Archive for February 4th, 2009

Dissolve Perak State Assembly and hold state election

Perak Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is to have audience with the Sultan of Perak to seek the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly and to hold state election.

Returning to the voters of Perak to seek a clear-cut mandate for the government of the state is the most honourable and democratic manner to end the political crisis in the state.


How Indonesia’s Islamic Universities Are Different

By Farish A Noor

Regardless of where you stand on the question of whether we are living in the age of Islamism, neo-Islamism or Post-Islamism, the fact remains that there is pretty much Islam all over the place at the moment; and much of this Islam is also going all over the place…

From the late 1970s onwards many a Muslim-majority state with a Muslim-majority government embarked on a host of projects intended to inculcate Islamic values, norms and standards in the daily lives of their people. In some cases, such as that of Malaysia, this inculcation of Islamic norms was at times at the expense of other faith communities and cultural minorities as well. From Morocco to Pakistan to Malaysia we witnessed the sudden surge of growth in the Islamic public sector: Shariah courts were raised to a level on par with secular civil courts; Islamic finance and banking was experimented with and implemented with gusto; Islamic think tanks, research centres and universities were funded lavishly and built all over the place. In time a network of Islamic universities and colleges was created worldwide, creating hundreds of thousands of graduates who later entered the public domain with the expectation that they will be given jobs.

The one country that resisted this headlong rush towards Islamisation was Indonesia, though that was partly due to the somewhat Islamophobic tendencies of its then leader Suharto and his coterie of Generals and business elite cronies.

Indonesia’s Islamic universities developed at their own pace, often under close state supervision but also under careful tutelage of Islamic intellectuals like Mukti Ali who was the Minister for Religious Affairs. Under the guidance of men like Mukti Ali, Indonesia developed Islamic universities where Islam was not taught, but rather researched. This was singularly unique in the Muslim world because the Indonesian government actually encouraged Muslim scholars to think objectively and critically about Islam and religion in general. In other words, rather than produce Islamist ideologues, the Islamic universities of Indonesia produced a generation of Muslim scholars who could objectively study -critically – their own religion. Read the rest of this entry »