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Islamic Authenticity and Uncivil Society in Indonesia - Sponsored by the Indonesia Timor Leste Studies Committee (ITLSC)

Thu, March 31, 7:30 to 9:30pm, Washington State Convention Center, 6th Floor, Room 602

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel


The relationships between civil society, incivil discourse, and an uncivil society can be seen at different times in Indonesian society. The efforts of the reformation era to create a civil society gave rise to a freedom of press that allowed the emergence of incivil discourse against minority groups such as the Ahmadiyya and Shia. Greater freedom of the press and of speech has also meant more competing voice about Islamic authenticity. Authenticity discourses are marginalizing discourses; for one approach to be authentic, all others must be false. This panel examines a number of different cases that address different aspects of these issues. Early in Indonesia, authenticity discourses examined the relationship between communism and Islam. In the 1980s, young Indonesian men were drawn to mujahidin groups fighting as acts of piety, that is as a way to be find a more authentic Islam. More recently, MUI has established its own authenticity by undermining the authenticity of Ahmadiyya. It is not only more hardline approaches that contribute to uncivil society by claiming authenticity (and thereby denying it for others). The young men’s movement within Nahdlatul Ulama makes claims to authenticity that attempt to undermine the authenticity of hardline groups.

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