A radio station in neighbouring Batam, Hang FM, made headlines in 2016 when Singaporean authorities stated that two citizens, who were arrested for allegedly trying to join the Islamic State group in Syria, had been exposed to extremist preaching through its broadcasts. The rise of Salafi ideology on the Indonesian island has caused concern in Singapore, with perceptions that Salafi roselytization would influence Singaporean Muslims. Away from downtown Batam, one finds Salafi pesantren, or Islamic boarding schools, that cultivate a different lifestyle than what is expected of a Special Economic Zone. Is there a growing transnational network of Salafis? If so, what are their orientations? Does political decentralisation in Indonesia invite the rise of divergent religious ideologies? Clemens Chay presents some initial findings and invites you on a dialogue session addressing these questions.
Dr Clemens Chay is a research fellow at the Middle East Institute, NUS. He holds a PhD from Durham University, where he was formerly the Al-Sabah fellow. His research focuses on the history and politics of the Gulf states, with a particular emphasis on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. His most recent publication is featured in The Routledge Handbook of Persian Gulf Politics (2020), entitled “Parliamentary Politics in Kuwait”. He also wrote “The Dīwaniyya Tradition in Modern Kuwait: An Interlinked Space and Practice”, appearing in the Journal of Arabian Studies.
Kumar Ramakrishna is Associate Professor, Associate Dean, Research Adviser to National Security Studies Programme and Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He has published in numerous internationally refereed journals and co-edited two well-received books on counter-terrorism, The New Terrorism: Anatomy, Trends and Counter-Strategies (2002) as well as After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism in Southeast Asia (2004). He is also the author of numerous single-authored books including Original Sin? Revising the Revisionist Critique of the 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore (2015) and Singapore Chronicles: Emergency (2016).