Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Role of Religious Fundamentalism in the Intersection of National and Religious Identities

  • Susilo Wibisono (a1), Winnifred Louis (a1) and Jolanda Jetten (a1)


Indonesia has seen recent expansions of fundamentalist movements mobilising members in support a change to the current constitution. Against this background, two studies were conducted. In Study 1, we explored the intersection of religious and national identity among Indonesian Muslims quantitatively, and in Study 2, we qualitatively examined religious and national identification among members of moderate and fundamentalist religious organisations. Specifically, Study 1 (N = 178) assessed whether the association of religious and national identity was moderated by religious fundamentalism. Results showed that strength of religious identification was positively associated with strength of national identification for both those high and low in fundamentalism. Using structured interviews and focus group discussions, Study 2 (N = 35) examined the way that self-alignment with religious and national groups develops among activists of religious movements in Indonesia. We found that while more fundamentalist activists attached greater importance to their religious identity than to any other identity (e.g., national and ethnic), more moderate activists represented their religious and national identities as more integrated and compatible. We conclude that for Indonesian Muslims higher in religious fundamentalism, religious and national identities appear to be less integrated and this is consequential for the way in which collective agendas are pursued.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The Role of Religious Fundamentalism in the Intersection of National and Religious Identities
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The Role of Religious Fundamentalism in the Intersection of National and Religious Identities
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The Role of Religious Fundamentalism in the Intersection of National and Religious Identities
      Available formats


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Susilo Wibisono, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, McElwain Building, Room 303, St Lucia QLD 4067, Australia. Email:


Hide All
Altemeyer, B., & Hunsberger, B. (1992). Authoritarianism, religious fundamentalism, quest, and prejudice. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 2, 113133.10.1207/s15327582ijpr0202_5
Altemeyer, B., & Hunsberger, B. (2004). A revised religious fundamentalism scale: The short and sweet of it. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 14, 4754.10.1207/s15327582ijpr1401_4
Ashforth, B.E., & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organization. Academy of Management Review, 14, 2039. doi: 10.2307/258189
Asp, E., Ramchandran, K., & Tranel, D. (2012). Authoritarianism, religious fundamentalism, and the human prefrontal cortex. Neuropsychology, 26, 414421. doi:10.1037/a0028526
Beller, J., & Kroger, C. (2017). Is religious fundamentalism a dimensional or a categorical phenomenon? A taxometric analysis in two samples of youth from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 9, 158164. doi:10.1037/rel0000085
Blogowska, J., & Saroglou, V. (2011). Religious fundamentalism and limited prosociality as a function of the target. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50, 4460. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2010.01551.x
Bradford, B., Hohl, K., Jackson, J., & MacQueen, S. (2015). Obeying the rules of the road: Procedural justice, social identity and normative compliance. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 31, 171191.10.1177/1043986214568833
Braun, V., Clarke, V., & Weate, P. (2016). Using thematic analysis in sport and exercise research. In Smith, B. & Sparkes, A.C. (Eds.), Routledge handbook of qualitative research in sport and exercise (pp. 191205). London, UK: Routledge.
Burhani, A.N. (2013). Defining Indonesian Islam: An examination of the construction of the national Islamic identity of traditionalist and modernist Muslims. Islam in Indonesia: Contrasting Images and Interpretations, 16, 2547.
Cannold, L. (2011). Australia's fading separation between church and state. ABC News. Retrieved from
Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2017). Thematic analysis. Journal of Positive Psychology, 12, 297298. doi:10.1080/17439760.2016.1262613
Doosje, B., Moghaddam, F.M., Kruglanski, A.W., de Wolf, A., Mann, L., & Feddes, A.R. (2016). Terrorism, radicalization and de-radicalization. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 7984. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.06.008
Druckman, D. (1994). Nationalism, patriotism, and group loyalty: A social psychological perspective. Mershon International Studies Review, 38, 4368.
Duriesmith, D. (2018). Hybrid warriors and the formation of new war masculinities: A case study of Indonesian foreign fighters. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 7, 116.10.5334/sta.633
Haynes, J. (1995). Religion, fundamentalism and ethnicity: A global perspective (UNRISD Discussion Paper 65). Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).
Hood, R.W., Hill, P.C., & Williamson, W.P. (2005). The psychology of religious fundamentalism. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Kanas, A., & Martinovic, B. (2017). Political action in conflict and nonconflict regions in Indonesia: The role of religious and national identifications. Political Psychology, 38, 209225. doi:10.1111/pops.12345
Kanas, A., Scheepers, P., & Sterkens, C. (2016). Religious identification and interreligious contact in Indonesia and the Philippines: Testing the mediating roles of perceived group threat and social dominance orientation and the moderating role of context. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 700715. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2212
Khisbiyah, Y. (2009). Contested discourses on violence, social justice, and peacebuilding among Indonesian Muslims. In Montiel, C.J. & Noor, N.M. (Eds.), Peace psychology in Asia (pp. 123145). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-0143-9_7
Knaap, G. (2014). Islamic resistance in the Dutch colonial empire. In Motadel, D. (Ed.), Islam and the European empires. Oxford Scholarship Online.
Liht, J., Conway, L.G., Savage, S., White, W., & O'Neill, K.A. (2011). Religious fundamentalism: An empirically derived construct and measurement scale. Archive for the Psychology of Religion-Archiv Fur Religionspsychologie, 33, 299323. doi:10.1163/157361211x594159
Mavor, K.I., Louis, W.R., & Laythe, B. (2011). Religion, prejudice, and authoritarianism: Is RWA a boon or bane to the psychology of religion? Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50, 2243. doi:j.1468-5906.2010.01550.x
Meeus, J., Duriez, B., Vanbeselaere, N., & Boen, F. (2010). The role of national identity representation in the relation between in-group identification and out-group derogation: Ethnic versus civic representation. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49 (Pt 2), 305320. doi:10.1348/014466609X451455
Muhtadi, B. (2009). The quest for Hizbut Tahrir in Indonesia. Asian Journal of Social Science, 37, 623645. doi:10.1163/156853109x460219
Mummendey, A., & Wenzel, M. (1999). Social discrimination and tolerance in intergroup relations: Reactions to intergroup difference. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3, 158174.
Nakhleh, E. (2009). ‘Moderates’ redefined: How to deal with political Islam. Current History, 108, 402.
Osman, M.N.M. (2010a). Reviving the caliphate in the Nusantara: Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia's mobilization strategy and its impact in Indonesia. Terrorism and Political Violence, 22, 601622. doi:10.1080/09546553.2010.496317
Osman, M.N.M. (2010b). The transnational network of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia. South East Asia Research, 18, 735755. doi:10.5367/sear.2010.0018
Pisani, E., & Buehler, M. (2017). Why do Indonesian politicians promote Sharia laws? An analytic framework for Muslim-majority democracies. Third World Quarterly, 38, 734752. doi:10.1080/01436597.2016.1206453
Pohl, F. (2015). ‘I Come from a Pancasila family’: A discursive study on Muslim-Christian identity transformation in Indonesian post-reformasi era. Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 50, 504505.10.1353/ecu.2015.0053
Rieffer, B.-A.J. (2003). Religion and nationalism: Understanding the consequences of a complex relationship. Ethinicities, 3, 215242.
Rogers, M.B., Loewenthal, K.M., Lewis, C.A., Amlot, R., Cinnirella, M., & Ansari, H. (2007). The role of religious fundamentalism in terrorist violence: A social psychological analysis. International Review of Psychiatry, 19, 253262. doi:10.1080/09540260701349399
Setijadi, C. (2017). Chinese Indonesians in the eyes of the Pribumi public. Perspective, No. 73, 112.
Simon, B., Trotschel, R., & Dahne, D. (2008). Identity affirmation and social movement support. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 935946. doi:10.1002/ejsp.473
Smith, A.D. (2001). Nationalism: Theory, ideology, history. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
Stankov, L., Saucier, G., & Knezevic, G. (2010). Militant extremist mind-set: Proviolence, vile world, and divine power. Psychological Assessment, 22, 7086. doi:10.1037/a0016925.
Strathern, A. (2013). Why are Buddhist monks attacking Muslims?. BBC Magazine. Retrieved from
Takwin, B., Mudzakkir, A., Salim, H., Ahnaf, M.I., & Hamdi, A.Z. (2016). Studies on tolerance and radicalism in Indonesia: The learning taken from 4 different areas: Tasikmalaya, Yogyakarta, Bojonegoro and Kupang. Jakarta, Indonesia: The Wahid Institute.
Verkuyten, M., Maliepaard, M., Martinovic, B., & Khoudja, Y. (2014). Political tolerance among Muslim minorities in Western Europe: The role of denomination and religious and host national identification. Politics and Religion, 7, 265286. doi:10.1017/S1755048314000212
Verkuyten, M., & Yildiz, A.A. (2007). National (dis)identification and ethnic and religious identity: A study among Turkish-Dutch Muslims. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 14481462.
Ward, K. (2009). Non-violent extremists? Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 63, 149164. doi:10.1080/10357710902895103
Webber, D., Babush, M., Schori-Eyal, N., Vazeou-Nieuwenhuis, A., Hettiarachchi, M., Belanger, J.J., . . . Gelfand, M.J. (2017). The road to extremism: Field and experimental evidence that significance loss-induced need for closure fosters radicalization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114, 270285.10.1037/pspi0000111
Wellman, J.K., & Tokuno, K. (2004). Is religious violence inevitable? Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 43, 291296.
Williamson, W.P., & Ahmad, A. (2007). Survey research and Islamic fundamentalism: A question about validity. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 2, 155176.
Ysseldyk, R., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2010). Religiosity as identity: Toward an understanding of religion from a social identity perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14, 6071.


The Role of Religious Fundamentalism in the Intersection of National and Religious Identities

  • Susilo Wibisono (a1), Winnifred Louis (a1) and Jolanda Jetten (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed