Williams, “Indonesia, Islam, and the International Political Economy”

This month, Routledge releases “Indonesia, Islam, and the International Political Economy: Clash or Cooperation?” by Mark Williams (Vancouver Island University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The Republic of Indonesia is a rising great power in the Asia-Pacific, set to become the eighth largest economy in the world in the coming decades. It is the most 9780415788878populous Muslim majority country in the world. The largest Islamic organizations and parties have supported Indonesia’s participation with global markets, but this has not come from an ideological support for capitalism or economic liberalization. Islamic political culture has denounced the injustices caused by global capitalism and its excesses. In fact, support for Indonesia’s engagement with the international political economy is born from political pragmatism, and from Indonesia’s struggles to achieve economic development.

This book examines the role of Islamic identity in Indonesia’s foreign economic relations and in its engagement with the world order. There is no single expression of Islam in Indonesia, the politics espoused by Islamic parties and organizations are far from monolithic. Islamic sentiment has been invoked by the state to justify heinous acts of brutality, as well as by violent, subnational revolutionary groups. However, these expressions of Islam have deviated from the dominant narrative, which is in favour of international cooperation and economic development. Economic exploitation, political alienation, financial volatility, and aggression toward Muslims around the world that has caused some Islamic groups to radicalize. The political culture of Islam in Indonesia is a social force that is helping to foster a peaceful rise for Indonesia. However, a peaceful expression of Islam is not inevitable for the republic, nor can it be assumed that Islamic identity in Indonesia will unwaveringly support the global economic order, regardless of what might occur in global politics.

“Religion, Law and Intolerance in Indonesia” (Lindsey & Pausacker, eds.)

In May, Routledge released “Religion, Law and Intolerance in Indonesia,” edited by Tim Lindsey (University of Melbourne) and Helen Pausacker (University of Melbourne).  The publisher’s description follows:

Despite its overwhelmingly Muslim majority, Indonesia has always been seen as exceptional for its diversity and pluralism. In recent years, however, there has been a 9781138100879rise in “majoritarianism”, with resurgent Islamist groups pushing hard to impose conservative values on public life – in many cases with considerable success. This has sparked growing fears for the future of basic human rights, and, in particular, the rights of women and sexual and ethnic minority groups. There have, in fact, been more prosecutions of unorthodox religious groups since the fall of Soeharto in 1998 than there were under the three decades of his authoritarian rule. Some Indonesians even feel that the pluralism they thought was constitutionally guaranteed by the national ideology, the Pancasila, is now under threat. This book contains essays exploring these issues by prominent scholars, lawyers and activists from within Indonesia and beyond, offering detailed accounts of the political and legal implications of rising resurgent Islamism in Indonesia. Examining particular cases of intolerance and violence against minorities, it also provides an account of the responses offered by a weak state that now seems too often unwilling to intervene to protect vulnerable minorities against rising religious intolerance.

Qurtuby, “Religious Violence and Conciliation in Indonesia”

In March, Routledge will release “Religious Violence and Conciliation in Indonesia: Christians and Muslims in the Moluccas” by Sumanto Al Qurtuby (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia). The publisher’s description follows:

Maluku in eastern Indonesia is the home to Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics who had for the most part been living peaceably since the sixteenth century. In 1999, brutal conflicts broke out between local Christians and Muslims, and escalated into large-scale communal violence once the Laskar Jihad, a Java-based armed jihadist Islamic paramilitary group, sent several thousand fighters to Maluku. As a result of this escalated violence, the previously stable Maluku became the site of devastating interreligious wars.

This book focuses on the interreligious violence and conciliation in this region. It examines factors underlying the interreligious violence as well as those shaping post-conflict peace and citizenship in Maluku. The author shows that religion—both Islam and Christianity—was indeed central and played an ambiguous role in the conflict settings of Maluku, whether in preserving and aggravating the Christian-Muslim conflict or supporting or improving peace and reconciliation.

Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and interviews as well as historical and comparative research on religious identities, this book is of interest to Indonesia specialists, as well as academics with an interest in anthropology, religious conflict, peace and conflict studies.

Menchik, “Islam and Democracy in Indonesia”

In November, Cambridge University Press will release “Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: Tolerance without Liberalism” by Jeremy Menchik (Boston University). The publisher’s description follows:

Indonesia’s Islamic organizations sustain the country’s thriving civil society, democracy, and reputation for tolerance amid diversity. Yet scholars poorly understand how these organizations envision the accommodation of religious difference. What does tolerance mean to the world’s largest Islamic organizations? What are the implications for democracy in Indonesia and the broader Muslim world? Jeremy Menchik argues that answering these questions requires decoupling tolerance from liberalism and investigating the historical and political conditions that engender democratic values. Drawing on archival documents, ethnographic observation, comparative political theory, and an original survey, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia demonstrates that Indonesia’s Muslim leaders favor a democracy in which individual rights and group-differentiated rights converge within a system of legal pluralism, a vision at odds with American-style secular government but common in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.

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