The Crescent Rising over Nusantara. Discourses of Re-Islamization in Malaysia and Indonesia

  • Jan Stark (Autor/in)

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This paper argues that the remote-controlled network theories about al-Qaedsa and Co. need to be questioned in order to understand the possible rist and dangers behind a resurgent Islam in the Muslim regions of Southeast Asia, mainly Indonesia and Malaysia. While terrorism experts maintain there exists an international threat that originates in the highlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the present paper holds the local governments responsible. Arguably they have driven Islam more and more towards radicalized discourses by being too restrictive towards diverging political opinions. Instead, as is shown in the case of Malaysia, there is a long tradition of political suppression from the British colonial era to Mahathir and Badawi that has resulted in a gradual radicalization of Islam. 1957-2007 mark 50 years of transformation-of-the-state-processes in which liberal Islam has often clashed with imaginations of a conservative sharia state. The outcome threatens the fabric of a hitherto liberal multi-ethnic, multi-cultural approach in Southeast Asia, all the more since Indonesia also started to pursue a conservative re-Islamization at a breathtaking pace.