Colloquium with Muhamad Ali, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside
This talk, primarily drawn from an on-going research project, discusses how and why people have contested the definition of religious pluralism in contemporary Indonesia. It first traces the idea of religious pluralism scholars and activists historically. It then focuses on some contemporary views of religious pluralism, including religious pluralism as referring to a non-relativistic reality of religious diversity and religious pluralism as an acceptance of many truths. It discusses religious pluralism as constructed by government officials, religious councils, (such as Majelis Ulama Indonesia), and by religious activists - part of civil society - located in Jakarta, Salatiga, Banjarmasin, and Aceh. The public contentiousness of the definition of religious pluralism in Indonesia is shaped not only by exclusive and inclusive religious interpretations, but also by global and local ideological and socio-political factors.
Muhamad Ali, Ph.D. is currently an assistant professor in Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, and affiliated with the Southeast Asia: Text, Ritual and Performance (SEATRIP) program, University of California, Riverside. He teaches various courses on Islam and religions in Southeast Asia, as well as religion and politics. He obtained his M.Sc. from the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. in history (focusing on Southeast Asia) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His publications include two books: Multicultural-Pluralist Theology (Teologi Pluralis Multikultural, 2003) and Bridging Islam and the West: An Indonesian View (2009), and recent articles, including "They are Not All Alike: Indonesian Muslims Perception of Judaism and Jews" (Indonesia and the Malay World, 2010) and "Islamic liberalism in Southeast Asia" (Online Oxford Islamic Studies, 2012). Dr. Ali is completing a manuscript on Islam and colonialism in Indonesia and Malaysia, and is currently working on a religious-political history of religious pluralism in Indonesia.
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies