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PacNet #31 – Indonesia’s Muslim Divide: Past and Present

Surveys of Indonesia politics usually mention that there are two basic camps of pious Muslims, the traditionalists and the modernists, and that their rivalry is an essential feature in the history of the nation. As Indonesia prepares to hold its freest parliamentary elections in over 40 years (currently scheduled for mid-1999), concerned outsiders must pursue a nuanced understanding of current Islamic dynamics, because the freer the elections, the more Islam and the modernist-traditionalist rivalries within it will affect the outcome.