Ahmad Syarif Syechbubakr is a public policy consultant working in Indonesia. He holds a master's degree from the University of Birmingham, where he wrote his thesis on the rise of hadrami religious authority in Palembang, South Sumatra.
Ahmad Syarif Syechbubakr writes that mainstream Muslim organisations have enthusiastically backed government efforts to fight intolerance because they are concerned about conservative groups’ growing popularity, not just their intolerance.
Recent years have seen significant divisions within Indonesia’s two largest Muslim organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah. Ahmad Syarif Syechbubakr looks at the causes of these divisions and how they are affecting the organisations’ religious and political positions.
Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab is Indonesia’s most prominent ‘Habib’ – an honorific title given to Islamic scholars who are descendants of Prophet Muhammad. Ahmad Syarif Syechbubakr traces the origins of the Habib in Indonesia and examines their influence over contemporary Jakarta politics.
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.