Oct 182014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07JAKARTA2348.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07JAKARTA2348
2007-08-27 09:52
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Jakarta

VZCZCXRO0670
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2348/01 2390952
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 270952Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5943
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHJA/ISLAMIC CONFERENCE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8105
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4237
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1056
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 3120
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0695
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1682
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002348

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/27/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL ID TH RP
SUBJECT: ISLAMIC LEADER DESIRES CLOSE TIES WITH U.S.; DISCUSSES REGIONAL ROLES

REF: A. A: JAKARTA 02264
¶B. B: JAKARTA 02202

Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Cameron R. Hume for reasons 1.4
(b,d).

¶1. (C) Summary: Ambassador Hume on August 24 paid a
courtesy call on Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah,
Indonesia’s second-largest mass-Muslim organization.
Syamsuddin emphasized his desire for continued dialogue with
the USG and outlined his preferred “inclusive8 approach for
dealing with radical fringe groups. He reviewed his group’s
efforts re southern Thailand and the Philippines. The
Ambassador noted the many interests the USG shares with
Muhammadiyah. End Summary.

================================
Meeting with Muhammadiyah Leader
================================

¶2. (C) Syamsuddin, who heads Indonesia’s second-largest
mass-Muslim organization with an estimated 30 million
members, told the Ambassador on August 24 that he seeks to
establish “sincere, open, and frank dialogue” with the USG in
order to address the widely-held Indonesian view that U.S.
policy is anti-Muslim. He noted the differences among what
he termed as “established” Islamic groups (including
Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama), the “newly-emerged”
Islamic groups which took hold in Indonesia in the 1980s, and
the “so-called radical” groups focused on “rooting out
immorality.” He told the Ambassador that he views the latter
two groups not as threats but “challenges,” and asked for
U.S. support to bring them back into the fold.

¶3. (C) Syamsuddin painted his recent attendance at a
pro-“Caliphate” Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) rally (Reftel
B) and his previous protests against U.S. foreign policy as
pre-emptive means to forestall these groups from taking
matters into their own hands. He said hardliners “misuse
religion,” but Muhammadiyah lacks the ability or desire to
confront them, so instead tries to engage them.

¶4. (C) Ambassador Hume praised Muhammadiyah’s long history of
educating Indonesian youth both here and overseas, commenting
that President Yudhoyono also views exposure to foreign
cultures as an important element in developing mutual
understanding. The Ambassador noted the U.S. and
Muhammadiyah share an interest in reducing threats and
violence by Indonesian hardliners, and he hoped that the U.S.
and Muhammadiyah could find additional ways to cooperate
towards this goal.

================
Regional Efforts
================

¶5. (C) In response to the Ambassador’s query on
Muhammadiyah’s role in southern Thailand (Reftel A),
Syamsuddin said that he had recently visited Thailand and met
with King Bumibol, various military officials, and “500
Muslim leaders.” As a result, Muhammadiyah had agreed to
help teach “progressive Islam” to Thai Muslims in cooperation
with the Thai government. Seventy Thai religious teachers
recently visited Muhammadiyah schools in Yogyakarta in
central Java, and Syamsuddin plans to address a gathering of
Thai students studying in Indonesia.

¶6. (C) Separately, Syamsuddin mentioned that during a recent
trip to Manila he was visited by five Filipino “Moro” Muslim
leaders from Mindanao. He promised them that Muhammadiyah
wants to play a “mediating role” between the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) and the GOP. Representatives from
both sides will come to Jakarta in the near future,
Syamsuddin said.

=====
Media
=====

JAKARTA 00002348 002 OF 002

¶7. (U) Syamsudin and the Ambassador both made brief press
statements following the event. A number of media outlets
covered their remarks. Republika, an Islamic-leaning daily,
reported that Syamsudin blamed radicalism on unfair
treatment meted out by major world powers, including the
U.S., towards the Muslim world, whereas national television
station TVRI highlighted its view that the USG needs to
enhance its understanding of Indonesian Islam.

==================
Playing both sides
==================

¶8. (C) Syamsuddin, one of Indonesia’s most visible civil
society leaders, is involved in dozens of organizations and
NGOs, cutting across the spectrum of Indonesian Islam and
politics. While he publicly denies it, he is probably
positioning himself as a potential vice-presidential
candidate in the 2009 election, leading him to
opportunistically court both moderates and hardliners. His
participation in the HTI rally was unfortunate, but his group
seems to want to play an ameliorating role in southern
Thailand and the Philippines.

HUME

   

 

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