The Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has been characterised by some observers and the Indonesian government as being a radical Islamic organisation intent on establishing an Islamic state in northern Sumatra. This article explores GAM's relationship with Islam and shows that while GAM members are devout Muslims and that Islam pervades their political thinking, the organisation and its members are explicitly opposed to the creation of an Islamic state or the imposition of Islamic law. The article reports how senior members of GAM's hierarchy discuss their personal relationship with Islam, noting consistencies and differences in their approaches. A common theme is that Islam provides a motive for the struggle, based on notions of justice and equality, and that these and related aspects of Acehnese political organisation provide the groundwork for a functional form of democracy in Aceh's post-peace settlement environment.
Field of Research
160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Socio Economic Objective
940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified