My friend Fachrizal had an article published in the Jakarta Post in October challenging the notion that the Indonesian Communist movement was hostile to Islam from its inception.
Fachrizal cites Lenin's appeal to "all labouring Muslims of Russia and the East", and the subsequent support for the Bolsheviks on the part of some Russian Muslims. In Fachrizal's view, this "strategic alliance" was a result of the shared opposition of the Muslims and the Bolsheviks to Western imperialism.
Fachrizal argues that a similar alliance existed in Indonesia between the Communists and the Muslims masses. He concludes that it is time for the Communists' contribution to the formation of modern-day Indonesia to be fully acknowledged.
This is certainly a very interesting take on the issue. The history of cooperation between the Communists and Islamists in the days of Indonesia's struggle for independence is new to me. I do feel, though, that Fachrizal might be somewhat idealistic when he talks about Lenin's attitude towards Russian Muslims. On the other hand, he does acknowledge the fact that Stalin saw no grounds for the compatibility of Islam and Communism. This had a devastating outcome not just for the freedom of conscience of Soviet Muslims, but also in Indonesia, where the pro-Soviet Communists were forced to take an increasingly anti-Islamic stance.