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Understanding Islam in Indonesia: Politics and Diversity Paperback – June 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Hawaii Pr (June 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824834151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824834159
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Robert Pringle has studied and written extensively about Islam in West Africa and the Philippines. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Judith Bird on March 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
The title suggests a college textbook, which will be its largest market, but to anyone familiar with Indonesia it reads more like a well researched historical novel. Islam crept into the archipelago of Hindu/Buddhist states in te 7th century and the author weaves the story of its surges through colonialism, revolution, democracy and dictatorship with wit. Pringle knows his territory; he served as a Foreign Service officer in Jakarta in the early 70s as Suharto was consolidating his power,and he also know the academic elite of Indonesia and Indonesianists. He takes us through all the upheavals, the squabbles of Muslim political parties, social organizations and extremist sects without using dense academic language, a fault that cripples other studies. He uses the device of parallels to our own political history (e.g. Ahmadiyah's relationship to Islam resembles Mormons to Christianity)in a way that immediately simplifies the complex, making it an extremely readable book.

This reviewer was in Indonesia during a period of turmoil, the mid-60s, working there as a freelance journalist. At the time, I thought of it as a fight between secular nationalism and communism, with Islam just a gauzy veil that appeared fleetingly in arguments over marriage laws, or parliamentary seats, or whether to work on Friday. Pringle shows instead that Islam was a constant force underpinning the social and political upheavals. He tells how Suharto's early repression of Reformist Islam actually backfired, resulting in more support for the pluralism and diversity of Indonesian society..as well as as nasty touch of Islamic extremism in a tiny minority.

The book should have wide appeal to every college course on Southeast Asia, on religion, political science and even anthropology.
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