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Riots, pogroms, jihad : religious violence in Indonesia


The author looks at the history of recent religious violence in Indonesia.  Arguing against the application of over-simplified models of religious violence drawn up by those working in the 'religious-violence industry' the author instead focuses on placing the topic within a historical, sociological and political account of the region.  This comprehensive account provides the reader not only with an insight into Indonesian communal tensions and conflict, but also into the nuances of how violent movements can develop and change over time.

Starting with the largely provincial communal riots, and ending with the 'jihadi' campaigns, which themselves shifted focus dramatically from non-Islamic to Western targets, the author demonstrates how the complex interrelation of power dynamics and class struggle provide meaningful explanations for recent violence.  Especially in the case of the later 'jihadi' violence, the author resists the top-down model of an al Qaeda led campaign, pointing to something more diverse and disorganised, though nonetheless with internationalist Islamic linkages.  This is an important source of information on religious violence in Indonesia as well as a well-argued account of the complex contextual influences that affect and underpin contemporary violence.

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