Archive for the 'Syndicated Columns' Category

Political Concessions in a Complex Country: The Social and Political Costs

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Malaysia has been making international headlines over the past few weeks for all the wrong reasons, yet again. The spate of arson attacks on Churches, Temples and Mosques is a worrying sign that the fragile social contract - if there ever was one - that underlies the Malaysian multicultural project is in danger of falling [...]

The Pathologisation of Muslims As Everything That is Wrong With Europe

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

The recent ban on the construction of minarets for mosques in Switzerland - passed by a majority of Swiss citizens mind you - is symptomatic of something that is far more disturbing in Western Europe today. The first decade of this century has witnessed the rise of a new wave of extreme right-wing politicians and [...]

When Jakarta’s Manipulation of Islam in Aceh Goes Badly Wrong

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I am currently reading the fascinating study ‘Official Ulama and the Politics of Re-Islamisation: The Majelis Permesyuwaratan Ulama, Shariatisation and Contested Religious Authority in Post-New Order Aceh’ by my dear friend and colleague Moch Nur Ichwan of Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University, Jogjakarta. It has proven to be a worthwhile effort that has taught me many [...]

Dialogue, Respect and the Stupidity of Immigration Forms

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

If there is one thing that irritates me to no end, it is being labeled a ’spokesman’ for Islam and/or Muslims. For my part I can hardly claim to speak for anyone apart from myself – I would not even attempt to speak on behalf of my mother or her cats, much less for a [...]

Dialogue Beyond the Discourse of Geography

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Last week I found myself in Leiden, the Netherlands, where I was invited to speak at a symposium that dealt with the topic of ‘Everything Under Control?’. Needless to say, the Foucauldian theme was of interest to me, and I was happy to attend the symposium and to speak on the subject of Religion and [...]

Religion, Between Control and Contingency

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

(Note: This is a summary of the talk I gave at the VeerStichting Symposium - Everything Under Control? -at Leiden, 7-8 October 2009 – Farish)
Social control seems to be the obsession of many conservative believers today: In Malaysia a woman is about to be caned for the alleged offence of drinking a beer. In Aceh, [...]

Islamism — Between the Hard and Soft Variety

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

A year ago I was present at a dialogue session in my beloved adopted city of Jogjakarta and had the opportunity to listen to an Islamist politician answer questions that were put to him by a group of Indonesian gender rights activists.
One of them asked the following question: “What is your Islamic Party’s stand on [...]

Exaggerating the ‘Threat’ of Indonesia’s Anti-Malaysian Premans Does Not Help Anyone

Friday, September 25th, 2009

I am somewhat taken aback by the article in the Singapore Straits Times entitled ‘Malaysian Students in Jakarta Feel the Heat‘ (Sept 25, Straits Times), for I feel that the ideas and sentiments contained therein do little justice to the maturity and sensibility of Indonesian citizens themselves, and further compounds the already thorny problem of [...]

Indonesia’s Answer to Islamophobia: Fun

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

As the centre of my universe has moved to Central Java, I find myself traveling to the cities of Jogjakarta and Surakarta quite a lot. The last time I was there was during the celebration of Eidul Firtri (or Lebaran) as its called in Indonesia, just in time to catch the celebrations that customarily take [...]

The implications of growing Indonesian Assertiveness on ASEAN

Friday, September 18th, 2009

In his book ‘Losing an Empire, Finding a Role’ the British Political scientist David Sanders poses the intesting question of whether Britain could have found a better role for itself in the wake of the Second World War and the decolonisation process.
Sanders’ argument runs along the following lines: After the end of the Second World [...]