Ihsan Ali Fauzi

Ihsan Ali Fauzi is director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Democracy (PUSAD) Paramadina and a lecturer at Paramadina Graduate School.

Former State Secretary and Islamic scholar Djohan Effendi died in Geelong, Victoria, on 17 November after a long illness. His former student Ihsan Ali-Fauzi remembers a quietly principled man who was committed to challenging religious exclusivism.

Police Chief Tito Karnavian has said that about AU$7.65 million was spent on security for the rallies to “defend Islam” on 4 November and 2 December. But as Ihsan Ali-Fauzi writes, these material costs are only part of the picture. Of far greater significance is that the protests have eroded the foundations of democracy and undermined the influence of “moderate” Muslim leaders.

Images of a woman pleading with officials as they confiscated food she was selling went viral over the weekend. Netizens were furious and donated almost $27,000 in support of the woman. Ihsan Ali-Fauzi writes that the case is a chance for the central government to send a strong message to local governments that it is serious, and able, to act against intolerance and discrimination.