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Session Submission Type: Organized Panel
Indonesian Islam is often claimed to be different from Islamic traditions elsewhere due to Java’s Hindu and Buddhist past, the merchant influence on Islam's arrival, or the dominance of mass organizations like Nahdlatul Ulama. Yet, since Indonesia’s democratization, this view has come to be increasingly questioned—if not entirely disregarded—as liberalization was followed by the passing of shari’a¬ inspired legislation and visible intolerance to minorities. As a result, Indonesian Islam and democracy have come under critical scrutiny.
Extending that scrutiny, the papers on this interdisciplinary panel are united by a shared desire to challenge and to look beyond assumptions of Indonesian exceptionalism. Drawing on ethnographic observations in Jakarta and Washington DC, James Hoesterey shows how “moderate Islam” is constituted and contested through religious outreach and public diplomacy. Using newly collected archival and interview material on intra¬-Muslim conflicts from 1925¬-2014, Jessica Soedirgo demonstrates that the persecution of Ahmadiyah and Shi’a communities is rooted in long-standing competition between local elites rather than solely a product of democratization and new international trends.
Jeremy Menchik draws on a diachronic case study of Indonesian law to demonstrate that the sacralizing of the state predates the democratic transition and constitutes a overlooked counterpart to the much celebrated inclusion and moderation of Islamic parties. Against claims of Islamization and drawing on newly collected interviews, Kikue Hamayotsu contends that anti¬-minority mass mobilization is primarily the result of political and religious elites’ quest for power in order to secure their survival in the face of a perceived threats.
Proximity as Threat: Sectarianism in Indonesia - Jessica Soedirgo, University of Toronto
Crafting Indonesian Democracy: Inclusion-Moderation and the Sacralizing of the Postcolonial State - Jeremy M. Menchik, Boston University
Rebranding Islam: Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, and the Making of “Moderate Islam” in Indonesia - James B. Hoesterey, Emory University
Religious Freedom for All? State, Islam and Religious Conflict in Indonesia - Kikue Hamayotsu, Northern Illinois University