Category: Religion

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.

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.

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.

On 23 March, Indonesia bid farewell to a giant of Islamic organisation Nahdulatul Ulama (NU), Hasyim Muzadi. Associate Professor Greg Fealy remembers a leader who was a highly competent administrator but one who was always cautious, and indeed conservative, in his pronouncements.

The expansion of the middle class in Indonesia has been accompanied by a rise in Islamic consumerism. Dr Inaya Rakhmani examines dominant narratives in Islamic-themed television programs, writing that the commercialisation of Islam has encouraged ideas and beliefs that aggravate rather than moderate social divisions.

Following the massive rallies against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over alleged blasphemy, one might assume that religion was the most important factor influencing the intended voting behaviour of Jakarta residents. But a study conducted by Nathanael Gratias Sumaktoyo demonstrates that it is not as dominant as the recent rallies suggest.

How much is the controversy around Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama related to his ethnicity and religion and how much is it about popular politics in Indonesia today? How has Ahok’s own political style played a part? Dr Jemma Purdey discusses these issues and more with Professor Ariel Heryanto in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

In our final post for 2016, we send off this rather depressing year by taking a look back at some of the expert commentary and analysis published on Indonesia at Melbourne. Thanks again for your loyal readership and support, and we look forward to seeing you again in mid-January.

Apakah signifikansi “Aksi Bela Islam III” secara politik dan agama? Apakah besarnya demonstrasi tersebut adalah bukti lebih lanjut tentang penguatan konservatisme Islam di Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy menyajikan analisa mendalam tentang demo 2 Desember dan konsekuensinya bagi demokrasi Indonesia.

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.

What is the political and religious significance of the massive protest to “defend Islam” in Central Jakarta on 2 December? Does the huge turnout indicate a hardening of mainstream Muslim attitudes in Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy presents a comprehensive analysis of the events of 2 December and their consequences for Indonesian democracy.

On 16 November, police declared Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, a suspect for blasphemy over a speech he made in which he quoted a verse from the Qur’an. Why have Ahok’s comments provoked such an intense reaction in Indonesia, and what can we learn from this case about the position of non-Muslims and ethnic Chinese Indonesians in Indonesian democracy? Dr Dave McRae speaks to Dr Nadirsyah Hosen about the case.