Getting culture: a new path for Indonesia's Islamist Justice and Prosperity party?

Woodward, Mark; Amin, Ali; Rohmaniyah, Inayah; Lundry, Chris
July 2013
Contemporary Islam;Jul2013, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p173
Academic Journal
Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS, The Justice and Prosperity Party) is the largest Islamist political party in Indonesia. It has roots in the religious and political and religious teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood and promotes what Oliver Roy calls "deculturized religion." The party can be understood as the political component of a larger social movement that seeks to transform Indonesian society and culture in ways that would establish Shari'ah as social, if not political, reality. It is also committed to the electoral process and to working inside the Indonesian political system in a more general sense. Until recently, the PKS has dismissed local modes of Muslim practice and much of Indonesian culture as "un-Islamic." The extent of the party's transformative agenda is unclear for three reasons: it shares the Muslim Brotherhood's gradualist approach, it is less than transparent about its goals, and it is divided into purist or "Justice" and pragmatic or "Prosperity" factions. The leadership of the Prosperity faction is currently ascendant and is attempting to reach beyond its Islamist base by sponsoring musical and dramatic performances it hopes will appeal to Muslims devoted to Javanese and other Indonesian cultural traditions. Ethnographic and web-based research indicate that these efforts are greeted with considerable suspicion.


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