Islam in Indonesia: A Scholar’s View

Jakarta Globe:
Lydia Tomkiw

Historian Michael Laffan’s new book explores the influences of trade, travel and traditions on the spread of Islam in Indonesia.

Historian, author and professor Michael Laffan studied Indonesian in high school in Australia before going on to study Arabic in college. Laffan wanted to connect the two topics and found himself “drawn into a necessary attempt to understand the religion that links so many people across the world today.”

His first book, “Islamic Nationhood and Colonial Indonesia: The Umma Below the Winds” (2002), examined the role of Islam in the Indonesian nationalist movement. Laffan recently spoke with the Jakarta Globe about his newest book, “The Makings of Indonesian Islam: Orientalism and the Narration of a Sufi Past,” due to be released this month.

How did you pick the topic of this book?

The topic for this book emerged out of my last [book] on the contributions of Islamic actors to the conception of Indonesian nationalism. It was then a step back across the colonial divide to consider just what Dutch scholars and officials made of the faith that so challenged them by the opening of the 20th century.

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1 reply

  1. Which Islamic organization has the longest experience in Interfaith Dialogue? The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of course. Consequently any such ‘cooperation’ which does not include the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community therefore is very unfortunate …

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