members within the LDK. In 1994, following a decision made by its leader in Indonesia, Abd al-Rahman al-Baghdadi, HT members decided to withdraw from the LDK.
In March 1998, after the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the resulting political instability, the Brotherhood-inspired students formed the Indonesian Muslim Undergraduate Action Association (Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Muslim Indonesia, KAMMI). With the collapse of the New Order regime in May 1998, KAMMI activists formed the Justice Party (Partai Keadilan, PK), now known as the Prosperity Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera, PKS). Today, the PKS maintains strong links with the larger Muslim Brotherhood network, often attending international Islamist gatherings organized by the Brotherhood and Jama’at. PKS leader Zulkifli Mansyah even claimed that the PKS was under the jurisdiction of a larger Brotherhood network known as Ikhwan Alami (the World Muslim Brotherhood).
Saudis and Muslim Brotherhood Influences
By the 1980s, faced with the Iranian challenge, the Saudis began to work closely with the Islamist movements, providing financial support to both the Brotherhood and Jama’at. While the Brotherhood and Jama’at ideologies are not exactly the same as the Wahhabi doctrine, they share many common ideals including the desire to introduce strict Islamic laws and establish an Islamic state.
During this time, the Saudi government also began funding schools and universities established by the Brotherhood and Jama’at in the Middle East (i.e. Egypt) and South Asia (i.e. Pakistan). Among the universities was the University of Medina in Saudi Arabia. Even in “moderate” institutions such as al-Azhar in Egypt and Mutah in Jordan, the Saudis provided funds, and in exchange, the institutions accommodated Wahhabi scholars. Due to the increased financial support, Brotherhood members became more prominent in unions and student groups.
Wahhabi and Brotherhood thought had a significant impact on the budding Southeast Asian ulama. Exposure to these ideas occurred on several fronts. Most religious students were exposed to a more rigid interpretation of Islam through their lectures in these universities, and more importantly, the religiopolitical ideology preached by the Brotherhood was imbibed by many of these students. As previously mentioned, studies in the Wahhabi-Brotherhood universities were funded by the Saudis, while groups such as the DDII in Indonesia and PAS in Malaysia have managed these scholarships.
To ensure that students from Southeast Asia continue to be influenced by the Wahhabi and Brotherhood ideologies, groups like the PAS and DDII have set-up Malaysian and Indonesian student organizations that assist the students with settling into their host countries and organize various social activities for them. Malaysian and Indonesian Islamist leaders also visit the host countries frequently and meet with the students. Upon completion of their studies in the Middle East, Southeast Asian students then return to support local Wahhabi or Brotherhood- inspired groups. Several PAS leaders, including Deputy President Nasharudin Mat Isa, were recruited in this way.
However, not all Malaysian and Indonesian students were influenced by the Salafi or Brotherhood ideologies. Many Malaysian and Indonesian Azharites are part of the government bureaucracy and support their respective governments against the onslaught of Islamists in their countries. Still, the dominant thinking that has had the most pronounced influence on Southeast Asian Muslims is that of the Brotherhood.
This Wahhabi and Brotherhood movements also provided platforms through which Islamists throughout the Muslim world could interact and exchange ideas, for example through the formation of organizations such as the Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), which organize annual events to bring together leaders of Islamist organizations from Southeast Asia and Islamist leaders from other Muslim countries. In 1973, Anwar Ibrahim, then leader of the ABIM, was appointed as the WAMY representative for the Asia-Pacific region. That same year, as executive director of the International Islamic Federation of Students Organization (IIFSO), he came into contact with a wider circle of international Islamist leaders.
Such interactions are important for networking, especially since many members of these student and youth movements later go on to become leaders of their respective parties or organizations. For example, the personal relationship Ibrahim forged with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues till today. Ibrahim’s ties with the Islamist leaders also led to the introduction of Jama’at and Brotherhood ideological literature within the ABIM. Many ABIM activists who studied this literature subsequently introduced such materials in the PAS’ own training programs. Anwar also brought many of his ABIM colleagues into the government, placing them in important positions within the government bureaucracy. This was part of his supposed plan to Islamize the government from within, which he had also used as a justification to his Islamist colleagues for his decision to join the UMNO.
Creating a Global Network of Islamists
The most significant development of the first wave of Islamist resurgence was the establishment of an informal global network of Islamists. This network would prove important for coordinating Islamist efforts to advocate Muslim causes worldwide. In Southeast Asia, student groups in Indonesia (Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam), Malaysia (ABIM), and Singapore (National University of Singapore Muslim Society) came together to form an informal network of Islamist groups, with annual meetings chaired on a rotational basis. The purpose of the meetings was to strengthen the ties between the three groups and enhance their proselytizing efforts among Muslims in the region.
Some of the leaders of this network including Anwar Ibrahim, Ghani Shamsuddin, and Nurcholish Madjid were to play major roles within their respective societies. Many went on to become leaders of various Islamist groups, with the exception of Madjid–who distanced himself from Islamist thinking and became a proponent of moderate Islam in Indonesia. Members of the PAS Youth and ABIM were also known to have visited Indonesian Islamist leaders such a Natsir. In fact, it was during one of these meetings that Natsir advised Ibrahim to join PAS.
At the international level, cooperation among Islamist parties was enhanced during the late 1980s. They began to organize conferences and seminars to discuss the issues they were facing, and they cooperated closely to try to resolve issues affecting the Muslim world. In Southeast Asia, the PAS and other Malaysian Islamist organizations have been the most active in coordinating these efforts. Until 1998, there was no real involvement from any independent Indonesian Islamist party. However, some Islamist organizations have remained linked to the larger Islamist organization.
In 1988, the PAS organized the first international Islamist gathering, the International Gathering for the Solidarity of Muslims. It was attended by representatives of the Jama’at (Pakistan), Brotherhood (Egypt), Tarbiyah (Indonesia), as well as from the Philippines, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and other countries. While such gatherings may not appear to be intrinsically important, as no significant achievements were made, the close relationships formed during such encounters paved the way for enhanced cooperation between Islamist parties.
When the 1990 war in Kuwait broke out, Islamist parties and groups coordinated their efforts to try to resolve the conflict. A group led by former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan and made up of Jama’at, Brotherhood, and PAS (represented by its current president, Hadi Awang) representatives traveled to Europe and the United States to propose a solution to the conflict. While the mission did not succeed, it led to the establishment of a formal grouping of Islamist parties in 1991 at the International Gathering of Islamic Groups, held in London. Its secretariat was to be based in Istanbul, Turkey. The PAS represented Malaysia in this grouping. After the fall of the New Order regime, the PKS also became involved in these international Islamist gatherings as the Indonesian representative.
Throughout the 1990s, the Islamist grouping tackled issues affecting Muslims, such as the conflicts in Bosnia, Kashmir, and Chechnya. They also adopted an anti-Western and anti-American stance. At the same time, they learned from each other’s strategies and political positioning. For example, in 1987, a study trip to Malaysia was organized by Jama’at leaders. Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the new head of Jama’at at that time, wanted the Jama’at to shift from being a cadre-based elitist party to a mass-based political party. The Jama’at leadership chose to emulate the PAS model. Since its founding, the PKS had also made several trips to Turkey to learn from the experience of the Justice Development Party (AKP), a party with Islamist roots and Turkey’s current ruling party.
Anti-Americanism Among Southeast Asian Muslims
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. government responded by launching its War on Terror. The United States invaded Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime from power for harboring al-Qa’ida leaders and operatives. In 2003, the United States then invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein from power.
Most Southeast Asian Muslims considered the events of September 11 to be inhumane and many strongly condemned the al-Qa’ida’s actions. However, many were also disturbed by what was deemed as a disproportionate U.S. retaliation against Muslims. Many Muslims, including those in Southeast Asia, began to see the War on Terror as a war against Islam, especially following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Various surveys conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns showed that a growing number of Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia supported the role of Islam in their countries’ politics.
In Indonesia, surveys conducted by the Center for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) of the State University for Islamic Studies, in Jakarta, showed that the majority of those surveyed agreed that Indonesia should have an Islamic government based on the Koran and that all Muslims be required to abide by Islamic law. Over 40 percent felt that one should only vote for candidates who understood Islamic teachings and were prepared to fight for their implementation and supported Islamist organizations that advocated violence, such as the Laskar Jihad and the Dar al-Islam. In 2004, in a survey conducted by the Merdeka Center, a Malaysian opinion research firm, more than 50 percent of Muslim correspondents polled believed that the implementation of Islamic criminal laws would lead to a lower crime rate, and as many as 91 percent supported the formation of an Islamic state.
Southeast Asian Islamists and Anti-Americanism
Following the September 11 terror attacks, many Islamists in Southeast Asia were caught in a dilemma as to how they should react. At an official level, both the PAS and the PK gave measured condemnations of the terrorist act. However, with the start of the U.S. anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan, the Islamists began to condemn the Americans. Soon after, it was discovered that PAS members and supporters were involved in the Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia, a terrorist group with links to al-Qa’ida. As part of its strategy to drum up support for its cause, some PAS leaders urged its members to fight alongside the Taliban.
While, PK was quick to capitalize on this feeling of anti-Americanism, it tactfully distanced itself from explicitly supporting it in order in order to downplay its Islamist leanings. This was a wise move, as the worldwide fear of terrorism had led to a fear of Islamists as well, and Southeast Asian governments capitalized on this by demonizing Islamist parties. In the case of the PAS, this led to its poor electoral performance in the 2004 Malaysian elections, as it lost support from non-Muslim Malaysians. However, many Muslims in the region increasingly believed in the growing rift between the Muslim world and the West. As for the Islamist groups, they channeled their anger towards encouraging Muslim activism against the West, for example, through the organization of campaigns to galvanize Southeast Asian Muslims to protest against American and Western hegemony.
The wave of anti-Americanism also saw the emergence of new Islamist players on the political scene. One such group was the Hizb al-Tahrir (HT). HT defines itself as an international political party seeking to implement Islamic laws in the world and to revive the Islamic Caliphate. It has chapters in over 40 countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia. While the movement first found a foothold in Southeast Asia in the late 1980s, it was not until early 2000s that the Southeast Asian chapters emerged openly in the Malaysian and Indonesian political arenas. Unlike many of the Islamist parties that accept elements of Western society such as democracy and capitalism, HT rejects these ideas as un-Islamic. Its global strategy of pitting the Muslim world against the West also seems to enhance its position in among Muslims. Groups like HT have emerged as a threat to many of the mainstream Islamist parties, as it argues that these parties are confused in their methods of how to revive the Islamic state.
Coordinating the Islamist Strategy
While cooperation among Islamist groups and political parties had already begun in the early 1990s, following the September 11 terror attacks, such efforts increased. The Islamists viewed the new foreign policies adopted by the United States and other Western countries in response to the attacks as an American “war against Islam” that must be confronted. Following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Islamist parties held a meeting in London to discuss their response to the Iraqi invasion. The Muslim Brotherhood (including chapters from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories), Jama’at (its Pakistani and Bangladeshi chapters), the Refah Party (Turkey), as well as the PAS and PKS attended the meeting. At the meeting, it was decided that a worldwide peaceful protest would be held in March 2003. Each party also vowed to place pressure on their respective governments to boycott American and British products. They also agreed to organize humanitarian aid to ease the burden of war on the Iraqi people. Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia supported the efforts by the Islamists, with many turning up at the demonstrations organized by the PAS and PKS.
During the 2006 war in Lebanon between Israel and the Hizballah, Islamist groups in Southeast Asia cooperated and in assisting the Hizballah. On the August, 12, 2006, the PAS organized the Southeast Asian Islamic Organizations Roundtable Conference of Palestine and Lebanon in Facing the Zionist and Anglo-American Imperialism. Among the Islamist groups from Southeast Asia who attended were the Jama’at-i-Islami of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka and others. The Iranian government also sent a senior cleric, Ayatollah Ali Tashkiri, and Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al sent several representatives.
In his opening speech, the moderator of the event, PAS member Dato Yeop Adlan Rose, condemned the Israelis and criticized the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which he described as “impotent.” The conference also placed great emphasis on the need for new platforms for Muslim cooperation, in effect presenting the Islamist groups’ newly formed platform as an alternative to the OIC. At the same time, several ideas that were proposed, including the boycott of Western products and a plan to assemble a team of legal experts to initiate war crime tribunals against the United States and Israeli leaders, were populist measures aimed at gaining ground within the Muslim world.
Following the 2009 Gaza War between the Hamas and Israel, Islamist movements cooperated to assist Muslims in Gaza. Prior to the war, an economic blockade had been imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt. This was after Hamas had gained control of the Gaza Strip following violent street battles with its rival Palestinian faction Fatah. In 2009, several meetings involving Islamist leaders from Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Europe, and Malaysia took place in London in 2009 in order to aid the Palestinians in Gaza. The movements agreed to work closely with international humanitarian aid groups, including the Free Gaza Movement, to break the Israeli blockade. It was also decided that the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), an Islamic NGO with links to the Islamist Sa’adet party in Turkey, would coordinate the efforts of these movements. In May 2010, the IHH and the Free Gaza Movement organized the Gaza flotilla, which was halted by the Israeli security forces. The incident, which led to massive condemnation of Israel and forced Israel to ease the blockade, showed that such collaboration among Islamists could indeed be effective.
Islamist cooperation regarding Palestinian and Lebanese issues is just one of the many ways in which the Islamists are attempting to become an alternative voice to their governments. This strategy is also important as it forges a sense of Muslim unity. The involvement of the PAS and PKS in the hosting these events and their networking with other Islamists is an attempt to create for their respective parties the image of true advocates of Muslim causes. Through this collaboration, Islamist parties have learned from each other, sometimes even adopting the strategies of their fellow Islamist colleagues.
Islamist ideologies first emerged in the late 1920s in the Middle East and South Asia, and had reached Southeast Asia by the 1950s and 1960s. However, it was not until the first wave of Islamist resurgence in the late 1970s that translational ties began to develop among these Islamist networks. The second wave of Islamist resurgence after the September 11 terror attacks led to strategic cooperation on a global scale. As relations between Middle Eastern and South Asian Islamist networks remain strong, this will continue to affect the politics, strategies, policies, and ideologies of Islamists in Southeast Asia.
 This assertion is often made in journalistic articles about Islam in Southeast Asia, but also in some academic works. See Bilveer Singh, The Talibanization of Southeast Asia (Westport, CT: Praegar Security International, 2007); and Sadanand Dhume, My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with an Indonesian Islamist (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2009).
 T.W Arnold, The Preaching of Islam: The History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith (New York: MS Press, 1974); S.Q Fatimi, Islam Comes to Malaysia (Singapore: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 1963). Fatimi supports the theory of Islam having Indian origins. Others such as Syed Naquib al-Attas have supported the Arab theory. See Syed Naquib al-Attas, Preliminary Statement on a General Theory of the Islamization of the Malay-Indonesia Archipelago (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1969). Among those scholars supporting the Chinese origins theory is Cesar Majul Adib. See Cesar Majul Adib, Muslims in the Philippines (Quezon City, Philippines: University of the Philippines Press, 1999).
 Barbara Andaya and Yoneo Ishii, “Religious Developments in Southeast Asia, 1500-1800,” in Nicholas Tsarling (ed.), The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia: From Early Times to 1800, Vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 559. Theorists also differ on the professional backgrounds of these missionaries. Anthony H. Johns supports the view that Sufis played an important role, because Indonesia’s Islamization process coincided with the emergence of Sufism in the Muslim world following the Mongols’ siege of Baghdad. Dispelling this view, Merle Ricklefs notes that no record of Sufi brotherhood was found in the early history of Indonesia. He proffers that missionaries hailed from different backgrounds, including traders and Sufis. However, he does notes the strong presence of mysticism within Islam in Java, which proves that holy men and mystics who claimed to possess special mystical powers could have led people to convert. See Anthony H. Johns, “Islam in Southeast Asia: Reflections and New Directions,” Indonesia, No. 9 (April 1975), pp. 33-55; and Merle Ricklefs, A Modern History of Indonesia Since C. 1200 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).
 These figures were important Muslim reformers who sought to reform Islam to suit the modern context. The best analysis of Afghani’s and Abduh’s ideas can be found in Elie Kedourie, Afghani and `Abduh: An Essay on Religious Unbelief and Political Activism in Modern Islam (London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1966).
 William Roff, The Origins of Malay Nationalism (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: University of Malaya Press, 1967), p. 58.
 Islamic parties in Indonesia captured less than one-third of the votes in the 1955 elections, and the PAS won only one seat in the Malaysian elections held the same year.
 Chandra Muzaffar, Islamic Resurgence in Malaysia (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: Fajar Bakti Sdn. Bhd., 1987), p. 20.
 Among those who went were Abu Bakar Chik and Mustafa Ali. PAS Youth Annual Report, 1981-1982, p.6
 Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, “Politicisation of Malaysian Ulama,” Unpublished paper.
 Interview with a staff member at the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 8, 2010.
 Rizal Sukma, Islam in Indonesian Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2003), p. 46.
 Examples of these materials include magazines Yaum al-Quds and Warits. See Lutfie Assyakaunie, “The Diffusion of Middle Eastern Radicalist Ideas to Indonesia,” Substantia, Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 2009), p. 56.
 ABIM, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia [The Assembly of Malaysian Muslim Youth], (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: Blue T Sdn Bhd, 1996), p. 50.
 Greg Fealy and Anthony Bubalo, Between the Local and the Global: Islamism, the Middle East and Indonesia (Brookings: Saban Center, 2005), p. 59.
 For more on the impact of the Wahhabi petro-dollar on Islamist groups, see Fred R. Von Mehden, Two Worlds of Islam: Interactions Between Southeast Asia and the Middle East (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993), p. 19.
 Sukma, Islam, p. 49. See also Shanti Nair, Islam in Malaysian Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 1997), p. 74.
 It must be noted here that the Muslim Brotherhood founded by Hassan al-Banna was not Salafi in its orientation. Its discourse began to radicalize over the years, partly due to the persecution it faced in Egypt. It became more Salafi in its orientation under the leadership of Sayyid Qutb in the 1960s. The Brotherhood movement referred to in this paper refers to the period after the 1960s. See Carrie Rocefsky Wickham, Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism and Political Change in Egypt (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002).
 Mokhtar Petah, Zulkifli Muhammad: Pelopor Angkatan Islam Di Malaysia [Zulkifli Muhammad: The Inspiration to the Islamic Movement in Malaysia] (Subang Jaya, Selangor: Penerbitan Tra-Tra, 1983), pp. 12-20.
 Interview with Hassan Shukri, August 2004, Gombak, Malaysia. Shukri was one of the ten students sent to Iraq.
 Bulan Bintang [Crescent Moon Magazine], April 1968, p. 9.
 Zainah Anwar, Islamic Revivalism: Dakwah Among the Students (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: Pelanduk Publications, 1987), p. 25.
 Muhammad Kamal Hassan, “The Influence of Mawdudi’s Thoughts on Muslims in Southeast Asia,” The Muslim World, Vol. 93 (July/October 1993), p. 433.
 Muhammad Natsir was Indonesia’s former prime minister and information minister. He was a leader of the Islamist Masyumi party, which was banned in 1965 under the New Order regime. For more on Natsir, see Luth Thohir, M. Natsir: Dakwah dan Pemikirannya [M. Natsir: Proselytizer and Thinker] (Jakarta: Gema Insani, 1999).
 Fealy and Bubalo, Global Islamism, p. 105.
 Any Muhammad Furkon, Partai Keadilan Sejahtera: Ideologi dan Praksis Kaum Muda Muslim Indonesia Kontemporer [Prosperity Justice Party: Ideology and Praxis of Contemporary Indonesian Muslim Youths] (Jakarta: Penerbit Terajau, 2004), p. 124.
 Interview with Amin Lubis, Member of DDII, Jakarta, Indonesia, September 2010.
 Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, “Reviving the Caliphate in the Nusantara: Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia’s Mobilization Strategy and Its Impact in Indonesia,” Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 22, No. 4 (September 2010), p. 610.
 Interview with Zulkifli Mansyah, August 2007, Jakarta, Indonesia.
 Daniel Pipes, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (New York: Basic Books Publisher, 1983), p. 299.
 For a more detailed account of the interactions between Malaysian students and the Brotherhood in Egypt, see Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, “The Politicisation of Malaysian Ulama,” unpublished paper.
 Mona Abaza, Islamic Education Perceptions and Exchanges: Indonesian Students in Cairo (Paris: Association Archipel, 1994).
 Interview with PAS Deputy President Nasharudin Mat Isa, August 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
 Kamal Hassan, “The Influence of Mawdudi’s Thoughts,” p. 435.
 Interview with PAS Secretary General Mustafa Ali, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 2010.
 The PAS’ introductory manuals for its cadres quote heavily from both Brotherhood and Jama’at sources. See Lajnah Tarbiah dan Perkaderan PAS Pusat [PAS’s Department for Cadre and Internal Development], Manhaj Usrah PAS Peringkat 1 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: PAS, 2009).
 Interview with PAS President Hadi Awang, August 2004, Rusila, Malaysia.
 Confidential source.
 PAS Youth Annual Report 1976-1977, p. 36.
 Interview with Hassan Shukri, former PAS deputy president, July 2006, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
 Interview with Dr. Azzam Tamimi, Director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought and Muslim Brotherhood member, July 2007, London, UK.
 See program booklet of the International Gathering for the Solidarity of Muslims, September 1998, Masjid Rusila, Terengganu, p. 9-10.
 Harakah Newspaper, July 19, 1996.
 Interview with PAS Deputy President Nasharudin Mat Isa, August 2004, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia.
 Interview with PKS leader Zulkifli Mansyah, August 2007, Jakarta, Indonesia.
 These views were expressed in Pew Global Attitudes Survey, What the World Thinks in 2002 (Washington, D.C.: Pew Center for Research, 2002), http://people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/165.pdf, pp. 5-10.
 “Justice Party Chairman Condemns Attacks on America,” Antara, September 14, 2001. See also, “PAS Describes Attacks as ‘Heinous Crime,’” New Straits Times, September 13, 2001.
 “Southeast Asia’s Terror Crackdown,” CNN Online, January 11, 2002, http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/asiapcf/southeast/01/07/terror.factbox (accessed January 14, 2002).
 “Nik Aziz: US Threat to Attack Unreasonable,” Bernama, September 23, 2001.
 See for instance, Zubaidah Abu Bakar, “PM Exposes Militant Links,” New Straits Times, August 5, 2001.
 For a detailed discussion on HT in Malaysia and Indonesia, see Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, “Reviving the Caliphate in Malaysia,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 32, No. 7 (July 2009), pp. 646-63; Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, “The Recruitment Strategies of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia,” Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 22, No. 4 (September 2010), pp. 601–22.; Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, “Transnational Network of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia” Southeast Asia Research, Vol. 18, No. 4 (December 2010), pp. 735-755; Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, “An Alternative Islamism: Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia and the Quest for the Caliphate in Malaysia,” in Sophie Lemiere (ed.), From Mosque to the Ballot Box: An Introduction to Islam in Malaysia (Bangkok: IRASEC, 2010).
 Interview with PAS Deputy President Nasharudin Mat Isa, August 2004, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia.
 See Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, “Israel, Lebanon and the Rise of the Islamists,” IDSS Commentaries, No. 88, August 24, 2006.
 The current author attended the event as an observer.
 Ibid., p. 3.
 Interview with Viva Palestina Malaysia activist, August 2010, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in the United Kingdom by Respect Party leader George Galloway, the organization works to assist Palestinians in establishing an independent state. It has branches in several countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia. Most Viva Palestina members in both countries Malaysia and Indonesia are activists in the Islamist parties, including the PAS, PKS, and the PPP.
 Interview with a Sa’adet International Relations Committee member, June 2010, Istanbul, Turkey.