By exploring the dakwah activities of Felix Siauw, a popular yet controversial Chinese Muslim preacher, this presentation examines the entanglements between social media, visual persuasion and Islamist ideology in Indonesia today. Being a staunch supporter of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), he creatively uses social media and visual images to subtly promote conservative Islamism among Muslim youth. His dakwah approach is fun yet conservative, interactive yet rigid, personal yet political. This talk highlights three points – first, the intersection between online and offline preaching; second, the combination of oral, textual and visual persuasion; third, the politics and poetics of dakwah. It proposes ‘sensational Islamism’ to examine the beautification of Islamist persuasion.
Hew Wai Weng is fellow at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, the National University of Malaysia (IKMAS, UKM). He has written on Chinese Muslims, Hui migrants and urban middle-class Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia. He is the author of ‘Chinese Ways of Being Muslim: Negotiating Ethnicity and Religiosity in Indonesia’ (NIAS Press, Forthcoming).
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