Photo by Masjid Pogung Dalangan from Unsplash.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim majority country in the world, but it is not an Islamic state. The place of Islam within the state has been contested over the years, with proponents for and against a larger role for Islam in government and in the lives of citizens.

The groups who advocate for a more prominent role for Islam occupy a wide spectrum of ideologies, approaches, and tactics. In the post-Soeharto era, terrorist acts have drawn attention through a handful of small, but committed, jihadist organisations mounting bombings at a variety of sites including churches, hotels, and, perhaps most famously, Balinese bars.

In this episode we talk about pathways to extremism. Why do some people gravitate towards, and join, religious extremist organisations? How can we understand the difference between extremist and terrorist groups? And what important role do social relationships play in facilitating memberships and networks in this context?

In this week’s episode, Elisabeth Kramer chats with guest Dr Julie Chernov Hwang, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Goucher College in Maryland. She’s especially interested in how social networks facilitate entry into and exit from jihadist groups in Southeast Asia. She’s the author of a number of books including Why Terrorists Quit, published by Cornell University Press in 2018 and her most recent book is Becoming Jihadis: Radicalization and Commitment in Southeast Asia, published this year by Oxford University Press.

In 2023, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Elisabeth Kramer from the University of New South Wales, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Tito Ambyo from RMIT and Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


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