The film Indonesia: The Invisible Giant explains how Islam arrived and influenced the cultures and values of the local people. The video describes the historical background of Indonesia and its hard lessons of democracy. Indonesia is the third-largest democracy with six recognized national religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, and Islam. Muslim merchants interacted with other traders from Indonesia through the Silk Road, spreading the Islamic faith to the land. It entered the country in the 11th century and influenced pre-existing religions.
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Islam played a significant role in the resistance to Dutch colonialism and the development of Indonesia. For centuries, the Muslim kingdoms influenced the nation through their princes, princesses, sultans, and sultanas. A lot of local authorities were converted to Islam, forging more meaningful commercial bonds with foreign traders. During the colonization, the Indonesian Muslims belonged to very structured organizations that contributed to people’s emancipation and resistance to the Dutch leadership (Terranoa,2018). This created a sense of belonging to the same profound nation that unified the country more. They share a common language, culture, and history that made it easy to organize political resistance and mass protest.
The Islamic religion heavily influenced the development of Sukarno’s power. He was close to the Serakat Islam organization and the Social Democratic Party, which became the Indonesian communist party. Suharto’s grip on power resulted from the emasculation of civil society that was engineered by Islam’s elections and military authorities. During Post World War II, Islam responded to the communism in Indonesia by installing the Pro US Suharto regime. The Islamic youth movements became prominent, crushing most secular liberal opponents and allowing the religious extremists to lead the revolution.
Terranoa. (2018). Indonesia, The Invisible Giant. Documentary Film.