Law and Religion in Indonesia: Conflict and the Courts in West Java

Melissa Crouch, 2013, Routledge

Understanding and managing inter-religious relations, particularly between Muslims and Christians, presents a challenge for states around the world. This book investigates the judicialisation of religion in the world’s largest majority-Muslim, democratic country, Indonesia. It examines how the interaction between state and religion has influenced relations between religious communities in the transition to democracy. The book presents original case studies based on empirical field research of legal disputes in West Java, a majority-Muslim province with a history of radical Islam. These include criminal prosecutions for blasphemy, as well as cases of judicial review, relating to disputes concerning religious education and permits for religious buildings. The book argues that the introduction of democracy has increased the politicization of religion. It highlights the way in which disputes since 1998 have been localized through the decentralization of power and exacerbated by the central government’s ambivalent attitude towards radical Islamists who disregard the rule of law. The book examines the challenges facing governments to accommodate minorities and manage religious pluralism, and furthers understanding of state-religion relations in the Muslim world. This accessible and engaging book is of interest to students and scholars of law and society in Southeast Asia; Islam and the state; politics of the courts; and the legal regulation of religious diversity.

Dr Stijn Huis (2016), Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 
“This book makes a very valuable and significant contribution to the discourse on democracy and legal development in Indonesia where religion, Islam in particular, plays a vital role.” Journal of Islamic Studies (OUP, 2015), by Professor Euis Nurlaelawati, State Islamic University, Indonesia 
“This book is valuable as a study of the evolving character of extremist Islam in Indonesia, but its more important contribution lies in what it reveals about Indonesian democracy and the underdeveloped state of the Indonesian legal system. Crouch shows that… the key to Islamists’ success in the use of the legal system lies in their ability to exploit the system’s weaknesses.” Professor Mark Cammack (2015), ‘Book Review of Law and Religion in Indonesia’ in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia) 3: 377-379 
Husni Mubarak (2014) ‘Babak Baru Ketegangan Islam dan Kristen di Indonesia’ 21(3) Studia Islamika (Indonesian Journal for Islamic Studies) 579-600. or see the link to short version of the article here. 
Kikue Hamayotsu (2014) ‘Conservative Turn? Religion, State and Conflict in Indonesia’ 87 (4) Pacific Affairs, 815-825. (2018) Dr Dian Shah, International Journal of Constitutional Law