Talking Indonesia: regulating Islamic preachers

Growing religious conservatism in Indonesia has turned some Islamic preachers into minor celebrities and influential political power-brokers. The government has expressed concern about these developments, especially after conservative preachers took leading roles in the protests against former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in late 2016 and early 2017.


Are these concerns warranted? What role do preachers actually play in local communities? And how realistic are proposals to regulate preaching in Indonesia? In today’s podcast, Dr Dirk Tomsa discusses these and other questions with Professor Julian Millie, an anthropologist and Professor of Indonesian Studies at Monash University in Melbourne. Professor Millie has just written a policy paper on the regulation of Islamic preachers with Dede Syarif and Moch Fakhruroji, published by the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society (CILIS) at Melbourne Law School.


In 2020, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University and the Australia-Indonesia Centre, and Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University.


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


Photo by Julian Millie.


Dirk Tomsa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy at La Trobe University.