Tag Archives: Islam

Jokowi’s power play

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo’s decree on Wednesday banning organisations that do not support the state ideology of ‘Pancasila’ (Five Principles) has sparked strong protest from both human rights and Islamist groups in Indonesia and sparked some alarm abroad. It’s the first time such a presidential decree has been issued since Indonesia’s hard-line leader Suharto was […]

Aceh whippings hide deeper problem with Indonesian Islam

Reporting of two gay men being publically whipped in the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh has sparked concerns that Indonesia’s long-vaunted ‘tolerant’ Islam is turning fundamentalist. Islam in Indonesia is in a process of change and a more fundamentalist version of the faith is increasingly prominent. The ‘Aceh whippings’, however, may be misleading. Aceh was […]

Jakarta elections mark Indonesia’s increasingly conservative turn

The overwhelming defeat of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama as Jakarta’s governor has marked the most divisive and religiously focused major election in Indonesia’s post-Suharto period. The election was marked by sectarian protests and has resulted in a strong win by former Education and Culture Minister Anies Baswedan. Purnama – better known as ‘Ahok’ – a Christian […]

The Netherlands facing a far right challenge

The Netherlands goes to the polls next Wednesday in what is likely to establish a new model for European politics as it increasingly confronts the rise of the far right. As far right parties appeal to larger blocs of votes, political competition is becoming one of centrist parties banding together to block political extremism. ‘Godwin’s […]

One Euro

The Athens suburb of Koukaki is pleasant, it’s once working class roughness having long since given way to gentrification. Athens’ middle class might be doing it tough in these times of austerity and near economic collapse, but there’s not a lot of that to be seen here. That is probably why it attracts the under-employed […]

The regional battle for the heart and soul of Islam

Australia is facing a new regional challenge as its northern neighbours increasingly join a global trend towards a more fundamentalist form of Islam. While this shift in religious orientation does not present a direct threat to Australia – at least for the time being – it is already complicating Australia’s regional relationships. The Sultan of […]

ISIL challenges the Mid-East’s arbitrary division

As events unfold in Iraq, the US finds itself in the curious position of moving towards effective support for Syria’s President Bashar al Assad. Having first intervened in Iraq and then folding on a threat to take action in Syria, the US faces the alternative of the break-up of the nearly century-long construction of the […]

Should MasterChef have asked Samira to cook pork?

Many Australians would have watched Muslim MasterChef contestant Samira get kicked off the show on Wednesday night for cooking the worst pork hot dog.  To be fair, putting it that way distorts the decision – it was her brioche bun that undid her. But in my mind there were bigger questions raised last night than […]

Peace in Mindanao

The peace agreement between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed on Sunday has, it seems, brought to an end four decades of a bloody and destructive war in the southern Philippines that has cost an estimated 150,000 lives. Assuming the peace agreement holds, it will create an autonomous Islamic […]

The Middle East should not adopt Western democracy

In order for democracy to really take hold in the wake of the recent Arab Revolutions, the people of the region should be careful not to conform to Western ideas of democracy and instead develop their own model, one relevant to their own cultural norms and in tune with their own rich history of democracy. […]