Ethnic Chinese make up an estimated 1-2 per cent of Indonesia’s population. Of this group, a tiny minority are Muslim. As such, ethnic Chinese Muslims occupy a unique and significant position where the religious majority intersects with this ethnic minority, which has long assumed a role of economic middleman and been used as political scapegoat. In many ways, Chinese Muslims in Indonesia disturb both their religious and ethnic identity groups. At its best, their position in society serves to highlight the inclusivity and diversity possible within Indonesian nationalism, and at its worst, to expose the undeniable limitations therein.
Who are Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese Muslims? What is their history and situation in contemporary Indonesia? Is there a Chinese way of being Muslim? What can their story tell us about religious tolerance and cultural diversity in Indonesia today?
In this week’s podcast Jemma Purdey explores these issues with Dr Hew Wai Weng, a fellow in the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, National University of Malaysia (UKM).
In 2018, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.
Photo by Masjid Cheng Ho.