Category: Analysis

The government’s recent announcement that it planned to ban Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) has won support but also criticism, over fears of growing restrictions on freedom of association and assembly. Eryanto Nugroho writes that whatever happens, only acts, not thoughts and concepts should be banned.

Police named Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab a suspect in a high-profile pornography case on Monday. Dr Helen Pausacker writes that while many of his opponents would like to see him behind bars, there is little legal justification for charging him under the Pornography Law.

President Joko Widodo’s apparent lack of interest in ASEAN is a result of his short-term and pragmatic approach to policy making, writes Randy Nandyatama. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have an important role to play in explaining ASEAN’s relevance and its connection to his political agenda.

Over the past century, Kartini has been mythologised, misused and misread. Dr Joost Coté, a researcher and adviser on the recent film bearing her name, writes that despite her status as a national feminist icon, there is actually little factual historical information about Kartini.

The conviction for blasphemy of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was not a surprise, writes Professor Tim Lindsey. What was surprising was that the judges decided to follow the usual pattern in blasphemy cases when the case before them was so very unusual.

Over the past month, a number of dramatic arrests have brought LGBT Indonesians back into the spotlight. Hendri Yulius writes that the publication of these “extreme” episodes is necessary to perpetuate the idea of a moral panic, and to serve a justification for the wars against LGBT people to continue.

In a decision that shocked many, judges last week sentenced former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy. Dr Stewart Fenwick, who recently completed a book on the Blasphemy Law, writes that the case demonstrates how the law and the courts can be exploited for political and religious purposes.

Indonesia had its human rights record scrutinised under the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review process for the third time last week. Dr Ken Setiawan takes a look at the concerns raised and examines the prospects for meaningful change in promotion and protection of human rights on the ground.

The recent protests against Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama saw groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI)
come to the fore, while mainstream Muslim organisations Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah saw their influence wane. Ahmad Syarif Syechbubakr writes that NU and Muhammadiyah leaders need to rethink their approach.

Amnesty International recently released its 2016 report on the death penalty, finding that while executions decreased in Indonesia, at least 60 new death sentences were handed down. Ricky Gunawan and Raynov Tumorang Pamintori write that while there is plenty to be concerned about, there are some encouraging signs of change.

Many observers have suggested that the win of Anies Baswedan in the Jakarta gubernatorial election last week has set the stage for the ongoing exploitation of religious and ethnic sentiment in Indonesian politics. According to Dr Dina Afrianty, however, most post-election analyses have failed to consider what the election result means for Indonesian women.

Anies Baswedan will be the next governor of Jakarta, following a bitterly fought campaign against Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama. Make no mistake, Professor Tim Lindsey writes, it was the mobilisation of racial and religious hatred achieved by his enemies that led to Ahok’s defeat in this election.