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Indonesia

Political Parties and Islam in Indonesia: A Religious Façade

October 2, 2012 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo # 178 – Portrayals of Indonesian political parties have classified them as either secular or Islamic. This implies that they hold strong core commitments. But Indonesian parties do not espouse a coherent political program during elections. Islamic and secular-nationalist parties alike appeal to the public with populist slogans. Controversial religious issues, such as the role of Sharia law or the status of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect – which could differentiate parties along clear secular-religious lines – are ignored on the campaign trail. Contrary to mainstream analysis, religion plays a minimal role in Indonesia’s party competition. […]

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Indonesia

The Indonesian Model: Learning from a Muslim Majority Democracy

May 31, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #86 – With the old autocracies of the Middle East falling and new regimes yet to emerge, policy makers are grasping for models that can inform analysis. U.S. President Obama has proposed the ‘Indonesian model.’ The logic is straightforward: Indonesia is a majority Muslim country that has transitioned from a military dominated autocracy to a democracy. […]

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Indonesia

Capital-islam: Spiritual Economies in Southeast Asia

March 29, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #68 – Is Islam compatible with capitalism? The recent uprisings in the Middle East have prompted renewed interest in this question. In his book, The Long Divergence, the eminent economist, Timur Kuran, suggests that Islam is to blame for the poor economic performance of Islamic countries. But today, a new breed of “spiritual reformers” sees Islam as a recipe for commercial success. […]

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Indonesia

Indonesian Handshake Controversy Exposes Challenges Facing Islamist Politicians

November 16, 2010 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #38 – Indonesia’s ‘handshake’ controversy made international news last week. To summarize: the Obamas were being greeted by Indonesian officials, and in the process, Michelle Obama shook the hand of an Islamist politician (and Minister of Communications and Information) named Tifatul Sembiring. Sembiring then went on Twitter to explain that the handshake was unwelcome and forced upon him. Video evidence clearly shows he was dissembling. […]