Despite Muslims comprising only one to eight percent of the population in various Western countries, their very presence has become one of the defining issues of the populist era, dividing left and right in stark fashion. Right-wing populist parties differ considerably on economic and social policy. It would be a mistake, however, to view the debate over Islam and Muslims as only that. With this in mind, attitudes toward Muslims and Islam become a proxy of sorts through which Western democracies work out questions around culture, religion, identity, and nationalism.
It has been the same for most of Indonesia's political history. Shunned by Sukarto, Indonesia's first president, and suppressed by Sukarno , a dictator who ruled until , Islam's pre-eminent role in the country's social and cultural sphere often hasn't translated into political power.
That might be changing. In last month's parliamentary election , the top parties were Indonesia's secular and nationalist forces: The PDI-P Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle finished on top; Golkar, the former party of Suharto, placed second; and Gerinda third. According to early counts, the parties received an estimated 32 percent of the vote combined.
Others were concerned about corruption in mainstream nationalist parties, or economic issues. None of the four parties is calling for Indonesia to become an Islamic state, nor for the implementation of sharia law.
They use mainstream messaging, focusing on core issues such as education, community and the cost of living. About 88 percent of Indonesians are Muslim , according to the national census, but the country has 10, islands and languages, and an astounding array of Islamic practises and traditions.
All the way back to the s, Islamic parties have never had any unity. They have their own agendas, ideological and patronage.
Moreover, there is no unifying Muslim leadership in Indonesia. Though Islamic groups played a strong role in the fight for the country's independence, they quickly ran into challenges and fragmentation in the fragile, early years of democracy.
With the violent repression of the Communist party in and the seizing of power by General Suharto, supporters of political Islam found themselves marginalised. Registration is free and requires only your email address. Email required. Password required Remember me?
Christian belief has halved in Britain in 35 years with just one in three people now identifying as Christian - while atheism and Islam continue to. Growth of religion is the spread of religions and the increase of religious adherents around the A study in revealed that Islam is the fastest-growing religion. Studies in the 21st century suggest that, in terms of percentage and worldwide.
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Jun 1, Paul Seabright The story of religious competition is not one of ideological struggle between Christianity and Islam. Show More Contact Us. Your name Your email Friend's name Friend's email Message. Cancel Send.