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American Anthropologist

Global Violence and Indonesian Muslim Politics

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Abstract

The attacks of September 11, 2001, in the United States and the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan provoked fierce threats of violence in Indonesia, the world's largest majority-Muslim country. Western journalists portrayed these reactions as among the most destabilizing in the Muslim world. Less widely reported, however, was the intensification of a struggle between Muslim proponents of democracy and neof undamentalist conservatives, sparked by the same incidents. This article explores the varied reactions of Muslims to the violence of September 11 and its aftermath in light of this contest between rival Muslim groupings. It examines their competing visions of Islam and nation, as well as their supporting alliances in state and society. The example highlights the pluralism of Muslim politics and the special challenges of democratic transitions. Emphasizing the plurality and permeability of civilizations, the example also suggests that there is no "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West but, rather, a more open process of globalization, localization, and exchange. [Keywords: Islam, Indonesia, violence, democratization, civilization]

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