Friday, June 13, 2008

The Fanatical Islamist

'My Friend the Fanatic - Travels with an Indonesian Islamist' tells the story of Indian journalist Sadanand Dhume's journey across Indonesia in 2004. ( My Friend the Fanatic )

Patung, at Indonesia Matters, has written an excellent review of the book.

The book suggests that, in Indonesia, fanatical Islam may have become a stronger force than globalisation.

The 'Fanatic' is Herry Nurdi who reportedly worries about Christian evangelists, Mossad, Zionists, freemasons and George Bush.

Dhume tells us that 'fanatics' like Nurdi do not like Yudhoyono, the former Suharto general who became Indonesia's president in 2004.

Herry believes that the American-trained Yudhoyono is backed by America.

Herry prefers General Wiranto, whose wife has worn full Islamic dress, including the headscarf.

Herry comes across as someone who is quite likeable but somewhat poorly educated and somewhat naive, especially about people like Wiranto.

Herry seems not to have considered that members of the rich elite promote Islamisation in order to keep themselves in power.

(Wiranto was once seen as secular and very close to the Pentagon. Reportedly he masterminded the East Timor rampage - Foreign Policy In Focus Global Affairs Commentary Paul ...) /

Dhume refers in his book to 'the cheaply earned moral smugness of the jilbab' (headscarf) .... 'shorthand in my mind for some education and little imagination.'

Patung, in his review, writes:

"The impression one gets is of people spending so much of their energy building more and more mosques, then walking to the mosques, going through the prescribed motions in them, and walking back from them, many times a day.

"Meanwhile the peoples of comparable nations like Vietnam, China and India are said to be beavering away learning science and building factories."

Patung writes:

"The overall message of the book is that Islamist political and cultural forces are gaining the upper hand in Indonesia, most starkly seen in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Justice Party (PKS) ... still a fairly minor party."

(The Muslim Brotherhood reportedly has links to the CIA, something which the 'Fanatic' would not know. aangirfan: The Muslim Brotherhood and the CIA in Indonesia; the ... / aangirfan: The use of the Muslim Brotherhood by MI6 and the CIA in ... )

Patung writes that the influence of the PKS may be exaggerated:

"It is said that South Sulawesi is a 'stronghold' of the PKS.

"However it would be far more accurate to say that the province is a stronghold of Golkar (Suharto's party).

"...But a minor complaint... It is a highly well written and entertaining read, My Friend the Fanatic is more than recommended."

Read other reviews of the book at Dhume’s website,

The use of militant Moslems in Russia, China, India & Indonesia.


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