Prabowo Subianto at the 212 Reunion - Photo by Tribunnews

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The big alumni reunion took place again, two years after its founding at the end of 2016. The 212 groups was initiated by the Islamic Community Forum and various other mass organizations.

This action began when there was a controversy over the statement of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok), the former Governor of DKI Jakarta. Finally, a mass Islamic group gathered at the Jakarta national monument, and urged the President to dismiss Ahok and then be punished.

The action then held again on March 31, 2017. Previously, on Nov. 4, 2016, a rallies to defend Islam also took place in the same place. Based on the context, what impact of the 212 event to our nation’s democracy and politics interests today?

Vedi Hadiz (2010, 2016) has identified the emergence of Islamic populism movements in Arabians. According to him, there are a tendency used by “oil-rich countries” to produce ideology of Islamic populism as a resistance to US hegemony.

The appearance of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran is a real manifestation rising of Islamic populism. Similarly, the Islamic populism movement overthrew authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen, which until now has become a symbol of the movement of Islam through the wave of “Arab Spring”, including Indonesia.

The rise of religious-based populism in Indonesia is becoming a new trend. Previously, issues of populism had resonated through the Darul Islam group, and several others. The return of high religious enthusiasm was marked by the rise of mass religious adherents lead the teachings of religion as a moral message, as well as political struggle. The accentuation of religion by middle-class Muslims has undergone a model change which is increasingly interesting to observe.

There is a tendency to return to the “scripturality” of the Al-Qur’an which is mostly lead by Muslims (fundamentalists) in the hope of being able to change the state of modern humanity free from all values ​​again to find a form of social piety. This can be caught from the narratives echoed by the leader of the movement.

However, is this the 212 reunion? It seems that the colossal action cannot be clearly identified as a revival of Indonesian Islamic populism. Apart from the incomplete vision of the movement, and the tendency of politicization by elites, the reunion 212 was nothing more than an instrument of Islamists to fight on the political discourse.

So, the Ahok’s case was made the “gate” for Islamic mass organizations, which had been shackled by authoritarian regimes before. Presumably, Muslims have found “sphere” when the reform wind blew in 1998.

Therefore, when the Jokowi regime, which they called leaders who did not “pro” to the Moslems, criminalized the parsons, and were unable to answer people’s dissatisfaction with various problems of injustice, they stole the stage to revealed their disappointment toward old practices that were harmful the Moslems.

So, even though in reality the actions of the alumni reunions are directly related, or politicized for the sake of the 2019 Presidential Election, for example by the presence of Prabowo Subianto – Sandiaga Uno and team, but implicitly, the movement is not related to the presidential politics.

It could be that both candidates and their supporting parties that used the movement as a momentum to gain a majority vote in the Islamic, besides the Nahdatuh Ulama and Muhammadiyah groups.

Frequently, the movement associated by Subianto – Uno, but the motive of Islamic movement which is not represent in the character and political vision and mission of the presidential candidates.

In other words, Subianto-Uno is not a representation of the 212 struggle. Because, there are latent issues that are not revealed to the public regarding the basic ideology of the alumni. But, the Islam’s symbol has been used as a political commodity of hostile elites.

There are no one knows the agenda of the 212 reunion. Essentially, there is a polarization of interests and a lack of vision between Islamic mass organizations and the partners they support (Subianto-Uno). Because the rise of populism as the 212 alumni is not represent the “Arab Spring” wave as happened in other Islam majority countries.

But we must to be anticipated the infiltration of fundamentalist ideology into the Indonesian Islamics who well-known for culturalism and religion peoples.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: