Category: Religion

After leading massive protests against former Jakarta Governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama, the past few months have seen the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) doggedly pursuing individuals who have criticised the organisation online. Sana Jaffrey and Siswo Mulartono look at the significance of this phenomenon and explain why is it likely to continue.

The recent Jakarta gubernatorial election saw the mobilisation of religious sentiment on a massive scale. Postgraduate students Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir, Lukman-nul Hakim and Diatyka Widya Permata Yasih look at the growing use of identity politics in Indonesian electoral democracy.

On 9 May, judges sentenced Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy, surprising many, as prosecutors had not pursued a custodial sentence. Professor Simon Butt presents a legal analysis of the decision. What arguments did the court hear and what did it accept?

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.

What has spurred the government to attempt to ban Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), what would be the likely impact of such a ban, and what are the challenges for the government in regulating extremist speech and ideology? Dr Dave McRae explores these issues with Sidney Jones, in the latest episode of the Talking Indonesia podcast.

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.