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Guests of GodPilgrimage and Politics in the Islamic World$
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Robert R. Bianchi

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171075

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195171071.001.0001

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Greening the Pancasila State

(p.175) 8 Indonesia
Guests of God

Robert R. Bianchi (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

When Suharto began losing support in the military, he tried to shore up popularity by making the Indonesian hajj the largest in the world and dragging his whole family to Mecca to deflect outrage over their business scandals. His gesture put the pilgrimage in play as a legitimate subject for political debate and manipulation. After Suharto’s downfall, the hajj quickly became one of the most attractive battlegrounds for Muslim politicians competing for votes in Indonesia’s new democracy. All the major Muslim leaders have made the hajj–some of them several times–and all have written about their experiences in ways that are calculated to market their political personas. Indonesia’s current debates over the hajj and its meanings are a microcosm of power struggles in the world’s largest Islamic movements, particularly the Muhammadiyah and the Nahdlatul Ulama.

Keywords:   Suharto, Islamic movements, military, Muhammadiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama

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