mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Indonesian Intolerance
Blasphemy Case Heightens Tensions in Indonesia
Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • solstice

    Muslims never cease to demonstrate what an embarrassment they are to the human species.

    • Andrew Allison

      Muslim extremists, like all extremists, never fail to demonstrate to the world what an embarrassment they are to the human race. Surely the message here is that extremism in the service of any ideology is a bad thing. On the other hand, I would be inclined to favor the extinction of any group which promotes extinction of another one.

  • Greg Olsen

    I recommend everyone who wants to understand the conflicts across the Islamic word, read Clifford Geertz’s classic Islam Observed along with his essay “Religion as a Cultural System” in The Interpretation of Cultures. Islam has been going through a crisis of modernity since the encounter with Western civilization. The development Geertz called the “scripturalist interlude” where religious elites try to recapture a lost authentic religion from scriptural sources, when traditional religion ceases to carry the meaning it once had. The religion is ideologized. The person holds beliefs rather than is held by belief.

    Furthermore, the encounter with Western modernity and the technological change that has come with it has promoted a certain homogenization. Once more Muslims could go on the hajj, they were exposed to Arabian forms of belief and practice. It has raised the status of Wahhabism–itself a premodern scripturalist revival–as more authentic and created a worldwide phenomenon that rivals the Muslim Brothers, another scripturalist revival.

    Al Qaeda’s ideology was born in the Afghan Soviet War and is a fusion of Wahhabi theology and Muslim Brother institutional forms. It is an extremely attractive alternative for Muslims seeking answers to religious, social, even civilizational crisis.

  • Anthony

    Geography doesn’t argue. It simply is. Geopolitics is the study of the human condition (Blasphemy/Indonesia) and human history is told through the passing of generations. Regardless of the prevailing personality or ideology of the time, a nation has history. Indonesia is no different.

    “We hear all the time about how the world should work. Self-proclaimed liberals and conservatives, Keynesians and Reaganites, humanists and hawks, globalist and nationalist have crammed the airwaves and filled our Twitter feeds with policy prescriptions, promoting their worldview while scorning others’. But after the emotionally charged year this has been, I suspect many people are growing weary of big theories and cursory character assassinations. Instead, it may be time to replace the pedantry with something more fundamental – and less divisive – in which to ground our thoughts and make sense of the world.

    Rather than focusing on what should happen, perhaps we would do better to turn our attention to what will happen. And in this, geopolitics can come in handy. It is a deceptively simple tool, one that won’t bury you in academic pretension or require a fancy algorithm to model. But its simplicity doesn’t make it any less powerful. When you boil down the frothy mixture of ideas, personalities and emotions that have bubbled up over the past year, what is left are some fairly obvious answers on how we got to this point and, more important, where we are heading.” (Reva Goujon)

    • Matt B

      OK, I’m sold. Any books you’d recommend?

      • Anthony

        Robert D. Kaplan’s “The Revenge of Geography” is a start.

        Kissinger’s “World Order” (since Westphalia) and George Friedman’s “Borderlands, A Geopolitical Journey” both give geographical overview that helps.

        And, Matt, if I remember others or come across something, I’ll share.

        • Disappeared4x

          Robert Kaplan wants you to start with Sir Halford Mackinder’s 1904 essay, “The Geographical Pivot of History.”
          Just not sure how this relates to the rise of Islamist tensions in Indonesia. I would look at the inherent problem of Javanese language, which has 9 (nine) levels of formality. (By contrast, English has one level, Spanish has two. )This tends to make reaching a decision on anything very difficult. The ethnic Chinese have long had the advantage of being more able to reach decisions, thus dominating the economy. An ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta alone would be controversial, although more likely to get stuff done.
          The animist past never disappears from the syncretic Islam of Java. Historically, Banda Aceh has been more Islamist, because of geography. Islam did spread through trade, and Banda Aceh is the tip of Sumatra facing the Straits of Malacca. Perhaps their Islamism is what has infiltrated Java. Until the next volcano or earthquake, or tsunami.
          Amazing nation…on my sole trip to Jakarta, in 1997, first billboard outside the airport was for Bintang Beer. Goes well with kretek cigarettes.
          Terima Kasih!

          • Anthony

            One of those authors reference Muhammad Ibn Battuta, I forget which but if Matt B looks he’ll see it. And if he doesn’t hopefully he’ll see your contribution, Thanks.

  • Andrew Allison

    How does this differ from the nonsense now endemic in Academia?

  • FriendlyGoat

    The link provided by TAI above at “protests and pressure from hardliners” is the thing to read in order to more fully understand this Indonesian version of “lock him up” which is now playing in another large country as the unhelpful contribution from religionists.

  • Angel Martin

    “For instance, the economically troubled city of Solo has become a hotbed of radicalization for a new generation of young militants, some professing ties to al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. And in the middle class, signs suggest that religiosity is rising and more extreme interpretations of Islam are making headway.”

    Obviously a good reason to bring even more muslims to North America !

    • f1b0nacc1

      Well, we would have been better off keeping at least one Indonesian muslim out of North America 40-odd years ago….

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service