Why do women join extremist networks? What roles do they play in these networks? Dr Dirk Tomsa discusses these questions and more with Nava Nuraniyah in the latest episode of Talking Indonesia.

While former Muslim militants swap bullets for ballots in Central Sulawesi, a community in West Nusa Tenggara appears to be going the other way, write Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, Irsyad Rafsadie and Siswo Mulyartono.

In the 2014 elections, one of Joko Widodo’s key advantages was that he was not Prabowo Subianto. This time around, writes Professor Tim Lindsey, Prabowo’s main advantage is simply that he is not Jokowi.

Former militia and released terrorists have turned to democratic means to advance their agenda in Central Sulawesi, write Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, Irsyad Rafsadie and Siswo Mulyartono.

Over recent weeks, supporters of both President Joko Widodo and his opponent, Prabowo Subianto, have attempted to frame the contest as an ideological battle between communism and a caliphate. This is far too simplistic, writes Dr Nadirsyah Hosen.

Professor Vedi Hadiz offers his take on the Indonesian elections, writing that the long election season has rarely been about contests between outright reformers and outright reactionaries, or between outright secularists and outright Islamists.

Indonesians were stunned over the weekend by photos of kindergarten students dressed as violent extremists. Lies Marcoes writes that while the choice of costume was disturbing, the fact that something like this could happen in an Indonesian kindergarten was not a surprise.

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.