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Productive Intolerance: Godly Nationalism in Indonesia

  • Jeremy Menchik (a1)


Since democratization, Indonesia has played host to a curious form of ethnic conflict: militant vigilante groups attacking a small, socially marginal religious sect called Ahmadiyah. While most scholars attribute the violence to intolerance by radicals on the periphery of society, this article proposes a different reading based on an intertwined reconfiguration of Indonesian nationalism and religion. I suggest that Indonesia contains a common but overlooked example of “godly nationalism,” an imagined community bound by a shared theism and mobilized through the state in cooperation with religious organizations. This model for nationalism is modern, plural, and predicated on the exclusion of religious heterodoxy. Newly collected archival and ethnographic material reveal how the state's and Muslim civil society's long-standing exclusion of Ahmadiyah and other heterodox groups has helped produce the “we-feeling” that helps constitute contemporary Indonesian nationalism. I conclude by intervening in a recent debate about religious freedom to suggest that conflicts over blasphemy reflect Muslim civil society's effort to delineate an incipient model of nationalism and tolerance while avoiding the templates of liberal secularism or theocracy.


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1 Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia, Court Transcript no. 140/puu-vii/2009 Concerning the Examination of Act No. 1 of 1965 Presidential Decree on the Abuse and/or Blasphemy against Religion based on the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia (hereafter “Court transcript”), no. 140/puu-vii/2009, VI, 70–73.

2 Indonesian Muslim civil society is rooted in Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, which together run thousands of schools and universities, hundreds of hospitals and clinics, youth organizations, mosques, prayer circles, political parties, and women's wings, and choose leaders at the national, province, district, village, and neighborhood levels. Of Indonesia's two hundred million Muslims, 75 percent identify with one or the other. Mujani, Saiful and Liddle, R. William, “Politics, Islam, and Public Opinion,” Journal of Democracy 15, 1 (2004): 109–23, here 120.

3 While there were similar instances of violence toward minority Christians and Shi'ites during this period, the attacks on Ahmadiyah members were more enduring and departed from the trend of decreasing ethnic conflict since 2003. My tabulation of acts of physical violence against Ahmadiyah members from 2002 to 2006 shows a peak in 2005, with nineteen incidents, and a low of two incidents each in 2003 and 2004. The Setara Institute's list of “acts of intolerance” for 2007–2012 extends beyond violence to include polemics, municipal regulations restricting religious freedom, and “state inaction” in preventing violence. Setara's data show a rise in such acts in 2008 and 2011, with a low in 2007. My data are compiled from Koran Tempo, Bisnis Indonesia, Republika,, Jakarta Post, Suara Karya, Media Indonesia, Suara Pembaruan, Kompas,, and For Setara, see Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, “Siding and Acting Intolerantly: Intolerance by Society and Restriction by the State in Freedom of Religion/Belief in Indonesia,” 2009,; “Report on Freedom of Religion and Belief in 2011,” 2011,; and “Report on Freedom of Religion and Belief in 2012,” 2012, (all accessed 28 Feb. 2013); and Ashutosh Varshney, Rizal Panggabean, and Mohammad Zulfan Tadjoeddin, “Patterns of Collective Violence in Indonesia (1990–2003),” United Nations Support Facility for Indonesian Recovery (UNSFIR) Working Paper, 2004, (accessed 10 Oct. 2009).

4 International Crisis Group (ICG), “Indonesia: From Vigilantism to Terrorism in Cirebon,” Asia Briefing 132 (2012): 10; see also Human Rights Watch (HRW), “In Religion's Name: Abuses against Religious Minorities in Indonesia,” 2013, (accessed 28 Feb. 2013); and ICG, “Indonesia: Implications of the Ahmadiyah Decree,” Asia Briefing 78 (2008).

5 Human Rights First, “Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing ‘Defamation of Religions,’” 2011, (accessed 28 Feb. 2013); HRW, “In Religion's Name.”

6 Andreas Harsono, “No Model for Muslim Democracy,” New York Times, 22 May 2012, (accessed 19 Feb. 2013).

7 Hefner, Robert, Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); Mietzner, Marcus, Military Politics, Islam, and the State in Indonesia: From Turbulent Transition to Democratic Consolidation (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009); Pringle, Robert, Understanding Islam in Indonesia: Politics and Diversity (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2010); Mujani, Saiful and Liddle, R. William, “Muslim Indonesia's Secular Democracy,” Asian Survey 49, 4 (2009): 575–90. The “greening” period of the state, from 1988 to 1992, and a current campaign of “stealth Islamization” are considered exceptions. Liddle, R. William, “The Islamic Turn in Indonesia: A Political Explanation,” Journal of Asian Studies, 55, 3 (1996): 613–34; Thomas B. Pepinsky, R. William Liddle, and Saiful Mujani, “Indonesian Democracy and the Transformation of Political Islam,” unpub. MSS, 2010, (accessed 16 May 2012). For an alternative account, see Laffan, Michael, The Makings of Indonesian Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).

8 Elson, R. E., “Another Look at the Jakarta Charter Controversy of 1945,” Indonesia 88 (2009): 105–30, here 106.

9 In a survey that I conducted in 2010, 75 percent of Muhammadiyah leaders and 59 percent of NU leaders said that no Ahmadiyah member should be allowed to become the mayor in Jakarta. Eighty percent of Muhammadiyah leaders and 67 percent of NU leaders said that Ahmadiyah members should not be allowed to build a house of worship in Jakarta. Eighty-eight percent of Muhammadiyah leaders and 82 percent of NU leaders said that Ahmadiyah members should not be permitted to teach Islamic studies in public schools. Jeremy Menchik, “Tolerance without Liberalism: Islamic Institutions and Political Violence in Twentieth Century Indonesia,” PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011.

10 Benedict Rogers, “Indonesia's Rising Religious Intolerance,” New York Times, 21 May 2012, (accessed 19 Feb. 2013).

11 Al Lisaan 5, 1 (27 Apr. 1936): 38.

12 Melissa Crouch, “Indonesia, Militant Islam and Ahmadiyah: Origins and Implications,” Melbourne Law School Background Paper, 2009, (accessed 2 Apr. 2014); Jeremy Menchik, “Illiberal but not Intolerant: Understanding the Indonesian Council of Ulamas,” Inside Indonesia 90 (Oct.–Dec. 2007), (accessed 2 Apr. 2014).

13 Crouch, “Indonesia, Militant Islam,” 10–12.

14 Abalahin, Andrew J., “A Sixth Religion? Confucianism and the Negotiation of Indonesian-Chinese Identity under the Pancasila State,” in Willford, Andrew C. and George, Kenneth M., eds., Spirited Politics: Religion and Public Life in Contemporary Southeast Asia, (Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publication, 2005), 119–42, here 127; Mulder, Niels, Mysticism and Everyday Life in Contemporary Java (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1978), 56, 109.

15 Orthodoxy is locally and temporally defined. Asad, Talal, The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam (Washington, D.C.: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 1986).

16 Johansen, Baber, “Apostasy as Objective and Depersonalized Fact: Two Recent Egyptian Court Judgments,” Social Research 70, 3 (2003): 687710.

17 Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities, 2d ed. (London: Verso, 2003), 6.

18 Ibid., 163–85.

19 van der Veer, Peter, Religious Nationalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

20 There are important exceptions. Juergensmeyer relies on a Geertzian conception of religion and a Weberian approach to politics to suggest that these two totalizing aspects of culture are in perpetual competition. See Gellner and Smith for parallel accounts of how religion constitutes nationalism. Juergensmeyer, Mark, “The New Religious State,” Comparative Politics 27, 4 (1995): 379–91; Gellner, Ernest, Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983); Smith, Anthony D., Chosen Peoples (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); and The Cultural Foundations of Nations: Hierarchy, Covenant and Republic (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2008).

21 van der Veer, Peter and Lehmann, Hartmut, eds., Nation and Religion: Perspectives on Europe and Asia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).

22 Chatterjeee, Partha, “On Religious and Linguistic Nationalism: The Second Partition of Bengal,” in van der Veer, Peter and Lehmann, Hartmut, eds., Nation and Religion: Perspectives on Europe and Asia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 126. See also Marx, Anthony W., Faith in Nation: Exclusionary Origins of Nationalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).

23 Asad, Talal, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003).

24 Hirschkind, Charles, “Civic Virtue and Religious Reason: An Islamic Counterpublic,” Cultural Anthropology 16, 1 (2001): 334.

25 Wedeen, Lisa, Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power and Performance in Yemen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 914; Brubaker, Rogers, Ethnicity without Groups (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004).

26 Laffan, Michael, Islamic Nationhood and Colonial Indonesia: The Umma below the Winds (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 176.

27 Ibid., 18.

28 Elson, Robert, “Nationalism, Islam, ‘Secularism’ and the State in Contemporary Indonesia,” Australian Journal of International Affairs 64, 3 (2010): 328–43, here 328.

29 Formichi, Chiara, “Pan-Islam and Religious Nationalism: The Case of Kartosuwiryo and Negara Islam Indonesia,” Indonesia 90 (Oct. 2010): 125–46; and Islam and the Making of the Nation: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th Century Indonesia (Leiden: KITLV, and Honolulu: University of Hawaìi Press, 2012).

30 Kevin Fogg, “The Fate of Muslim Nationalism in Independent Indonesia,” PhD diss., Yale University, 2012.

31 See, for example, Mujani and Liddle, “Muslim Indonesia's Secular Democracy”; Salim, Arskal, Challenging the Secular State: The Islamization of Law in Modern Indonesia (Honolulu: University of Hawaìi Press, 2008). Similarly, Anderson's most recent statement on Indonesian nationalism celebrates the unifying, productive power of secular nationalism against regional and ethnic particularism. His only mention of religion pejoratively links it to the mass killings of Indonesian Communist Party members in 1965–1966. Anderson, Benedict R. O'G., “Indonesian Nationalism Today and in the Future,” Indonesia 67 (1999): 111, here 10.

32 Ramage, Douglas E., Politics in Indonesia: Democracy, Islam and the Ideology of Tolerance (London: Routledge, 1995).

33 Mujani and Liddle, “Muslim Indonesia's Secular Democracy,” 577–78.

34 Assyaukanie, Luthfi, Islam and the Secular State in Indonesia (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009), 155–58.

35 Agrama, Hussein Ali, “Secularism, Sovereignty, Indeterminacy: Is Egypt a Secular or a Religious State?Comparative Studies in Society and History 52, 3 (2010): 495523.

36 Bellah, Robert, The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in a Time of Trial (New York: Seabury Press, 1975).

37 The two factions of Ahmadiyah Indonesia—Qadiani and Lahore—are seen as differing on the question of the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad. Qadiani Ahmadis believe that Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet who came after Muhammad. Lahoris believe that Ghulam Ahmad was a renewer (mujaddid) of Islam. Beck, Herman L., “The Rupture between the Muhammadiyah and the Ahmadiyya,” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde 161, 2/3 (2005): 133; Pijper, G. F., Empat penelitian tentang agama Islam di Indonesia antara 1930–1950, Tudijamah, trans. (Jakarta: Penerbit Universitas Indonesia, 1992).

38 Indonesian “reformers” or “modernists” are part of the broader twentieth-century movement to revitalize Islamic societies through scientific and sociological modernization, based on the ideas of Mohammad Abduh and Rasyid Ridha.

39 Ali, Moehammad, Pergerakan Ahmadiah itoe apakah? Pengertian-pengertian salah (Djokjakarta: Persatoean Moehammadijah, 1925); Beck, “Rupture”; Hasan, S. J., “Noeroellah dan Peradaban Moeslimin,” Suara Muhammadiyah 8 (1927): 349–50; Ma'loemat dari Hoofdbestuur Moehammadijah,” Suara Muhammadiyah 10 (1928): 33; and Poeteosan Congres 1928,” Suara Muhammadiyah 10 (1928): 34.

40 Ichwan notes that a translation and exegesis of the Qur'an by Ahmadi leader Maulvi Muhammad Ali was condemned by Rasyid Ridha as including distorting verses to claim revelation for Ghulam Ahmad and for being a literal translation of a text that should be read in the original Arabic. While the condemnation influenced Muhammadiyah's break from Ahmadiyah, the translation continues to be used by Indonesian Muslims, and was even approved and certified by the MORA. Ichwan, Moch Nur, “Differing Responses to an Ahmadi Translation and Exegesis: The Holy Qur'ân in Egypt and Indonesia,” Archipel 62 (2001): 143–61; see also Hadji Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah (Hamka), Ajahku (Jakarta: Widjaja, 1982), 137–41.

41 Muhammadiyah, Pimpinan Besar, Pemandangan: Agama Islam dan Kaum Moeslimin (Yogayakarta: P. B. Moehammadijah Almanak Moehammadijah, 1929), 6364.

42 Beck, “Rupture,” 24.

43 Founded in the early twentieth century, Persis is one of Indonesia's oldest Islamist organizations, comparable to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Federspiel, Howard, Islam and Ideology in the Emerging Indonesian State: The Persatuan Islam (Persis), 1923–1957, 2d ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2001).

44 T. M. Ng. M. Djojosoegito,” Pembela Islam 1, 8 (May 1930): 17; Ahmadijah dan India (Dari madjallah Al-Fat-h),” Pembela Islam 1, 12 (Sept. 1930): 14; Comite Pendirian: N. V. Drukkerij Moeslim Indonesia, Mataram,” Pembela Islam 1, 14 (Nov. 1930): 3133; and Soera Islam di Lahore-Congress: Choeth-bah Beiga Maulana Moehammad ‘Ali,” Pembela Islam 2, 19 (Feb. 1931): 3235.

45 Soerat terboeka,” Pembela Islam 2, 22 (Mar. 1931): 2325; Kiaji masoek Kristen,” Pembela Islam 2, 29 (July 1931): 10; and Doenia Islam,” Pembela Islam 2, 34 (Sept. 1931): 2730.

46 Hassan, Ahmad, “Ahmadijah: Keterangan tentang Nabi ‘Isa tidak berbapa,” Pembela Islam 2, 28 (June 1931): 3739.

47 Federspiel, Islam and Ideology, 151–54.

48 Mendjawab tantangar Ahmadijah,” Pembela Islam 2, 56 (Dec. 1932): 48; Perdebatan Antara Pembela Islam dan Ahmadijah,” Pembela Islam 3, 57 (Jan. 1932): 3742; and Perslag Opisil dari Perdebatan: Pembela Islam—Ahmadijah Qadian,” Pembela Islam 3, 61 (May 1933): 3742; and continued in 3, 62 (June 1933): 25–30; 3, 63 (July 1933): 27–32; and 3, 64 (Aug. 1933): 20–25.

49 Soerat Terbuka Kepada Saudara-Saudara jang termasoek Ahmadijah,” Pembela Islam 66, 4 (Jan. 1934): 67.

50 Si Goblok,” Pembela Islam 4, 69 (Jan. 1935): 1718.

51 Satoe i'tiqad jang sesat,” Pembela Islam 4, 69 (Jan. 1935): 1920.

52 “Qoerban di Soekawarna,” Al Lisaan 1, 3 (24 Feb. 1936): 38–39.

53 Al Lisaan 1, 5 (27 Apr. 1936): 38; and “Comité Anti Ahmadijah,” Al Lisaan 1, 7 (25 June 1936): 31.

54 “Comite Pembanteras Ahmadijah Medan,” Al Lisaan 1, 1 (27 Dec. 1935): 24–25.

55 Pijper, “Empat penelitian,” 39.

56 Ibid.,” 39–40.

57 “Roeangan Dadjdjal,” Al Lisaan 7, 1 (25 June 1936): 15–17; and “Ahmadijah Lahore mendjawab,” Al Lisaan 7, 1 (25 June 1936): 26.

58 In the Indonesian vernacular, a “traditionalist” is someone who identifies with practices of Islam laid down in the Syafii school of jurisprudence.

59 Swara Nahdlatul Ulama 2, 5 (1928 [1347]): 102–3; and 2, 6 (1928 [1347]): 122–23. Harry J. Benda noted that opposition to Ahmadiyah was one of very few causes that NU and Muhammadiyah shared in the late 1920s; in The Crescent and the Rising Sun: Indonesian Islam under the Japanese Occupation, 1942–1945 (The Hague: W. van Hoeve, 1958), 54. Another was the dissolution of the caliphate.

60 “Al-Lisaan Contra B.N.O,” Berita Nahdlatoel-‘Oelama 5, 7 (1 Feb. 1936): 6–10.

61 “Roengan Dadjdjal: Ahmadijah dan N.O.,” Al Lisaan 1, 13 (23 Dec. 1936): 16; and “Ahmadijah dan Talqien,” Al Lisaan 1, 13 (23 Dec. 1936): 16.

62 For example, the NU magazine Berita Nahdlatoel-‘Oelama reprinted wholesale a Persis denunciation of Ahmadiyah, while other pages of the magazine were used to dispute Persis doctrine. “Achmadijah: Dari Pembela Islam Lahat kita terima soerat sebaran berikoet ini; Sifat Propaganda Achmadijah, Perloe Awas!” Berita Nahdlatoel-‘Oelama 5, 11 (1 Apr. 1936): 14–16.

63 “Soerat dari Ir Soekarno dari Endeh,” Al Lisaan 1, 13 (23 Dec. 1936): 17–20.

64 van Bruinessen, Martin, “Muslims of the Dutch East Indies and the Caliphate Question,” Studia Islamika 2, 3 (1995): 115–40, here 12.

65 Quoted in Noer, Deliar, The Modernist Muslim Movement in Indonesia 1900–1942 (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1978), 241. Fur'iyah is a term in Islamic jurisprudence that describes matters of difference among Muslims that do not affect basic belief and doctrine. Fur'iyah is contrasted with usuliyah, which are issues of core doctrine. Ahmadiyah's denial of the finality of the Prophet is considered a question of usuliyah.

66 Federspiel, Howard, A Dictionary of Indonesian Islam (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1995), 10.

67 Noer, Modernist Muslim Movement, 243–44; “T. Wondoamiseno dan Secretariaatnja ‘Madjlis Islam Loehoer,’” Berita Nahdlatoel-‘Oelama 7, 15 (1 June 1938): 12–13.

68 “Ma'loemat Officieel tentang moendoernja Delegatie H.B.N.O. dari Al-Islam Congress,” Berita Nahdlatoel-‘Oelama 7, 11 (1 Apr. 1938): 5–7.

69 “Achmadijah,” Berita Nahdlatoel-‘Oelama 7, 22 (15 Sept. 1938): 8–10; continued in 7, 24 (15 Oct. 1938): 11–12; and 8, 1 (1 Jan. 1939): 30.

70 Madjlis Islam A'laa Indonesia, Soeara Madjlis Islam A'laa Indonesia (Jakarta, n.p., n.d. [1941]).

71 Not surprisingly, MIAI's goals were those of an emergent umma: to strengthen bonds between Islamic organizations, defend Islam, and promote pan-Islamic ties. Elson, R. E., “Disunity, Distance, Disregard: The Political Failure of Islamism in Late Colonial Indonesia,” Studia Islamika 16, 1 (2009): 150, here 28.

72 Mizan Sya'roni, “The Majlisul Islamil a'la Indonesia (MIAI): Its Socio-Religious and Political Activities (1937–1943),” MA thesis, McGill University, 1998, 2.

73 Noer, Modernist Muslim Movement, 244 n. 106. While the coalition splintered when NU broke off from Masyumi in 1953, its position on Ahmadiyah remained unchanged.

74 Benda, Crescent and the Rising Sun, 166.

75 Boland, B. J., The Struggle of Islam in Modern Indonesia (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1982), 108.

76 Abalahin, “A Sixth Religion?” 121; Mulder, Mysticism, 4.

77 Muhammadiyah, Pimpinan Pusat, “Kitab Masalah Lima” (1942), in Abdurrahman, Asyumuni and Moelyadi, eds., Himpunan Putusan Majelis Tarjih Muhammadiyah (Malang: Pimpinan Pusat Muhammadiyah, 1999), 276–78.

78 In contrast to its treatment of Ahmadiyah, the MORA worked with Balinese elites to mold their religion into a form of monotheism including a single holy book, a prophet, a system of law, standardized ritual practices, and origins in India. Geertz, Clifford, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 170–89; Atkinson, Jane Monnig, “Religions in Dialogue: The Construction of an Indonesian Minority Religion,” American Ethnologist 10, 4 (1983): 684–96; Schiller, Anne, “An ‘Old’ Religion in ‘New Order’ Indonesia: Notes on Ethnicity and Religious Affiliation,” Sociology of Religion 57, 4 (1996): 409–17.

79 In 1948 the MORA published a book by the traditionalist Muslim author and activist H. Aboebakar which included an appendix listing the Ahmadiyah as one of many “false revelations” (Sedjarah al-Qur'an, Jogjakarta: Kementerian Agama, 325). A delegation of Ahmadiyyah leaders protested their inclusion on the list. The response by the ministry was ambiguous. The young NU leader Wahid Hasjim distanced the ministry from the publication of the book and subsequent editions were published by a private publisher. One month later, however, on August 16, 1951, the MORA's Secretary General Mohammad Kafrawi responded to the Ahmadiyah in a letter saying that he had consulted with H. Aboebakar, who defended his conclusions. I am grateful to Kevin Fogg for sharing his notes on this incident. See Wahid Hasjim to Pengurus Besar Djema'at Ahmadiyah Indonesia, 20 July 1951, in ANRI, RA7 Kabinet Presiden, #163; Letter from the Ministry of Religion to Pengurus Besar Djema'at Ahmadiyah Indonesia, 16 Aug. 1951, in ANRI, RA7 Kabinet Presiden, #163.

80 Mulder, Mysticism, 109.

81 Abalahin, “A Sixth Religion?” 134.

82 See, for example, Iqbal, Sir Muhammad, Islam and Ahmadism (Lucknow: Islamic Research and Publications Academy, 1974), 7.

83 Yosef Djakababa, “The Construction of History under Indonesia's New Order: The Making of the Lubang Buaya Official Narrative,” PhD diss., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2009, 50, 55.

84 “Penetapan Presiden No. 1/1965 tentang Pentjegahan Penjalahgun Dan/Atau Penodaan Agama,” Suara Merdeka, 9 Mar. 1965: 1.

85 The law has been used to prosecute both blasphemy (offensive speech about sacred matters) and heresy (belief that runs counter to orthodox doctrine).

86 Howell, Julia D., “Muslims, the New Age and Marginal Religions in Indonesia: Changing Meanings of Religious Pluralism,” Social Compass 52, 4 (2005): 473–93, here 473; Ricklefs, M. C., A History of Modern Indonesia since c. 1200, 4th ed. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 340.

87 “Pernjataan Bersama Partai-2 Dan Ormas Islam,” Arsip Nasional (AN)/NU 106. See also “Pernjataan Bersama Partai-2 dan Ormas Islam,” Berita Antara, 18 Mar. 1965. NU's youth wing issued a similar statement on 23 March: “Putjuk Pimpinan Gerakan Pemuda Anshor,” AN/NU 106, no. PP/616/B/III/1965.

88 “Bung Karna Adalah Djuga Pemimpin Dunia Islam,” Suara Merdeka, 9 Mar. 1965: 1; Fogg, “Fate of Muslim Nationalism,” 411.

89 Suharto's attempt to make Pancasila the “sole foundation” (Azas Tunggal) for social organization's policies strengthened godly nationalism by making belief in God mandatory, although mass organizations interpreted Pancasila in diverse ways. Ramage, Politics in Indonesia, 15–18.

90 Office for the Research and Development of Religion, “Organization of the Department of Religion” (Jakarta: the MORA, 1993). Confucianism was recognized by the MORA in 1950 and by President Sukarno in 1965, derecognized by Soeharto in 1979, and then re-recognized in 2000 after democratization. Abalahin, “A Sixth Religion?”

91 Friedmann, Yohanan, Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Aḥmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 44.

92 While in the 1950s the MORA was trying to marginalize the Ahmadiyah, the Ministry of Justice apparently issued a letter of recognition to Ahmadiyah, a point of longstanding frustration to the MUI. See Tim Penyunting Majelis Ulama Indonesia, Himpunan Fatwa Majelis Ulama Indonesia, (Jakarta: Majelis Ulama Indonesia, 1997), 71, citing Surat Keputusan Menteri Kehakiman RI No JA/23/13, 13 Mar. 1953; Menchik, “Illiberal but not Intolerant”; Hasyim, Syafiq, “The Council of Indonesian Ulama (Majelis Ulama Indonesia, MUI) and Religious Freedom,” Irasec's Discussion Paper 12 (2011); Ichwan, Moch Nur, “Towards a Puritanical Moderate Islam: The Majelis Ulama Indonesia and the Politics of Religious Orthodoxy,” in van Bruinessen, Martin, ed., Contemporary Developments in Indonesian Islam: Explaining the ‘Conservative Turn’ (Singapore: Institute of South East Asian Studies, 2013), 60104.

93 Indeed, my conversations with the younger generation of Persis leaders suggest they are more supportive of violence against Ahmadiyah than the older generation is. Author's interviews, Tasikmalaya, 25–27 Sept. 2010.

94 Kersten, Carool, Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011).

95 Two Ahmadiyah mosques in West Java were attacked on 23 December 2002, following the local government's decision to prohibit the activities of Ahmadiyah. Alfitri, “Religious Liberty in Indonesia and the Rights of ‘Deviant’ Sects,” Asian Journal of Comparative Law 3, 1 (2008): 127, here 3, n. 15, 23; Crouch, “Indonesia, Militant Islam,” 11.

96 Uli Parulian Sihombing, interview by the author, Jakarta, 12 Feb. 2010.

97 Crouch, “Indonesia, Militant Islam,” 13.

98 The petitioners included the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, the Equal Community Association, Desantara Foundation, the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation, Abdurrahman Wahid, Prof. Dr. Musdah Mulia, Prof. M. Dawam Rahardjo, and Maman Imanul Haq.

99 For a thorough legal analysis of the decision, see Crouch, Melissa, “Law and Religion in Indonesia: The Constitutional Court and the Blasphemy Law,” Asian Journal of Comparative Law 7, 1 (2012): 146.

100 Uli Parulian Sihombing, interview by the author, Jakarta, 12 Feb. 2010.

101 Author's observation at the petitioners' strategy meeting, Wahid Institute, Jakarta, 9 Feb. 2010.

102 Uli Parulian Sihombing, interview by the author, 19 Apr. 2010. Representatives from Jemaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia said that Choirul Anam, a petitioner, did not want Ahmadis to testify because he feared the debate would then revolve around them. Jemaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia, interview by the author, Jakarta, 22 Sept. 2010.

103 Author's observations, Constitutional Court Building, Jakarta, 10, 17, and 24 Feb., and 3, 10, 12, and 17 Mar., 2010.

104 See Ramage, Politics in Indonesia, on the continuing debates over the social contract.

105 Court transcript, 140/puu-vii/2009, III, 33. The court heard similar testimony from Muhammad Al Khotob and Wirawan Adnan from Forum Ummat Islam (FUI), Muhammad Al Khaththath from FUI, and Habib Riziek Shiyab from FPI.

106 Ibid., V, 93–95.

107 Ibid., X, 14.

108 Author's observations, Constitutional Court Building, Jakarta, 10 and 12 Mar. 2010.

109 Court transcript, 140/puu-vii/2009, III, 44–47.

110 Ibid., 47–51.

111 Mu'ti, Abdul and Fajar Riza ul Haq, Kristen Muhammadiyah: Konvergensi Muslim dan Kristen Dalam Pendidikan (Jakarta: Al-Wasat, 2009).

112 Syafii Maarif, interview by the author and Alfred Stepan, Jakarta, 30 Sept. 2009.

113 Court transcript, 140/puu-vii/2009, IV, 18–20. On fur'iyah and usuliyah, see note 65.

114 Asrul Sani, interview by the author, Jakarta, 11 Feb. 2010.

115 Expanding the scope of recognition of orthodox religions has precedent in the reformulation of Balinese religion into Hinduism (Geertz, Interpretation of Cultures).

116 A spokesperson for Ahmadiyah, however, rejected the proposal on the grounds that their religion is Islam and not Ahmadiyah. Ahmad Masihuddin, interview by the author, Jakarta, 22 Sept. 2010.

117 Court transcript, 140/puu-vii/2009, IV, 16–18.

118 Ibid., VII, 28–30.

119 Ibid., VI, 69.

120 Ibid., V, 13–15.

121 Ibid., VI, 70–73.

122 Ibid., VII, 30–35.

123 Ibid., VI, 74–78.

124 Ibid., XI, 79–85. The interfaith spiritual guru Anand Krishna, atheists, and Shi'ites have been arrested and brought to trial under the same law and could have testified as victims. I am grateful to an anonymous CSSH reviewer for this point.

125 Court transcript, 140/puu-vii/2009 VII, 61. At least five hundred thousand members of the PKI were killed in a coup orchestrated by Soeharto from 1965 to 1966. It is still illegal to belong to the PKI.

126 Ibid., 57–58. The dismissive invocation of ritual as cultural or folkloric has parallels in Turkey, where Alevism has served as the site for contestation over the religious imaginaries of the nation. Tambar, Kabir, “The Aesthetics of Public Visibility: Alevi Semah and the Paradoxes of Pluralism in TurkeyComparative Studies in Society and History 53: 3 (2010): 652–79.

127 Author's observation, Jakarta, 3 Mar. 2010; court transcript, 140/puu-vii/2009 VII, 10.

128 Ibid., 53–55.

129 Constitutional court verdict, 2010, 140/puu-vii/2009, 3.58.

130 Court transcript, 140/puu-vii/2009,VII, 56–57. Zachawerus's belief that the state has jurisdiction over the welfare of the soul hints at support for more aggressive coercion of individual belief than practiced by the MORA, which says individuals must publicly believe in God but possess absolute internal religious freedom.

131 Asrul Sani, interview by the author, Jakarta, 11 Feb. 2010; Wahid Institute, “Monthly Report on Religious Issues,” June (2008): 11, 12.

132 Shaafi Maarif, interview by the author and Alfred Stepan, Jakarta, 30 Sept. 2009. Muhammadiyah left Masyumi in 1959.

133 Mahmood, Saba, The Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), ch. 2.

134 Constitutional court verdict, 2010, 140/puu-vii/2009, 3.34.11, my emphasis.

135 Jakarta Post, “NU Opposes Blasphemy Law Review,” 1 Feb. 2010, (accessed 25 June 2010).

136 Aspinall, Edward, “From Islamism to Nationalism in Aceh, Indonesia,” Nations and Nationalism 13, 2 (2007): 245–63; National Family Planning Coordinating Board, The Muslim Ummah and Family Planning Movement in Indonesia (Jakarta: National Family Planning Coordinating Board and Department of Religious Affairs, 1993).

137 I borrow the concept of an “overlapping consensus” from Rawls, John, Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 134.

138 For a parallel social account of the role of nasīha (advice) in creating a public sphere distinct from that of the liberal tradition, see Asad, Talal, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), ch. 6.

139 Pew Research Center, “Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality,” Mar. 2014, (accessed 2 Apr. 2014).

140 Jeffrey M Jones, “Atheists, Muslims See Most Bias as Presidential Candidates,” 21 June 2012, (accessed 2 Apr. 2014).

141 David Cameron, “Prime Minister's King James Bible Speech,” Number 10 Downing Street: The Official Site of the British Prime Minister's Office, (accessed 26 June 2012).

142 Natsir, Mohammad, “Islamic Tolerance” (originally published 1954), in Feith, Herbert and Castles, Lance, eds., Indonesian Political Thinking 1945–1965 (repr., Jakarta: Equinox, 2007 [1970]).

143 Mahmood, Saba, “Religious Freedom, the Minority Question, and Geopolitics in the Middle East,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 54, 2 (2012): 418–46.

144 Ulil Abshar Abdalla, interview by the author, Jakarta, 12 June 2009.

145 On the concept of communal tolerance, see J. Menchik, “Tolerance without Liberalism.”

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
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