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Bureaucrats steeped in austere Wahhabism draw converts in government prayer halls. Hundreds of Indonesians joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and hundreds of thousands more cheer for the group on social media.

Nader Hashemi

Pushed aside are the syncretic traditions that were long the hallmark of Indonesian Islam, a blending with indigenous beliefs that gave the faith its distinct local flavor. But he is an astute politician who has shouted for jihad and vowed to welcome home from self-imposed exile Rizieq Shihab, the head of the Islamic Defenders Front, which gained notoriety for attacking nightclubs in Jakarta, the capital, and calling for Shariah law.

Faith politics exploded in late when millions of Indonesians marched in the streets of Jakarta to protest what they considered blasphemous language from Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian who was then the Jakarta governor. Basuki, widely known as Ahok, was jailed for 20 months. Joko declined to defend his former deputy. Even Mr. Lukman, the religious affairs minister under Mr.

Joko, tries to thread the needle on the role of faith in Indonesian society. Islam arrived in Indonesia through Arab and Indian merchants. By the 16th century, the faith had displaced or cross-pollinated with Buddhism, Hinduism and animist faiths. Most Muslims here still practice a fusion form of the faith.

Traditional Indonesian mosques had thatched or pitched roofs, reminiscent of Hindu temples. Indonesian Muslim festivals feature offerings of flowers to volcanoes. The national dress for women includes a lacy, body-hugging blouse. Beginning in the s, Saudi money began changing the look of Islam in Indonesia. Open-air mosques were replaced by marble, domed edifices.

Today, thousands of mosques around the country bear Middle Eastern motifs attesting to their Saudi, Qatari or Kuwaiti funding. Perhaps the most influential Saudi investment in Indonesia is the Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic, known by the Indonesian acronym, Lipia, where classes are segregated by gender and teach the fundamentalist Wahhabi theology that dominates in Saudi Arabia.

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Recent years have seen a spate of blasphemy convictions, most notably that of Ahok, ex-governor of Jakarta. Drug-related crime in Indonesia Don Widodo's tilt with windmills Anti-narcotics laws and their enforcement tend to be tough in Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, however, drug use is not in decline, despite attempts by President Widodo to crack down Interview with Indonesian economist Iwan J. Azis "Inequality will grow if all you do is unleash market forces" For decades the conditions governing International Financial Institution IFI loans to Asian countries were often far too stringent, resulting in heightened social disparity.

Yahya Cholil Staquf is a prominent Muslim cleric and secretary-general of the world's largest Islamic organisation, Indonesia's Nahdlatul Ulama NU , which has 60 million members Islam and single-use plastics Appealing to Indonesia's Muslims The Indonesian government and Greenpeace have teamed up with Islamic organisations to promote plastic waste reduction. Can including religion make environmental campaigns more In submitting this comment, the reader accepts the following terms and conditions: Qantara.

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Unnoticed, Democracy Gains in Southeast Asia’s Islamic Countries

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