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Islam Secularity and the State in Post-New Order Indonesia Tensions between Neo-Modernist and Revivalist Leaderships in the Muhammadiyah 1998-2005

Islam Secularity and the State in Post-New Order Indonesia Tensions between Neo-Modernist and Revivalist Leaderships in the Muhammadiyah 1998-2005

by Muhammad Hilali Basya | Abstract | This thesis explores how Muslims negotiate Islam, secularity and the modern state (Chapter 1) through examining the views of Muslim leaders in Indonesia during the colonial and postcolonial periods (Chapter 2), and, in particular, through a case study of the leadership of the Muhammadiyah – one of the two largest Islamic organisations in the country (Chapter 3). In the main body of my thesis I focus on the post-New Order period (1998–2005) when Indonesia underwent a transition from state authoritarianism to experiments with democracy. During this time of new political freedom, various Islamic movements pushed for the Islamization of the state, revisiting earlier debates with supporters of secularism following Indonesia’ independence. Notably, this changing context also exposed tensions within the Muhammadiyah between more marginal revivalists and more dominant neomodernist groupings with rather different conceptions of Islam’s relationship to the state and secularity. To investigate this further I undertook fieldwork in Indonesia between 2012 and 2013, adopting qualitative research methods to consult the organisation’s archives, other publicly available material and interview both revivalist and neo-modernist leaders at different levels of the Muhammadiyah: 11 central board members, 8 ‘ulama and 16 activists (Chapter 4). Analysing their different responses to three key post-New Order debates about the relationship between Islam, secularity and the modern state – the position of Islam in the constitution (Chapter 5); the position of shari‘a in the law (Chapter 6); and regarding non-Muslim leadership (Chapter 7) – my main argument is that in contrast to the revivalists who support a shari‘a-based state, Muhammadiyah neo-modernist opinion tends to endorse the idea of the ‘neutrality’ of the state while still supporting the public recognition (and even prioritisation) of Islamic identity. My research shows that having higher education and/or wider engagement in organizations concerned with democracy, human rights, and religious pluralism is a significant influence on the extent to which Muhammadiyah leaders develop such neomodernist ideas. Nevertheless, I also conclude that the wider post-New Order political context of conflict between revivalists and secularists, typically saw neomodernists, and particularly those in the Muhammadiyah central board, seek points of convergence with revivalists that would maintain the movement’s overall unity.

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Gender Mainstreaming in Education: Case Studies of Islamic Primary Schools in South Sulawesi, Indonesia 2000-2006

by Siti Azisah Abstract This thesis examined the extent and the manner of the gender mainstreaming policy implementation in three Islamic primary schools in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It investigated the commitment, gender ideology and practices of policy makers, school principals, teachers, and the school committees. Furthermore, the thesis analyzed gender roles depiction in the primary school textbooks as well as investigated the students‘ perception of gender roles. The thesis argued that implementation of gender mainstreaming in Islamic education was varied. Firstly, in the government itself, the implementation of the gender mainstreaming policy was greater in the upper level than in the lower levels of the administration. Secondly, the Indonesian government‘s initiative to mainstream gender in primary school textbooks has shown some positive results, although the influence differed according to discipline, grade levels, schools and place of publication and the market. Thirdly, stereotyped gender role ideology and practices were shared by the three school communities, yet the patterns were different. The government school in the village was the most progressive. Whereas, the private schools in the town and the city were both less progressive. Fourthly, the students generally had similar views on gender roles although there were markedly different patterns of perceptions among them. Students of the state school engaged in the least stereotyping in their selection of famous people and their favourites among the famous as well as in their occupational aspirations, whereas the students of Muhammadiyah schools engaged in the most stereotyping. The supporting factors of gender mainstreaming were reflected in the curriculum program and strategies, gender awareness training, and changes in social practices. Whereas, the hindering factors mostly come from cultural perspectives, the patriarchal values and the ambivalence of decision makers and teachers as well as the lack of opportunities for teachers from Islamic schools to participate in gender training workshops.

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Faith, Moral Authority, and Politics: The Making of Progressive Islam in Indonesia

by Alexander R. Arifianto | ABSTRACT | Several Islamic organizations have experience major changes in their theological frames and political identities away from fundamentalist and revivalist theological orientation to one that embraces a progressive Islamic theology that synthesizes these norms with classical Islamic teachings. What are the factors that explain these theological changes? What are the causal mechanisms that help to promote them? Using the moral authority leadership theory, I argue that Islamic groups would be able to change their theological frames and political identities if the changes are promoted by religious leaders with 'moral authority' status, who are using both ideational and instrumental strategies to reconstruct the theological frames of their organizations. In addition to moral authority leadership, intermediary variables that also affect the likelihood of a theological change within Islamic groups are the institutional culture of the organization – the degree of tolerance for non-Islamic theological teachings - and the relationship between the Islamic group and the state. This study is a comparative historical analysis of two Indonesian Islamic groups: the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the Muhammadiyah. It finds that the NU was able to successfully change its theological positions due to the presence of a charismatic moral authority leader, the tolerant institutional culture within the organization, and the ability of the organization to ally with the Suharto regime, allowing the reform to be institutionalized with little intervention from the regime. On the other hand, theological reform within the Muhammadiyah was not successful due to the lack of a leader with moral authority status who could have ii led the reforms within the organization, as well as to the dominance of a revivalist institutional culture that does not tolerate any challenges to their interpretation of Islamic theology. The analysis makes theoretical contributions on the role of religious leadership within Islamic movements and the likelihood of Islamic groups to adopt liberal political norms such as democracy, religion-state separation, and tolerance toward religious minorities. It identifies the mechanisms in which theological change within Islamic group become possible.

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The Contributions of Muslim Faith-Based Organizations to Development: The Case of Muhammadiyah in Indonesia

By Wagma Isaqzoy | Abstract | The objective of this research is to contribute to the limited literature that deals with development from a religious standpoint. This includes a critique of a Eurocentric definition of development and the potential of religion within culturally diverse societies where religion and development are thought to be the two sides of the same coin. In search for answers to the question of whether and how Muslim Faith-Based Organizations contribute to development, this thesis examines the role of Islam within the discourse of development using the case of Indonesia. The thesis demonstrates how Islam in Indonesia is proving to play an active role in the development of its society and contributing to the enhancement of women’s social condition. This is mainly due to the dynamic of Faith Based Organizations within the Indonesian society; the use of the Islam as a guiding principle; and women’s participation in the interpretation of religious texts.

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Muhammadiyah and disaster response: innovation and change in social welfare

Robin Bush, National University of Singapore | Introduction | Over the past 20 years, Asia in general and Southeast Asia in particular has been the site of some of the worst natural disasters in recent history. At the same time, many Southeast Asian nations are now “middle-income countries” and for a variety of political reasons, their governments increasingly decline to request humanitarian aid through traditional channels coordinated by UN agencies. This has opened the door for a more active role to be played by domestic and international NGOs (INGOs). Meanwhile, over the past two decades, and again often due to political factors, Muslim INGOs are playing an increasingly important role as providers of humanitarian and disaster relief in much of the Muslim world. Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization, is one of the country’s largest and oldest social welfare organizations – running thousands of schools, clinics, hospitals, and universities. Over the past decade however, its identity as a social welfare focused organization has been problematized, by changes in service provision for the poor both on the part of Muhammadiyah, and the Indonesian state. Since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Muhammadiyah has developed a relatively new element of social welfare provision, by becoming one of the country’s most active private disaster relief agencies, responding subsequently to the Yogyakarta earthquake (2006), Sumatra earthquake (2009) and Mt Merapi eruption (2010). Muhammadiyah’s leading role in the area of disaster and humanitarian assistance in Indonesia has furthermore brought it into international political discourses on humanitarian aid. Muhammadiyah is the Indonesian representative on Humanitarian Forum International, a London-based coalition of Islamic and non-Islamic aid agencies seeking to remove the stigma of Islamism from international aid agencies like Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, etc, and to contribute to greater understanding and collaboration between Islamic and non-Islamic aid organizations. Muhammadiyah, through its MDMC (Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Center) has played a leading role in organizing other religious groups in Indonesia to bring their weight to bear on the issue – both inside Indonesia and globally. With this context as a backdrop, this paper will examine Muhammadiyah’s disaster response activities as representing innovation and the direction of the future both for international humanitarian assistance, and for Muhammadiyah internally.

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