Regional aspects of the Indonesian Ulama Council's ideological turn

Julian Patrick Millie, Linda Hindasah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


When national governments support homogenising religious programs within plural populations, scholars are called to pay close attention to the subsequent interactions between state power and religious projects/actors. This article responds to this need by providing a sub-national perspective on Indonesian Council of Islamic Scholars (MUI), a national body seen by some as a state-supported homogenising project. Based on fieldwork in the Indonesian cities of Tasikmalaya and Malang, the article describes the ideological diversity that exists between the central MUI and its regional branches. In the regions, the MUI is supported financially by regional governments, and in this way, its branches are shaped by local political conditions rather than by allegiance to ideological programs promoted from the centre. The authors observe the openness of the Tasikmalaya MUI to a wide range of Islamic movements, and contrast this with the ideological homogeneity of Malang s MUI, where the regional government is intent on restricting Islamic programs that threaten religious and social diversity. The contrasting religio-political positionings of the regional MUI signal the ideological heterogeneity to be found within the Indonesian Islamic Scholars Council and shed light on the importance of sub-national factors in shaping Indonesia s institutional responses to religious diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260 - 281
Number of pages22
JournalThe Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this