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Digital archive of theses discussed at the University of Pisa


Thesis etd-12112020-141313

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Thesis title
Law, Islamic Fundamentalism, and Advancing Diversities in a Muslim Majority Country. A Lesson from Indonesia.
Academic discipline
Course of study
tutor Prof. Consorti, Pierluigi
  • Indonesia.
  • islamic fundamentalism
  • law and religion
  • pluralism
Graduation session start date
Indonesia is a diverse country, if not one of the most diverse ones in the world. Due to its geographical fact as the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia's territory has been inhabited by not less than 1340 different tribes who speak more than 600 local/traditional languages since ancient times. It is also the territory where there were some prominent Hindu-Buddhist ancient kingdoms, such as Srivijaya and Majapahit, in which their existence determined the civilization existing in South East Asia today. Once Islam came into this archipelago, it then quickly became the dominant religion, and this then makes Indonesia the biggest Muslim country in the world without changing its status as a place for people from various religions to live and co-exist with each other. Those all shape the existence of Indonesia today. The world's biggest Muslim country with its inherent diversities that have been existing since long before the establishment of this country.

However, such a fact of diversities, especially in the matter of religious life, has been under threat. There have been many cases where the religious minority groups encountered marginalization, discrimination, or even persecutions, in which it happened in the relationship with the Muslims as the dominant religious group. Resistances against the establishments of churches or other worship places of the non-Muslims that is more and more frequent happening in various places in Indonesia, or resistance against non-Muslims to be the governmental leaders, such as what happened during the moment of the provincial election in Jakarta in 2017, are examples of how some Muslims in Indonesia are getting intolerant towards their fellow citizens from different religions. Even worse, such an emerging tendency of intolerance didn't only happen towards non-Muslims, but also towards the minority groups within the Muslims too. The persecution against the members of the Ahmadiyya sect in the village of Cikeusik, province of Banten, in 2011, as well as the one against the Shiites in the town of Sampang, province of East Java, in 2012, which resulted in the deaths of some Ahmadiyya members and the displacement of the whole Shiite community in Sampang, obviously highlighted the condition of how such diseases of intolerance and hatred have been significantly growing among some Muslims in Indonesia towards those who differ. Surely, the problem is not with Islam per se, but instead with how Islam is interpreted, practiced, and used by some people in Indonesia. As such, I argue that this problem derives from the so-called Islamic fundamentalism.

It is from this context, the research through this Ph.D. thesis is carried out. Through this research, I investigated how Islamic fundamentalism has been developing in Indonesia since the beginning through historical analysis (Chapter III). From such an investigation, I then investigated and analyzed further the existing legal frameworks in Indonesia regarding how these all have failed in properly dealing with the paradigm of Islamic fundamentalism (Chapter V). Surely, all those works are done after I conducted the necessary elaboration and clarification regarding the concept of Islamic fundamentalism (Chapter II). And since pluralism is the core value embraced in this research that needs to be protected from the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, I also made theoretical elaborations on some principles and approaches under the umbrella of the politics of recognition of difference to protect and advance diversities (Chapter IV). I close this Ph.D. thesis with a chapter (Chapter VI) where I proposed what I argue as the best legal framework possible to combat Islamic fundamentalism as well as to advance diversities in Indonesia as a Muslim majority country. There, I argued that some key principles developed in the Western world are indeed necessary to serve as the fundamental basis for such a legal framework.