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 [...]
Archive for the 'Syndicated Columns' Category
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
(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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]