Emotive Politics: Islamic Organizations and Religious Mobilization in Indonesia
- Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 40, Number 2, August 2018
- pp. 196-221
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The rise of political Islam in Indonesia is a conundrum due to the fact that although Islam is increasingly gaining ground in Indonesian politics, Islamist political parties do not receive many votes. If not political parties, what explains the prevalence of the Islamic agenda? This article stresses the role of Islamic mass organizations (ormas Islam) as the key driver for mobilizing Islamic agendas in the political arena. Islamist groups gain political influence by leveraging their moral authority, organizational capacity and brokerage networks with state actors. In particular, this article highlights emotive appeals as an important mechanism through which Islamist groups mobilize popular political support at the local level. Islamic organizations build popular support over certain political issues through the reproduction of impassioned narratives that are portrayed and diffused as everyday religious practices. This argument is illustrated by two case studies: the mass mobilization during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election and the implementation of sharia-based regulations.