Blasphemy, Islam and the State: Pluralism and Liberalism in Indonesia
Guest speaker Simon Butt, Professor of Indonesian Law, Sydney University, and author Dr Stewart Fenwick will address the legal, political and constitutional challenges arising in the management of religious freedom in Indonesia today.
'Blasphemy, Islam and the State: Pluralism and Liberalism in Indonesia'
The controversy generated by the trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or ‘Ahok’, on blasphemy charges and the political drama surrounding his bid for reelection demonstrates the importance of the Indonesian blasphemy regime for contemporary Indonesian democracy. This book, which focuses on another equally controversial prosecution over a decade ago, considers the legal and constitutional issues arising in cases of religious freedom. However it goes much further by dealing with the critical issue of the nature of the foundational principles underpinning the modern Indonesian state, and its partial embrace of liberal political principles.
ABOUT THE BOOK
This book draws on the work of John Rawls to explore the interaction between faith, law and the right to religious freedom in post-Soeharto Indonesia, the world’s largest democracy after India and the United States. It argues that enforcement of Islamic principles by the state is inconsistent with religious diversity and the country’s liberal constitution. The book thus contributes to understanding the role of religion in the development of democracy in the world’s largest Muslim nation. A key objective is to test the argument that Rawls’ thinking about public reason cannot apply to the case of Indonesia, and Muslim states more broadly. The book therefore contributes to emerging scholarship that considers Rawls in a Muslim context. In addition to examining public reason in detail and considering critiques of the concept, the work highlights the fact that the theory was created to deal with value pluralism and is therefore relevant in any religious setting, including an Islamic one. In doing so, it emphasises that Islam is multifaceted and demonstrates the difficulties, and negative consequences, of integrating faith and law in a liberal state.
Dr Stewart Fenwick, Honorary Professor
Dr Stewart Fenwick
Australian Catholic University
Stewart Fenwick is an Honorary Professor of the Australian Catholic University at the Institute for Religion, Politics and Society, and a Senior Associate of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, and the Asian Law Centre, Melbourne Law School. He was awarded the Harold Luntz Graduate Research Thesis Prize for 2015 at the Melbourne Law School, and the Chancellor's Prize for Excellence in the PhD Thesis for 2016 at the University of Melbourne. Stewart has extensive experience in the design and delivery of law and justice programs in Asia, led undergraduate programs in Law and Society in Southeast Asia and Law and Civil Society in Asia, and has published on law and development and Indonesian law. He currently works in a senior role in judicial administration.
Professor Simon Butt, Associate Director (Indonesia) for the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law
Professor Simon Butt
Associate Director (Indonesia) for the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law
The University of Sydney
Simon Butt is a current ARC Australian Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Associate Director (Indonesia) for the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at The University of Sydney, where he teaches Indonesian law. Prior to joining the faculty as Senior Lecturer, Simon worked as a consultant on the Indonesian legal system to the Australian government, the private sector and international organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). He has taught in over 70 law courses in Indonesia on a diverse range of topics, including intellectual property, Indonesian criminal law, Indonesian terrorism law and legislative drafting. He is fluent in Indonesian. In 2008, Simon's thesis titled 'Judicial Review in Indonesia: Between Civil Law and Accountability? A Study of Constitutional Court Decisions 20032005' was awarded the University of Melbourne Chancellor's Prize for Excellence in the PhD Thesis. Simon has written widely on aspects of Indonesian law, including two recent books: 'Corruption and Law in Indonesia (Routledge 2012) and The Constitution of Indonesia: A Contextual Analysis' (Hart, 2012, with Tim Lindsey).