Indonesia | Economics

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Islam in Indonesia


The Economist writes this sobering piece on Islam in Indonesia:
In Indonesia, unlike most Muslim countries, the ideological struggle between various forms of Islam is being fought largely by democratic means. The violent and the intolerant are still at the margins and, while the country's steady progress persists, look likely to stay there.

Saiful Mujani, an Indonesian political scientist, could have told you that years ago. From his article (co-authored with Bill Liddle) in the New York Times almost half a decade ago, a year after the Bali bombing:
Surely, with attacks like [the Bali and Marriott Hotel bombing], politically militant Islam is on the rise in Indonesia?

Surprisingly, the answer is no. Survey and election results show that the number of Islamists, Muslims who want an Islamic state, is no more than 15 percent of the total Indonesian Muslim population of 200 million. The remaining 85 percent are moderately or strongly opposed to an Islamic state. Most important and least recognized in the current climate of fear in the non-Muslim world, Islamism as a political ideology appears to be losing ground in Indonesia, not gaining it.

[I was annoyed he didn't get interviewed for the article, but anyway]. Also worth reading, his award-winning dissertation on Indonesian muslims and democratic values. Using Indonesian data and some simple statistics, he provided empirical evidence against hypotheses (most famously made by Samuel Huntington) suggesting that Islam must necessarily be incompatible with democracy. Indonesia seems to have proven them otherwise.

Labels: ,

2 Comments:

  • "Using Indonesian data and some simple statistics, he provided empirical evidence against hypotheses (most famously made by Samuel Huntington) suggesting that Islam must necessarily be incompatible with democracy."
    It's because the majority of Indonesian Moeslems are not fanatics. Secondly, he must not have included the fact that opressions to the minority still happen in Indonesia, yet are silenced by the government.
    Furthermore, in other places such as Pakistan (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-christian5feb05,0,6203272.story) the Moeslems oppress the minority. Using Indonesia as the support for your premise is a hasty generalization.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/05/2008 02:43:00 pm  

  • Anonymous:
    I didn't generalize: Huntington did. What Mujani did was to use data from a country with the largest muslim population in the world (who are mostly observant and devout) to empirically reject Huntington's generalization that Islamic ideas must necessarily be incompatible with democratic values.

    The implication is not to say that Islamic values are necessarily compatible with democratic values. Instead, generally, they may not be the main reason behind rejections of democratic values. I suggest that you read the paper.

    By Blogger Arya Gaduh, at 2/06/2008 03:10:00 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home