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Friday, June 9, 2017

Nation-building, Belonging and Multiculturalism: The Role of Indonesian Islamic Civil Society Organisations

by Asfa Widiyanto


Paper presented at the The Fourth International Ibn Khaldun Symposium: Open Civilization: Encounters, Differences and Uncertainties, Istanbul, Turkey, 19-21 May 2017

This paper strives to reread and recontextualise the ideas of Ibn Khaldun on diversity, group feeling and political legitimacy, most specifically within the contemporary context of nation-state. Ibn Khaldun states that “a dynasty rarely establishes itself firmly in lands with many different tribes and groups”. A high level of diversity, in this sense, is regarded as a peril rather than a promise, most particularly to the stability of the state or dynasty.

Kymlicka (2001) points out that nation building is mostly based on dominant or majority ‘societal culture’. Kymlicka goes on to explain that there are at least three varied strategies which the minorities may take in terms of majority nation-building: (a) admitting the integration into the majority societal culture; (b) striving to establish their own societal culture and contesting to state nation-building; and (c) accepting the enduring marginalisationIt would be of interest to develop multiculturalism in such a situation. In my point of view, both state and civil society play a role in directing and nurturing multiculturalism in the country. It is of particular interest to investigate the role of Indonesian Islamic Civil Society Organisations in the dialectics among nation building, belonging and multiculturalism. Islamic Civil Society in Indonesia nowadays is represented most particularly by the Muhammadiyah (The Followers of the Prophet Muḥammad, which was founded in 1912) and the Nahdlatul Ulama (The Awakening of Religious Scholars, which was grounded in 1926). Indonesian Islamic Civil Society Organisations are distinct to those of some Muslim countries (most notably the Jamaat-i Islami in Pakistan and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egpyt), in the sense that Indonesian Civil Society Organisations demonstrate their commitment to Indonesian nationalism and constitutional governance (Hefner 2013: 58). 

This paper seeks to unravel the following problems: (a) what societal cultures which contribute to the Indonesian nation-building; (b) how do the minority groups perceive their belonging to the nation and how do they respond to the Indonesian nation-building; and (c) what are the roles of mainstream Islamic civil society organisations in developing the nation-building and sustaining multiculturalism.

http://meeting.ihu.edu.tr/index.php/ihs4/ihs4/paper/view/74

http://meeting.ihu.edu.tr/public/conferences/1/schedConfs/1/program-en_US.pdf

http://ibnhaldun.edu.tr/universitemiz-acilis-toreni-4-uluslararasi-ibn-haldun-sempozyumu/
 

 

 

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