Andrée Feillard and Rémy Madinier. Indonesian Islam and the Temptations of Radicalism. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 2011. 336 pp. Two years into the uncertain transitions of the "Arab Spring," it is remarkable just how few Middle Eastern analysts have thought to look to post-Soeharto Indonesia for clues as to how Islam and Muslims may be accommodated in passages from authoritarian rule. In part the oversight reflects Indonesia's continuing perceived marginality in the global Muslim scene, and the mistaken conviction that Indonesia is somehow less authentically Islamic than the Arab, Turkish, and Persian heartlands. However, as anyone who has traveled in academic or political circles in the Middle East can testify, the neglect has also to do with uncertainty as to the quality of Indonesian democracy, not least in the face of reports of continuing militia assaults on Christians, Ahmadiyah Muslims, and other religious minorities. To my ear, the opinion recently expressed by Andreas Harsono (an Indonesian human rights observer) in an op-ed column in The New York Times 1 is now widely shared among Middle Eastern Muslim intellectuals and analysts: Indonesia offers few clear lessons on Muslim democracy, not because it is insufficiently Muslim, but because
Indonesia – Southeast Asia Program [Cornell University]
Published: Oct 24, 2012
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