The Emergence of Religious Nationalism: Facing the Challenges of Pluralism in Indonesia

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Erna Anjarwati


This study examines the ways in which Islam has been exploited as a political tool that contributes to the awakening of a sense of religious nationalism and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism through the existence of intolerant Muslim vigilantes in Indonesia. By focusing on the exploitation of Islam as a political strategy used by the government and Islamic organizations in the three political periods: the Old Order era, the New Order regime, and the era of the reformation in 1998, this article in particular aims to address two critical questions: 1) How religion has been exploited as a form of political strategy in the three political periods of the Indonesian history, and 2) How religious freedom and tolerance are negotiated amid growing concerns about religious intolerance that affect inter and intra-religious relationships in the era of the reformation. This article embraces a critical interpretive paradigm that aligns with the literature research methodology. The aim is to deepen the insights and understanding about the ways in which religion has been exploited to benefit the conflicting parties and advance their political agendas. Such political manifestations are viewed as a threat to religious freedom and tolerance in the current Indonesian pluralistic nation.

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How to Cite
Anjarwati, E. (2017). The Emergence of Religious Nationalism: Facing the Challenges of Pluralism in Indonesia. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 3(2), 93–128. Retrieved from
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