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Contemporary Developments in Indonesian Islam

Explaining the "Conservative Turn"

edited by Martin van Bruinessen

Publication Year: 2013

"Once celebrated in the Western media as a shining example of a 'liberal' and 'tolerant' Islam, Indonesia since the end of the Soeharto regime (May 1998) has witnessed a variety of developments that bespeak a conservative turn in the country’s Muslim politics. In this timely collection of original essays, Martin van Bruinessen, our most distinguished senior Western scholar of Indonesian Islam, and four leading Indonesian Muslim scholars explore and explain these developments. Each chapter examines recent trends from a strategic institutional perch: the Council of Indonesian Muslim scholars, the reformist Muhammadiyah, South Sulawesi's Committee for the Implementation of Islamic Shari'a, and radical Islamism in Solo. With van Bruinessen's brilliantly synthetic introduction and conclusion, these essays shed a bright light on what Indonesian Muslim politics was and where it seems to be going. The analysis is complex and by no means uniformly dire. For readers interested in Indonesian Muslim politics, and for analysts interested in the dialectical interplay of progressive and conservative Islam, this book is fascinating and essential reading."—Robert Hefner, Director, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, Boston University

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Cover Page

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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

List of Indonesian Muslim Organizations and Institutions

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pp. vii-xxiv


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pp. xxv-xxvi


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pp. xxvii-xxxii

About the Contributors

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pp. xxxiii-xxxiv

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1. Introduction: Contemporary Developments in Indonesian Islam and the "Conservative Turn" of the Early Twenty-First Century

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pp. 1-20

Developments in Indonesia since the fall of Soeharto in 1998 have greatly changed the image of Indonesian Islam and the existing perception of Indonesian Muslims as tolerant and inclined to compromise. In the heyday of the New Order, the 1970s and 1980s, Indonesian Islam had presented a smiling face — perhaps appropriately so, under an authoritarian ruler...

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2. Overview of Muslim Organizations, Associations and Movements in Indonesia

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pp. 21-59

Indonesian Islam is characterized by an unusually high degree of organization. The two largest Muslim associations, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), which have long dominated Muslim social life and educational activities in Indonesia, are probably the largest and most complex organizations of the entire Muslim world. Their claims of representing tens of millions of...

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3. Towards a Puritanical Moderate Islam: The Majelis Ulama Indonesia and the Politics of Religious Orthodoxy

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pp. 60-104

The collapse of the Soeharto regime in 1998 led to the opening up of previously unimaginable political opportunities and transformations in Indonesian society. The Reformasi (reformation) movement demanded democratization, good governance, and the empowerment of civil society. Most existing Muslim organizations redefined their orientation and...

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4. Liberal and Conservative Discourses in the Muhammadiyah: The Struggle for the Face of Reformist Islam in Indonesia

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pp. 105-144

Since the conquest of Mecca by the Wahhabis in 1924, the Muhammadiyah has often been associated with the Wahhabi movement.1 This perception is partly due to the similarities between the efforts made by the Wahhabi and Indonesian reformists to purify religious beliefs and practices through the eradication of elements considered external to Islam, opposition to ...

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5. The Politics of Shariah: The Struggle of the KPPSI in South Sulawesi

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pp. 145-189

Since the fall of Soeharto in 1998, Indonesia has been developing into a democratic polity. Indeed, it could be argued that Indonesia is the most democratic Muslim country in the world today. At the same time, the country has witnessed the emergence of various Islamic groups, particularly those with militant tendencies, in the public sphere. Although many of...

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6. Mapping Radical Islam: A Study of the Proliferation of Radical Islam in Solo, Central Java

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pp. 190-223

Solo is a unique city.1 Previously known as the centre of the great Islamic Mataram Kingdom, Solo is also well known as the heartland of Javanese culture, a culture into which Islam has been mixed. The people of Solo are famous for their distinctive behaviour, graciousness and refined manners, besides their gorgeous batiks.2 These characteristics also permeate their...

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7. Postscript: The Survival of Liberal and Progressive Muslim Thought in Indonesia

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pp. 224-232

The developments discussed in this volume appear to have marginalized liberal and progressive Muslim discourses, which in the 1980s and 1990s had been favoured by the regime and had received much sympathetic coverage in the press. The New Order’s Ministers of Religious Affairs, notably Munawir Syadzali (1982–92), strongly endorsed liberal religious...


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pp. 233-240

E-ISBN-13: 9789814414579
Print-ISBN-13: 9789814414562

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1