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Indonesia – exporter of Islam

With identity politics, particularly Islamic politics, proving an effective and influential vehicle for his potential political rivals, it’s likely that Jokowi is increasingly feeling the need to demonstrate and bolster his own Islamic credentials

Asia Watch: Choice of necessity

In an election that will feature the same contenders as last time, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and opponent Prabowo Subianto both waited until the August 10 deadline to surprise many with their choice of presidential running mates. 

Asia Watch: Hardened Core

While the physical edifice of the “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria has been all but pounded into dust, with hundreds of fighters either killed or in detention camps along the Turkish border, the influence of returned Southeast Asian cadres continues to be felt well beyond the five-month Marawi siege in the Philippines last year.

Asia Watch: It’s sensitive

Following in the footsteps of his esteemed predecessor, NU Secretary-General Yahya Cholil Staquf has completed a four-day visit to Israel... Yahya insisted he was continuing Wahid’s mission to foster world peace and that that he had not broken faith with Indonesia’s traditionally strong support for the Palestinian cause.

Asia Watch: Call and Response

Some five months after Philippine troops flushed out Islamic State-aligned militants in the southern city of Marawi, recent military-militant clashes show the Islamic State's local affiliates have regrouped and spread since last year's siege, still gaining recruits and threatening once again to become a rallying point for jihadists across the region. But the persistent regional threat has spurred ASEAN countries towards greater security cooperation.

The Last Word: Rules of Engagement

Having been asked by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, via a local imam, to be the main speaker in the synagogue, I can report first hand on the thirst for knowledge on display.

None of the young Indonesians had ever met a Jewish person, nor even imagined being in a synagogue, let alone in a majestic, historic Jewish house of worship.

Jihad in the Suburbs redux

"This nation [Muslims] should know that it was [...] created to spread Allah's religion and lead the nations, and this could only be achieved by Jihad for the sake of Allah!"

These words were not said somewhere in the war ravaged Middle East by a supporter of ISIS or other extremist groups. They were not whispered in a dark room, hidden from public sight. This call for holy war, or jihad, was voiced loud and clear to a large crowd in a Sydney mosque just a few months ago.

Israel and South-East Asia – where is the potential?

Israel has long had deep links with some ASEAN member-states, while its relationship with others are more fragile or less developed.

Essay: The Enduring Islamist Threat

On January 19, the Pentagon released its new National Defence Strategy for the US. The second paragraph of the 14-page declassified summary painted a dire picture. "We are facing increased global disorder, characterised by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order - creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security."

Asia Watch: Laws and their limits

Indonesian President Joko Widodo's protracted struggle with Islamist groups bent on opposing him in all things is set to continue as the 2019 presidential elections approach. Legislative and judicial changes indicate a pushback against the illiberal forces that have harassed ethnic and religious minorities... But doubts remain as to whether these changes will be enough to counter deeper cultural currents.

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