In a show of force, members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) broke up a book launch and discussion featuring Canadian Muslim feminist Irshad Manji at the Salihara Cultural Center in Jakarta on May 5. It was said that the FPI accused Manji of violating a primary tenet of Islam by promoting homosexuality.
Viewing the incident in a bigger picture, the unjustified action is linked to a series of efforts initiated by Muslim hard-liners in the last few decades to circumscribe and restrict the intellectual activities focusing on Islamic matters.
It is not an atypical case that these vigilantes would exert physical force and violence to intimidate or dissolve public discussions, seminars, lectures and book launches. The situation is, of course, unfriendly to any intellectual and academic activity.
The 2005 Indonesian Ulema Council’s (MUI) edict prohibiting secularism, ...