26 January 2017
Basuki Purnama, the incumbent ethnic Chinese governor of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, told voters in September to ignore religious leaders who invoke the Koran to justify the claim that Muslims should not be led by non-Muslims. Within days, tens of thousands of protestors rallied against Purnama, calling for him to be sentenced for blasphemy, a criminal offense in the Muslim majority nation. He is now on trial in a case that, depending on the outcome, could define the Muslim majority nation’s secular future.
Purnama’s political opponents have seized on the issue ahead of governorship elections scheduled for February 15. Anies Rasyid Baswedan, a rival candidate for the post and widely deemed a moderate, gave a speech to members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), the extreme Islamist group that organized the rallies against Purnama, calling for Purnama’s conviction. Evan Laksmana, an Indonesia analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank, tweeted a photograph of the rally, asking: “Will this picture be remembered as the day moderates die?”
They are increasingly on the back foot in Muslim majority Indonesia and neighboring Malaysia. Many moderates in Indonesia say that if radicalism is on the rise, it is more the fault of opportunistic politicians than changing currents towards more conservatism in global Islam. A similar trend is on the rise in Malaysia, where 60% of the population is Malay Muslim and the other 40% comprised of Chinese, Indian and other ethnic minority groups.
… In 2010, a new generation of Salafi adherents formed the Association of Malaysian Scholars (ILMU) with the aim of upholding Islam and “freeing” Islamic teachings in Malaysia from so-called deviant practices, according to Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, coordinator of the Malaysia Programme at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 30/01/2017