Islamic identity and sexuality in Indonesia

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Despite popular understandings and interpretations, Islam is actually one of the most positive of all world religions regarding sexuality. Fulfilling sexual relations is acknowledged as an integral part of heterosexual marriage, and women have the right to divorce their husbands if the latter fail to provide sexual satisfaction. However, Islam across the world is presented as a sexually repressive and coercive religion, and this is not without reason. People having sex outside heterosexual marriage have been executed in the name of Islam. Long touted as the country that proves Islam is compatible with progressive democratic principles, Indonesia is an interesting place to examine Islam and sexuality. While Indonesia has avoided official criminal penalties for people involved in consenting private sexual affairs, in the last few years, there has been a dramatic rise in punitive forces using Islam to justify persecution of anyone having sex outside of heterosexual marriage. This chapter explores Islam and sexuality in contemporary Indonesia to provide a richer understanding of how these two elements interrelate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity
EditorsSteven Ratuva
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789811302428
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Islam
  • Sexuality
  • Indonesia

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