Explaining the 2016 Islamist Mobilisation in Indonesia: Religious Intolerance, Militant Groups and the Politics of Accommodation

Photo: Ribuan umat Islam mengikuti aksi super damai 212 di Lapangan Monas, Jumat (2/12).

There has been an intense scholarly debate about what caused the unprecedented Islamist mass demonstrations in Indonesia in late 2016. Some scholars have argued that increasing intolerance and conservatism among the Muslim population are responsible, while others have disputed such notions, claiming that there is no evidence of widespread support for an Islamist agenda among the protesters. In this presentation, we analyse a unique set of polling data to show that a) Islamic conservatism in Indonesia has been declining rather than increasing, but that b) around a quarter of Indonesian Muslims do support an Islamist socio-political agenda. Importantly, we demonstrate that this core constituency of ultra-conservative Muslims has grown more educated, more affluent and better connected in the last decade or so, increasing its organisational capacity. We argue that this capacity was mobilised at a time when ultra-conservative Muslims felt excluded from the current polity, following the end of a decade of accommodation.

About the Speakers
Marcus Mietzner is Associate Professor in the Department of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. Burhanuddin Muhtadi is a PhD candidate at the same department, and is an Executive Director of Indikator Politik Indonesia and Public Affairs Director of the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI).

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