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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Can Jokowi stem the tide of Islamic populism?

  • Ary Hermawan

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, October 25, 2017   /  08:36 am
Commentary: Can Jokowi stem the tide of Islamic populism? Thousands of anti-Ahok Muslims participate in a protest on Jl. Merdeka Timur in Jakarta on Oct. 14, 2016. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

There is no escaping the wave of Islamic populism that is now sweeping the country and is set to play a key role in the upcoming legislative and presidential elections.

The old-fashioned political Islam that places the idea of establishing a sharia state as its core ideology and main selling point is over. For many Muslim voters today — like the angry white voters of Donald Trump in the United States or the staunch supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey — what matters the most is greater access to political and economic resources, not a formalization of “the divine laws.” 

The sociopolitical implications of the rise of Islamic populism are huge, though its symptoms had been largely ignored until last year when hundreds of thousands of Muslims took to the streets of Jakarta to call for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governo...