Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Greening of Islamic Politics

By Saleem H. Ali, Haris N. Hidayat

Quoted from: http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/innovations/data/000068

Change Conference in 2007, Indonesia welcomed the world to the idyllic island of Bali as a venue to reach agreement on one of the most challenging environmental issues. Several years prior, the island had been the scene of the worst series of terrorist bombings in the region, killing more than two hundred people. These attacks, which were carried out by Muslim militants, further stigmatized and marginalized Islamic political parties in the international community.

In particular, Indonesia's pesantren (religious boarding schools) came under great scrutiny due to their perceived connections to some of the Bali bombers. Even U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama felt obliged to distance himself from his childhood days in Indonesia because of a rumor that he had attended a pesantren, since both his father and stepfather were Muslim. Yet a closer analysis of the political scene in this sprawling country of more than 17,500 islands shows that Islamist political institutions are making a remarkably green comeback that might appear progressive even to many Western politicians.