Salafism and the Internet in Contemporary Indonesia

Author: Asep Muhamad Iqbal

Iqbal, Asep Muhamad, 2008 Salafism and the Internet in Contemporary Indonesia, Flinders University, School of Social and Policy Studies

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This study deals with the relationship between religious fundamentalism and the internet. It aims to be a critique of the conception that religion and modernization are inherently incompatible; that modernization leads to the death of religion, as advocated the secularization theorists. It argues that the notion is an inaccurate characterization and understanding of the interplay between the forces of religion and modernization; rather, both co-exist and mutually reinforce one another. It also argues that it is inappropriate to label religious fundamentalism as an anti-modern movement; it might be true that it is ideologically ultra-orthodox, but it is technologically a modern movement. The value of this study lies in its findings that the most conservative religious groups like the Salafi community not only persist in the face of modernization, but also transform realities of modernity like the internet into a new form of modern product that serves well their religious needs and interests. To support this, I analysed Salafism, a transnational Islamic fundamentalist movement, and its use of the internet within the Indonesian context to uncover how they employ the technology. I examined the ways the Salafis use the internet in accordance with their ideological purposes in the frameworks of 'cultured technology', localization process of global force of information technology, appropriation of global media, and spiritualizing technology. Textual analysis was mainly employed as a method to understand the Salafi web contents and uncover the ways the Salafi use the internet.

Keywords: Salafism,Salaf,the Salafi movement,the internet,religious fundamentalism,modernization,Indonesia

Subject: Sociology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2008
School: School of Social and Policy Studies
Supervisor: Dr. Mary Holmes