The Role of Religion in Politics: Comparing Recent Trends in Indonesia and the United States
02 Oct 2019 2.30 PM - 02 Oct 2019 4.00 PM
CSIS Gedung Pakarti Centre Jalan Tanah Abang III No.23-27, Jakarta Pusat
Prof. Azyumardi Azra
Senior Professor of Islamic History and Culture and Former Rector, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University of Jakarta Editor-in-Chief, Indonesian Journal for Islamic Studies Senior Advisory Board Member of the USIndonesia Council on Religion and Pluralism
Dr. Peter Mandaville
Senior Research Fellow Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution Author. Islam & Politics, Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma
Dr. Philips J. Vermonte
Executive Director, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Jakarta Member, USINDO Board of Advisors
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 14:30 - 16:00 (Registration starts at 14:10)
Venue: CSIS Gedung Pakarti Centre Jalan Tanah Abang III No.23-27, Jakarta Pusat
In a world increasingly at risk owing to misunderstanding of other religions, lack of appreciation of diversity, and religious extremism, it is essential that our two countries, each with large and religiously diverse populations and aspiring for pluralism, compare their respective experiences, challenges, and values.
This is more timely than ever, as in the past few years there has in both countries an increase been an increase in the use of religious identity issues to gain political and electoral advantage. In late 2016 tens of thousands of hardline Indonesian Muslims marched in the streets of Jakarta calling for the Christian Governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama *(“Ahok”), to be jailed for blasphemy against Islam. Many saw the blasphemy accusations as politically motivated. Ahok lost his bid for re-election and was sentenced to prison.
The 2019 Indonesian presidential election also saw a growing influence of conservative Islam. Incumbent President Joko Widodo chose conservative cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate for the 2019 election, a move widely viewed as designed to boost his Islamic credentials. His opponent, Prabowo Subianto, also played the religious card, vowing to welcome home the head of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
These recent trends have raised concerns among moderate Muslims and non-Muslims in Indonesia that still upholds Pancasila as constitutional ideology. It also raises a question: is Islamic politics becoming a kind of new nationalism? If so, is Indonesia’s religious tolerance and diversity at a crossroads?
In the U.S. as well, party affiliation and political polarization related to religion is also palpable. Studies show that religion influences American politics to a degree not seen in other developed countries. President Donald J. Trump won the 2016 presidential election with overwhelming Christian evangelical support. Many U.S. Muslims are concerned they may be being categorized primarily based on their religious identity, irrespective of wide differences of views among U.S. Muslims, and used for political advantage.
As we approach the U.S. 2020 elections, what do we think will be the role of religion and religious groups – be they Muslim, Christian, or other – and how will they interplay in the political process?
Our superb panel of two eminent experts on religion, one American, one Indonesian, will appraise these difficult issues in our October 2 Open Forum, followed by Q and A and discussion.
Dr. Peter Mandaville, Senior Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Brookings Institution nonresident senior fellow, and widely published expert on religious affairs will be our U.S. panelist.
Prof. Azyumardi Azra, Senior Professor of Islamic History and Culture and Former Rector, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University of Jakarta, and Editor-in Chief of the Indonesian Journal for Islamic Studies, will be our Indonesian panelist.
Please join us for a stimulating discussion on one of the most important dimensions of our two counties.
As seats are limited, please RSVP HERE or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than September 30th, 2019 (15:00) to register your seat. No walk-in entry, please.