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Between Transnational Interest and Domestic Politics: Understanding Middle Eastern Fatwās on Jihad in the Moluccas

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In 2000 muftīs from the Arabian Peninsula issued seven fatwās in response to requests from the Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah (FKASWJ), a Salafist movement in Indonesia seeking justification for jihad in the Moluccas. In this essay I analyze these fatwās against the background of the Moluccan conflict and the emergence of FKASWJ.

The Arabian muftīs, who participate in a global Salafī discourse on jihad, serve as transnational sources of legitimacy for FKASWJ; and this discourse has important implications for the contestation of the Indonesian public sphere. I argue that FKASWJ and similar communities that have emerged in various parts of the Muslim world are now demanding greater acceptance within the political landscape of their respective countries; and that launching jihad is a means of enhancing their self-proclaimed identity as the most committed defenders of Islam in the nation.


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