Organized Panel Session
Twenty years after the fall of Suharto, Indonesians have democratically elected a conservative and controversial religious figure as their vice-president. From his perch at the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI), Ma’ruf Amin was involved in campaigns against Ahmadi Muslims and liberal Muslims in the 2000s, followed by the demonization of LGBT Indonesians, and culminating most recently in the electoral defeat and imprisonment of Jakarta’s popular governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
The MUI is today one of the most important yet poorly understood organizations in Indonesia. In the past 10 years there has been a torrent of new research on the MUI, but no effort to synthesize knowledge and identify gaps. This panel assembles some of the world’s leading and rising scholars of the MUI, as well as Indonesia’s broader Islamic bureaucracy, in order to take stock of the state of knowledge on the MUI. How did the MUI become so powerful? How does the MUI operate? What are its internal divisions and external alliances? How does the MUI relate to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and what factors affect this relationship? Beyond its fatwas, how does the MUI effect political change? And what role is the MUI likely to play in the Jokowi-Amin administration? The papers presented in this panel combine historical, legal, political, and theological perspectives in order to map the origins, political alliances, and effects of Indonesia’s powerful Islamic bureaucracy.