The Newsletter 51 Summer 2009

The politics of Islamic instruction

Dick van der Meij

Hefner, Robert W., ed. 2009. Making Modern Muslims. The politics of Islamic education in Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. x + 246 pages. ISBN 978 0 8248 3280 3

The early 21st century saw a string of terrorist actions in the US, Asia and Europe. Most prominent among these were, of course, the 9/11 attacks on the WTC in New York and the Pentagon; the Bali bombs; the bomb attacks in Madrid and London; and those on the Australian Embassy and the Marriot Hotel in Jakarta. Islamic inspired violence seemed to spread like an oil stain and Islamic inspired murders and other riminal acts were feared to be spreading like wild fire. All the major attacks were considered to be inspired by organised international Islamic radical movements and the West (and others) began to seriously worry where all this radicalism stemmed from and how it is disseminated, especially among the younger generations. Attention soon focused on Islamic schools and educational politics, especially those in Southeast Asia.