Comparing the Dynamics of Islam in Turkey and Indonesia

Course Name : Comparing the Dynamics of Islam in Turkey and Indonesia
Course Code : SPSAGXXXII
Units : 3

Turkey and Indonesia, located at opposite sides of the main mass of Muslim populations of West and South Asia, both were established as secular republics although conservative Muslims make up a large proportion of their populations. The countries share a number of common traits, besides some clear differences, which makes a comparison between them interesting. Both have recently been hailed as examples of Muslim societies that have successfully established a functioning democracy. Both republics were born in armed liberation struggles, and the military have assumed a special role as the guardians of the established secular political order, from which they have only recently been persuaded to retreat. The two countries developed more or less similar regimes of governance of Islam (through state-sponsored religious schools and theological institutes aiming at the formation of a pliable and liberal religious elite, through state-sponsored fatwa bodies, etc.). Political and economic liberalization from the late 1980s onward has allowed committed Muslims to recapture influence in the state apparatus and make a notable impact on public discourse, resulting in a highly visible Islamization of the public domain. The countries have differed considerably, however, in their receptiveness to Islamist and fundamentalist ideas and forms of mobilization originating from the Arab world and South Asia. The course will comparatively explore the following aspects: (1) Modern movements of Islamic reform (from the late 19th century onward); (2) The pervasive influence of Sufism on popular piety; (3) Heterodox minorities (Alevis in Turkey, kebatinan and abangan in Indonesia); (4) Forms of organization in mainstream Islam (Muhammadiyah, NU and similar associations in Indonesia; the Nur movement and other jama’at in Turkey); (5) Governance of Islam (Ministry of Religious Affairs and MUI; Diyanet); (6) Pesantren /Madrasah and Imam Hatip schools and their role as vehicles of social mobility; (7) Muslim political parties; (8) Gender and Islam; (9) Islamic intellectualism and the role of Muslim intellectuals