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Friday, June 2, 2017

Indonesia's Five Principles

Burung Garuda, Indonesia's national emblem, the eagle


Yesterday was Indonesia's Pancasila Day. In 1945, the future President Sukarno promulgated Pancasila as the foundational philosophical theory of this diverse archipelago, henceforth to be called Indonesia.

Every Indonesian, every schoolchild knows what the five principles are; they are thoroughly ingrained and taught in the education system.

The first of those Five Principles - Pancasila - used to read "Ketuhanan dengan kewajiban menjalankan syariah Islam bagi pemeluk-pemeluknya" ("Belief in Almighty God with the obligation for its Muslim adherents to carry out the Islamic law/Syari'ah"), but subsequently had "with the obligation for its Muslim adherents to carry out the Islamic law/Syari'ah" deleted from it. This left the first sila to simply read "Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa" and made it inclusive of all religions.


Bhinneka Tunggal Ika - Unity in Diversity

  1. A Divinity that is an ultimate unity (in Indonesian "Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa")
  2. A just and civilized humanity (in Indonesian "Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab")
  3. The national unity of Indonesia (in Indonesian "Persatuan Indonesia")
  4. Democracy predicated on the inherent wisdom of unanimity arising from deliberation among popular representatives (in Indonesian "Kerakyatan Yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan, Dalam Permusyawaratan Perwakilan")
  5. Social justice for all Indonesian people (in Indonesian "Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia")


And so Indonesian Islam has for a long time been the same birth-marriage-death affair as we have it in the West: we follow our religion in our ceremonies of birth, marriage, and death, but otherwise live a fairly secular life.

However, recent events in Indonesia suggest that this pluralism is under threat: former Jakarta Mayor Ahok received a two-year sentence after being found guilty of blasphemy, and two gay men were caned in the province of Aceh and a gay sex party in Jakarta was raided.

Right on cue, ABC Radio National broadcast an interesting program. Listen to it here.