Just months following President Suharto’s resignation in May 1998, Indonesia underwent a series of sectarian conflicts, ethno-religious violence, and communal riots across the archipelago, including Maluku in eastern Indonesia. Of all collective conflicts erupted in post-Suharto Indonesia, the Maluku strife that began in January, 1999, and lasting for a period of more than three years, had been the most disastrous for the province causing thousands of people died and other thousands injured, about a third or a half of the population was displaced and countless properties were burnt down. The fights between Christians and Muslims in the province of Maluku, especially Ambon city, as well as North Maluku, made this region the theater of the most shocking violence seen in the modern history of Indonesia.
How are the contemporary conditions of “post-war” Maluku? How do Christians and Muslims in this archipelagic province resolve their violent past and build future peace? This talk will discuss four major and pressing issues: (1) religious roots of conciliation and reconciliation, which are often unfortunately forgotten in the academic discussion of peacebuilding and peace policy-related issues, (2) Christian-Muslim relationship in the aftermath of the communal violence, (3) efforts of Christians and Muslims in establishing post-violence trust and peace, and (4) challenges the two religious groups face in building peace in the post-riots Maluku.
About the Speaker
Dr Sumanto Al Qurtuby is Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Middle East Institute of National University of Singapore. He teaches Cultural Anthropology at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Saudi Arabia. Previously, he was a visiting professor and a research fellow at Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA. Dr Al Qurtuby holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University. His research interests focus on the study of Muslim politics and cultures; conflict, violence, and peacebuilding; inter-and intra-religious relations, the role of religion in public sphere, and Arab-Indonesian connection.
Dr Al Qurtuby has authored, co-authored, and written more than 16 books, dozens of academic articles, and hundreds of popular essays (in Indonesian language and English). His most recent book from Routledge (London & New York) is Religious Violence and Conciliation in Indonesia: Christians and Muslims in the Moluccas. He is now completing a book manuscript (under contract with IB Tauris), titled Saudi Arabia and Indonesian Networks: Migration, Education and Islam.
Organised by IDSS Indonesia Programme and RSIS Events Unit.