"Once celebrated in the Western media as a shining example of a 'liberal' and 'tolerant' Islam, Indonesia since the end of the Soeharto regime (May 1998) has witnessed a variety of developments that bespeak a conservative turn in the country’s Muslim politics. In this timely collection of original essays, Martin van Bruinessen, our most distinguished senior Western scholar of Indonesian Islam, and four leading Indonesian Muslim scholars explore and explain these developments. Each chapter examines recent trends from a strategic institutional perch: the Council of Indonesian Muslim scholars, the reformist Muhammadiyah, South Sulawesi's Committee for the Implementation of Islamic Shari'a, and radical Islamism in Solo. With van Bruinessen's brilliantly synthetic introduction and conclusion, these essays shed a bright light on what Indonesian Muslim politics was and where it seems to be going. The analysis is complex and by no means uniformly dire. For readers interested in Indonesian Muslim politics, and for analysts interested in the dialectical interplay of progressive and conservative Islam, this book is fascinating and essential reading."
—Robert Hefner, Director
Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, Boston University
"Indonesian Islam has been (and still is) largely known as Islam with 'smiling faces'. But in the last decade at least, drawing benefit from the democratic opening up, some figures and groups introduced radical Islamic ideas and praxis that have transnational origins that in turn could affect the future of Indonesian Islam. This book is an excellent anthology of this disturbing development brought about by the so-called 'conservative turn' within certain elements of moderate Islam in the largest Muslim country in the world. There is no doubt that this book contributes a great deal to a better grasp of some recent development to watch in Indonesian Islam."
—Azyumardi Azra, Professor of History, Director of Graduate School
State Islamic University, Jakarta, Indonesia
"Over the course of the past decade, journalists and other observers have noted a 'conservative turn' in Indonesian Islam, but without seriously investigating or explaining the nature and extent of the transformation(s) under way. With the publication of this excellent new volume, Martin van Bruinessen and his collaborators have now provided a fine-grained account of the complex and diverse manifestations of this 'conservative turn', with in-depth treatments of developments and trends across a range of different arenas and institutions - and regions - of Indonesian Islam. Van Bruinessen has always been a pioneering figure in the study of Islam in Indonesia, and with this volume he once again brings unparalleled insight and illumination to our understanding of Islamic life in the archipelago. This is a must-read book for anyone interested in Indonesian politics and society today."
—John Sidel, Professor of International and Comparative Politics
London School of Economics and Political Science