Time: 9am start
Enquiry: Dr Minako Sakai (Workshop Convenor) -
APSS is pleased to host a workshop involving a distinguished research team led by the Dean Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta (UIN Jakarta), Professor Zulkifli and the UNSW Canberra academics at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The purpose of the visit is to disseminate their research findings to academic community at UNSW Canberra and possibly making research and academic partnership between Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta and School of Humanities and Social Sciences of UNSW Canberra.
1) Making and unmaking Democracy: In Search of Islamic Identity in the Context of Muslim Majorities and Minorities in Southeast Asia
by Prof. Zulkifli, Dr Zaki Mubarak, Dr Syafiq Hasyim and Husnul Khitam (UIN Jakarta)
2) Rohingya Asylum Seekers in Southeast Asia: Lessons from Aceh
by Dr Badrus Sholeh (UIN Jakarta)
3) Deradicalisation and Counter-Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Coping with the Rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
by Dr Badrus Sholeh and Ala'i Nadjib UIN Jakarta)
4) How is Islamisation affecting Muslim women's economic activities in Indonesia?
by Dr Minako Sakai (HASS, UNSW)
5) Pesantren as Agent of Socio-Economic Empowermentin Indonesia
by Falik Isbah (HASS, UNSW)
6) The Economic Theology of Urban Muslims in Contemporary Indonesia
by Najib Kailani (HASS, UNSW)
How career motivation empowers Muslim women: the impact of Islamisation upon Muslim professional spinsters in Indonesia
Dr Minako Sakai (UNSW)
This paper will ask if and how contemporary movements such as women's empowerment have freed women from Islamic-gendered roles. As Kabeer (1999) has shown, access to economic resources or education does not necessarily elevate the position of women in society. However, access to such provisions increases the probability that such a transformation may occur with the actual outcome being likely to be influenced by social contexts, local values and expectations. This paper will ask how the tendency towards increasing Islamisation in Indonesia is affecting the subjective wellbeing of Muslim career women based on qualitative research.
Islam is known for its conservative-gendered roles and the Islamisation or spread of conservative Islamic ideas tends to curtail the role of women in the public sphere. Over the last few decades, the impact of Islamisation has become increasingly evident, for example the widespread promotion of Islamic clothing such as veils by women. Islamisation has been occurring in parallel with the economic development of Indonesia and the associated spread of consumerism, both of which pressure households to increase their disposal income.. The impact of Islamisation thus pulls women in opposing directions, one towards education in order to attain a professional status that will generate a good income while an opposing force pressures women towards the conservative gender role of family carer. This paper will examine how these opposing forces affect professional women in Indonesia, particularly unmarried Muslim university academics with a focus on their subjective wellbeing. Despite seemingly having a successful career, these Muslim women can suffer from self-inflicted fear and shame because they failed to fulfil the Muslim duty to marry. They fear they will not enter Heaven due to their failure as a woman. On the other hand, married Muslim businesswomen tend to be encouraged to pursue their career in the pretext of supporting their family and performing their gendered role (Sakai and Fauzia In Press). In summary, I argue that the Islamisation of Indonesia has served to entrench women even further in their restrictive gender roles in Indonesian society.
Making and unmaking Democracy: In Search of Islamic Identity in the Context of Muslim Majorities and Minorities in Southeast Asia
Prof. Zulkifli and Dr. Syafiq Hasyim and Husnul Khitam
The study will account for the different types and dynamics of contestation between the process of making and unmaking of democracy in the context of Muslim minorities and majorities in Southeast Asia (SEA) with regard to their attempts of seeking an Islamic identity. The main topic of the research will be related to three contested issues, namely: feeling of being part of global umma, Sharia law, and reception of democracy and human rights. From those main issues, the research will then identify the wide range of debates on democracy among Muslim minorities and majorities living in Southeast Asia which differ from one country to another which is based on the written data and the data from interviews. The target groups of the research are: (1) the Muslim minorities in the Southern Thailand and Singapore, (2) the Muslim majorities in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Rohing Asylum Seekers in Southeast Asia: Lessons from Aceh, Indonesia
Dr Ala'I Nadjib and Dr Badrus Sholeh
The presence of Rohingya people experiencing state-sanctioned discrimination and fleeing from Myanmar can be seen in some Southeast Asian countries. Rohingya maritime asylum seekers have been the centre of attention for many scholars. Although there have been a number of studies relating to the problems faced by this community in Myanmar (Charney 2009; Lay 2009; Steinberg 2010; Brinham 2012; Rogers 2012; Kipgen 2013), little has been said on their current conditions in the host countries. This research will be conducted in three countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. To analyse such issues the research will use ethnography as well as other qualitative methods. The proposed research focuses on the international responses from the three countries being studied toward the presence of these asylum seekers. It will also analyse the role of religion in colouring the debates on their acceptance in the host countries. On the other hand, it will also focus on the responses of the representatives of the Myanmar government in the three countries in relation to the attention and support dedicated to Rohingya asylum seekers. In addition, the proposed research will observe to what extent the basic rights of Rohingya asylum seekers, such as their right to work and to receive an education, have been recognised and fulfilled. Another crucial point which will be the focus of this research is gender-related violence faced by the asylum seekers. To address such an issue, the research will examine the views of the asylum seekers, especially Rohingya women who are more vulnerable in this regard, government and non-government organisations, as well as Muslim mass organisations. The applicants believe that to develop an in-depth understanding of the Rohingya maritime asylum seekers' current conditions, the focus of the study should not only cover aspects of international relations but also local, international and Islamic solidarity.
Counter-Terrorism and Deradicalisation in Southeast Asia: Coping with the Rise of ISIS
Dr Badrus Sholeh and Dr Ala'I Nadjib
The rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Indonesia and Southeast Asia has challenged state and civil society how to overcome terrorism and radicalism (Hashim 2015). Indonesian government have attempted to deradicalise hundred jihadists inside and outside detention centres. However, the number of jihadist individuals and groups are growing significantly in the last decade. They recruit thousand volunteer jihadists, and more than five hundred of them have involved war in Syria and Iraq under ISIS and Jabhat Nusra. The returnees of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq threaten security in the global world, including Southeast Asia and Australia (Zammit 2015). John Horgan (2010) argued the importance of disengagement to prevent radicalisation. This, however, could not work effectively as some criminals joined radical groups during their imprisonment. This article is based on in-depth interviews to hundred jihadists, prisoners, police, counter-terrorism agencies and ministries in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. It argues that it is urgent to maximize persuasive approach to counter-terrorism and radicalism by engaging non-state actors.
Pesantren as Agent of Socio-Economic Empowermentin Indonesia
M. Falikul Isbah
Islamic boarding schools or locally called pesantren have been known for their important roles in disseminating and maintaining the tradition of Islamic education in Indonesia. Out of their core business in education, there is an increasing trend among pesantren to conduct community engagement through socio-economic projects. My research shows that these pesantren have made significant contributions to the prosperity and welfare of their neighbouring communities. By discussing case studies of four pesantren, I will analyse the ways pesantren have engaged with their communities. It will also examine local contexts and factors that have shaped the form of their engagement, further impact on their standing as educational and da'wah institutions, and their relationships with government and non-government organisations, who offer support and partnership. This thesis also highlights why there are pesantren which have undertaken significant engagement activities with their neighbouring communities, while others have not. This study is placed within the growing scholarly interest in analysing Islamic organisations as non-state actors in the provision of welfare services and as development agencies at grass roots level in contemporary Indonesia. Despite differing forms of pesantren's community engagement, I argue that propagating Islam through good deeds in the public interest is the driving force for their engagement. Furthermore, I argue that the more significant their engagement, the greater the religious authority they hold within their communities. As a result, their capacity as Islamising agents in the community is enhanced.
The Economic Theology of Urban Muslims in Contemporary Indonesia
This study examines the dissemination of economic theology among urban Muslims in contemporary Indonesia. This "economic theology" emphasises the performance of Islamic devotional acts with a strong expectation that such performance will result in material wealth as its reward. It is promoted by the celebrity preacher, Yusuf Mansur, in various ways including popular book publication, televised Islamic sermons and movies. This study draws on six months ethnographic fieldwork among Muslim small business people, business start-ups, and university students in Yogyakarta and Jakarta. It demonstrates that Muslim business people see economic theology as the best way to seek spiritual and material benefit. They adapt and promote this economic theology through business motivation seminars, book publication and social media. This study argues that the popularity of economic theology among the urbanites is due to its potentials to facilitate their aspirations for a prosperous life. Furthermore, it has also shown that the circulation of economic theology is attributed to the activities of promoters on various levels. They include Muslim business people and their followers who promote economic theology through business motivation seminars, social media and publications.