Posts Tagged ‘indonesia radical islam’
Late last week, I published an article with World Politics Review looking at the threat that radical Islam presents to democracy in Indonesia.
I particularly highlighted Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s timidity in the face of the rise of Islamic extremism. The analysis is based on trends in the country as well as a presentation given to the Fletcher School’s ASEAN Society by Syafi’i Anwar, a senior research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and an Indonesian religious activist, who considers radical Islam to be “the No. 1 threat” to the future Indonesian democracy.
The full article is only available to subscribers after a period of time, but let me just mention two brief paragraphs to offer an idea of what I argued.
The evidence [for the rise of religious extremism] is damning. According to the Setara Institute, religious intolerance is on the rise in Indonesia, with a 30 percent increase in documented acts of violence and discrimination from 2009 and 2010 — from 93 to 135, respectively. Most of these have included attacks on minority religious groups and their houses of worship as well as incitements of hatred through public statements. For instance, since Yudhoyono came to power in 2004, Muslim extremists have burned, attempted to shut down or opposed the construction of hundreds of churches. They have also conducted increasingly bold attacks against the minority Muslim sect Ahmadiyah, with 50 acts documented last year alone.
The Indonesian government’s attitude toward these groups has been timid and even accommodating at times. Instead of cracking down on radical Islamists, Yudhoyono decreed the victimized Ahmadiyah sect heretical in 2008 and banned the group from converting fresh members. He also remained silent while Suryadharma Ali, his minister of religious affairs, called for the group to be banned entirely and while several provinces imposed further restrictions on the group at the local level. In a particularly vivid illustration of injustice, Indonesian courts doled out suspiciously light sentences earlier this year for Muslim extremists who, as part of a mob wielding clubs and machetes, killed three Ahmadiyah members. The state’s feeble response has only emboldened rather than accommodated Indonesia’s Islamic radicals.
The web link to the piece is here.