Indonesia has witnessed the mushrooming of communal violence during the early stages of its transition towards electoral democracy after the fall of Suharto’s authoritarian regime in 1998.
- The future of Indonesian Islam, and with it that of the entire nation, involves the issue of addressing social justice. The 82-year-old Muslim leader Ahmad Syafii Maarif, is convinced of this.
- Are Indonesian democracy and pluralism being endangered by the revitalization of radicalism and the increasingly invasive presence of extremist Islamic groups?
- Arab dictatorships have guaranteed their external legitimacy by exploiting the threat of Islamism, securing the backing of Western governments by proclaiming that Islamic fundamentalism would consolidate itself in the event of a free and transparent election. Therefore, the ‘Islamic exceptionality’ has been widely accepted and taken for granted by the Western governments, and gradually, this argument became so entrenched even in research centres. ‘Stability’, rather than democracy, became the main objective when the Middle East is concerned and it was interpreted as the necessity of maintaining the status quo, no matter how harmful and unfair it has been for the majority of population.