Saturday, October 18, 2014

NU and Muhammadiyah: Majority Views on Religious Minorities in Indonesia

Bush, Robin and Budhy Munawar-Rachman. 2014. "NU and Muhammadiyah: Majority Views on Religious Minorities in Indonesia," in Religious Diversity in Muslim-majority States in Southeast Asia: Areas of Toleration and Conflict, edited by Bernhard Platzdasch and Johan Saravanamuttu, pp. 16-50. Sngapore: ISEAS.

Indonesia today can aptly be described as bipolar. It is the rising star of the international finance and business communities in Asia, with growth and other macroeconomic indicators attracting ever-increasing investment and attendant international clout. On the other hand, twin dark clouds of corruption and the tenuous status of religious minorities hang over the bright horizon in ominous contrast. In this chapter, we look at the factors underlying the increasing precariousness of religious minorities in Indonesia, we make a case for why the stance of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah matter, and we examine both official and non-official positions of the two mass-based organizations on both Islamic and non-Islamic minorities in Indonesia. We conclude that Indonesian society is becoming increasingly polarized, and that as such, NU and Muhammadiyah's mission of occupying a "middle path" is increasingly important. The two organizations navigate the terrain of the "middle path" differently due to their contrasting structure and internal culture; however, they are both important players in the ongoing discourse on religious freedom in Indonesia.

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