The End of Innocence? Indonesian Islam and the Temptations of Radicalism

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By Rémy Madinier and Andrée Feillard, Translated by Wong Wee

Long cited as a model of harmonious cohabitation between different religions, the most populous Muslim country in the world until recently occupied a special place in the Western imagination. Indonesia, home to a peaceful version of Islam, offered a reassuring counter-model to a rowdy and accusatory Arab Islam. Since 1999, however, confrontations between Christians and Muslims in the Moluccas, excesses of vigilantism in Sulawesi, and espcially the Bali and Jakarta bombings have shattered these simplistic stereotypes. For many terrorism experts - often self-proclaimed - Indonesia's mutation confirmed the hackneyed thesis that equated obscurantism with Islam, and saw violent outbreaks as an inevitable consequence.

The End of Innocence is far removed from the hollow analyses underlying this essentialist thesis. The book positions the evolution of Indonesian Islam in the broader context of the recent history of the archipelago, and provides a rigorous analysis of the origins and causes of the 'radical temptation,' deciphering its simplistic ideology and showing how it has been nourished by political manipulation. The authors, both historians specializing in Indonesian Islam, describe the hold of religious extremism as well as the strong resistance it has provoked in a country that has quickly become one of the key spots in the upheavals occuring throughout the Muslim world


"The authors are well-informed, and their text is authoritative, comprehensive, and - most importantly - highly detailed in its analysis of Indonesia's varying Islamic perspectives, their political influence, and the growth and impact of Islamist groups. Feillard and Madinier decipher the ideologies of these groups and document their growth, impact, and manipulation by political parties, governments, and the military."
John G Taylor

"Carefully researched and engagingly argued, this book is the finest available in Muslim politics in Indonesia today. It speaks clearly yet brilliantly to issues of importance across the whole of the Muslim world." - Robert W Hefner


Rémy Madinier is a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and co-director of the Centre Asie du Sud-Est (CASE-EHESS).

Andrée Feillard is a Senior Researcher on Indonesian political Islam at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, and vice-director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies in Paris. She also leads the axis "Islam of the Far East" at the Institute of Studies on Islam and the Muslim World (IISM), of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris.


Publication Year: 2011
270 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-512-5, Paperback

NUS Press