Islamic hardliners backpedal after national figures slam ‘NKRI bersyariah’

Detik News – August 12, 2019
4h Ijtimak Ulama in Bogor – August 5, 2019 (JPNN)
4h Ijtimak Ulama in Bogor – August 5, 2019 (JPNN)

Jakarta – The creation of NKRI bersyariah – the Unitary Islamic State of the Republic of Indonesia – one of the recommendations of the 4th Ijtimak Ulama or assembly of Islamic clerics has attracted controversy and opposition.

The 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) – one of the groups behind the Ijtimak Ulama – says that the recommendation to create NKRI bersyariah is just “term” and does not conflict with Pancasila.

PA 212 Chairperson for Islamic Community Affairs Haikal Hassan says that NKRI bersyariah would still faithful to the state ideology of Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945). He gave as an example the application of syariah (Islamic law) which is already in place in daily life.

NKRI bersyariah, yes of course, how could there not be Islamic law. Haven’t you experienced it, today we already have Islamic law. There’s syariah banks, there’s syariah funding, also syariah marriage. It’s just a term”, said Hassan at the Grand Sahid Hotel in Central Jakarta on Monday August 12.

Hassan asserted that what they mean by the word syariah is obedience to Allah and NKRI bersyariah does not mean abolishing Pancasila or the UUD 1945.

“So don’t just assume that NKRI bersyariah means Pancasila will disappear just like that, no. The UUD ‘45 disappears? No. It’s a term meaning we obey Allah the almighty God. It’s still the Indonesian nation, but obeying the Islamic law of Allah the God almighty, right?”, he continued.

Hassan explained that the 4th Ijtimak Ulama in Bogor on August 5 did not result in refusing to acknowledge the government, but rather to maintain a distance from it. Maintaining a distance from the government, according to Hassan, also means being the opposition.

“Not not acknowledging (the government), don’t misunderstand. Go back and read the sentence again, maintaining a distance. Why maintaining distance, because we have chosen to remain in opposition. Please, maintaining a distance means being the opposition, we’re maintaining a distance so we can monitor”, he said.

“If you’re inside you can’t do this. That’s the translation, it’s not not acknowledging [the government], if you don’t acknowledge [the government] how can we be an independent [country], how could we be able to stand on our own feet, it’s not like that”, he said.

So Hassan says that recommending NKRI syariah does not conflict with the ideology of Pancasila. “It doesn’t exist. There’s no conflict (with Pancasila)”, he said.


One of the resolutions coming out of the 4th Ijtimak Ulama in Bogor on August 5 was calling on the Islamic community (umat) to create a Unitary Islamic State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI bersyariah) based on Pancasila. The recommendation has been widely slammed by a number of national figures including Defense Minister Ryzamizard Ryacudu, prominent Nahdlatul Ulama (the country’s biggest Islamic organisation) figure Salahuddin Wahid (Gus Solah), Suharto era vice president Try Sutrisno, National Awakening Party (PKB) Central Committee Chairperson Abdul Kadir Karding, Muhammadiyah (the second-largest Islamic organisation) Central Committee Chairperson Haedar Nashir, Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) Chairperson Jimly Asshiddiqie and the Nawacita National Guard Committee who held a rally against NKRI bersyariah in Central Jakarta on August 9.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “NKRI Bersyariah Dijanjikan Cuma Istilah”.]