An important factor in President Joko Widodo (‘Jokowi’) successful re-election last year was his alliance with moderate Islamic civil society organisations, particularly with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) – Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation. However, since Jokowi’s second term began in October 2019, political friction has developed between his administration, NU, and Muhammadiyah – the country’s second largest Islamic organisation. These frictions had erupted for several reasons, including Jokowi’s decision to appoint a retired general as Minister of Religious Affairs instead of a senior cleric from either NU or Muhammadiyah. Another disagreement between the administration and these groups has developed with regard to the introduction of the Pancasila Ideology Guidance Bill – which has resurrected the age-old debate over the nation’s official ideology and the role of religion in Indonesian politics and society.
In this webinar, we invite three speakers to discuss these issues and other ongoing developments concerning the relationship between Islamic civil society organisations and the Jokowi administration. Professor Mu’ti and Kyai Staquf will speak on the relationship between Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama with the Jokowi administration and present the latest updates on the organisational dynamics within their respective organisations. Meanwhile, Dr Lanti will speak regarding the security implications of growing conservative Islamism within the Indonesian society.
In their presentations, the speakers will address the following questions: What are the sources of the ongoing tensions between the Jokowi administration, NU, and Muhammadiyah? How do they affect the long-term relationship between these organisations and the Jokowi administration? How does NU and Muhammadiyah deal with increasing competition from newer and more conservative Islamic organisations that increasingly dominate Indonesia’s public sphere? Lastly, what are the potential security implications of the growing conservative Islamism in Indonesia during President Jokowi’s second term?
About the Panellist
K.H. Yahya Cholil Staquf is General Secretary to the Clerical Advisory Board (Dewan Syuriah), Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). As the world’s largest Muslim organisation, NU adheres to the traditions of Sunni Islam, and teaches that Islam’s primary message is universal love and compassion. With his position in the NU, he has primary responsibility for the expansion of NU operations to North America, Europe and the Middle East. Kyai Staquf is also the Director of Religious Affairs of Bayt ar-Rahmah (Home of Divine Grace), a US-based charitable organisation with aims to counter the weaponization of Islam for political purposes.
From 1999 to 2001 he served as a presidential spokesman to K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid – Indonesia’s first democratically elected president. Kyai Staquf currently serves on the Presidential Advisory Council of President Joko Widodo—with a protocol rank equivalent to Minister of State—where he advises the President on religious, domestic and international affairs.
Professor H. Abdul Mu’ti has served as General Secretary of the Central Leadership Board, Muhammadiyah since 2010. He is a Muhammadiyah member since 1994 and was the General Chairman of Muhammadiyah Youth (Pemuda Muhammadiyah) from 2002 to 2006. In addition, Professor Mu’ti is a Professor in the Faculty of Systematic Religious Teaching and Development, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta, where he has taught since 2014. He received a Master’s in Education degree from Flinders University, Australia, in 1997 and a PhD from the Graduate School, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, in 2008.
Professor Mu’ti is a member of the British Council Advisory Board (2006-2008), Indonesia-United Kingdom Advisory Board (2007-2009), Executive Committee of Asian Conference of Religion for Peace (2010-2015), and Indonesia-United States Council of Religion and Pluralism (2016-present). He received the Distinguished Indonesian – Australian Alumni Award in 2008. He is active in various interfaith dialogue and cooperation forums both in Indonesia and overseas.
Dr Irman Lanti is a Lecturer at the Political Science Programme, the Graduate School, National University in Jakarta. He is an expert on Indonesian domestic politics and political Islam in Indonesia. Prior to his current appointment, Dr Lanti worked in various capacities with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Indonesia Office. He was a former Executive Director of the Tifa Foundation, a philanthropic organisation promoting democracy and human rights in Indonesia. Dr Lanti served as a Visiting Fellow with RSIS Indonesia Programme from March to April 2019.
Dr Lanti obtained his PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. His latest publication is: “Examining the Growth of Islamic Conservatism in Indonesia: The Case of West Java” (co-authored by Akim and Windy Dermawan), in Rising Islamic Conservatism in Indonesia: Islamic Groups and Identity Politics, edited by Leonard C Sebastian, Syafiq Hasyim, and Alexander R Arifianto (Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge, forthcoming on 31 October 2020).