Margaret Scott teaches at NYU’s Wagner School of Public ­Service and is a cofounder of the New York Southeast Asia Network.
 (April 2019)


Indonesia’s New Islamist Politics

Indonesian president Joko Widodo (right) and his running mate, Ma’ruf Amin, at a peace declaration for the general election campaign, Jakarta, September 2018

Democracy for Sale: Elections, Clientelism, and the State in Indonesia

by Edward Aspinall and Ward Berenschot

After Ahok: The Islamist Agenda in Indonesia

a report by the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict
On April 17 Indonesians will go to the polls to elect a new national government. It is the fifth general election since 1998, when General Suharto was overthrown after thirty-two years of military dictatorship. Indonesia’s democracy has survived for two decades, but today it is at risk, facing its own …

The Truth about the Killing Fields

Chinese premier Zhou Enlai and Indonesian president Sukarno aboard a cruise on the Nile River, Cairo, July 1965

The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: Mechanics of Mass Murder

by Jess Melvin

The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965–66

by Geoffrey B. Robinson
On a baking hot afternoon in 2010, Jess Melvin, a young scholar from Australia, walked out of a government archive in Banda Aceh carrying a cardboard box. It was brimming with three thousand photocopied documents from the Indonesian army, and Melvin could barely believe her luck. These documents prove what …

Indonesia: The Saudis Are Coming

Indonesian Muslims at morning prayers in Yogyakarta during Eid al-Adha, the festival marking the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the Saudi holy city of Mecca, September 2016

Nurturing the Salafi Manhaj: A Study of Salafi Pesantrens in Contemporary Indonesia

by Din Wahid

Transnational Islamic Actors and Indonesia’s Foreign Policy: Transcending the State

by Delphine Alles
In 1980, Saudi Arabia started an all-expenses-paid university in Jakarta. The Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic (LIPIA), housed in a modern building sheathed in blue reflective glass, has produced tens of thousands of graduates trained in a strict, puritanical Salafi Islam in stark contrast to the relaxed, …

Indonesia: The Battle Over Islam

Indonesian President-Elect Joko Widodo (left) receiving a tour of the presidential palace from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the day before Widodo’s inauguration, Jakarta, October 2014

Islamisation and Its Opponents in Java: A Political, Social, Cultural and Religious History, c. 1930 to the Present

by M.C. Ricklefs

Islam in Indonesia: The Contest for Society, Ideas and Values

by Carool Kersten
The Islamic State’s butchery and takeover of territory in Iraq and Syria dominate the headlines, but a much less violent yet little-known conflict exists in Indonesia, where more Muslims live than in all of the Middle East. It is a battle to define Islam in Indonesia and it matters because …

Indonesia Reborn?

In the days after Suharto’s downfall this May, a huge construction pit in the middle of Jakarta, abandoned and filled with mud, was transformed into a remarkable, and illegal, amphitheater. A ragtag group of artists and activists decided they couldn’t resist the symbolism of the pit—the very image of boom …


V.S. Naipaul’s most recent visit with Imaduddin took place well before Indonesia’s economic collapse in December. What has happened to him and his patron Habibie now? On a recent Sunday morning, I visited Imaduddin in his study. “I haven’t been well,” he said when I arrived. Thin and walking slowly, …


Uncovering Indonesia’s Act of Killing

Indonesian soldiers taking suspected Communists to prison during a military crackdown in which some 500,000 Indonesians were killed, Jakarta, October 30, 1965

This declassification comes at a moment when politics in Indonesia have become sharply polarized. A reckoning over 1965 is very much a part of today’s political struggle. Although there is an appetite, especially among young people, to know more about what happened then, there has also been a fierce backlash from army generals and Islamist politicians who warn that any talk of reconciliation or apology is a plot to revive communism.

The Indonesian Massacre: What Did the US Know?

Indonesian soldiers near the burning wreckage of a vehicle, following the assassination of six army generals, Jakarta, October 1965

US President Barack Obama and Indonesia President Joko Widodo share a personal connection to one of the worst massacres anywhere since World War II, the carefully orchestrated mass killings that brought a US-backed dictatorship to power. Now, declassified CIA documents are raising new questions about US involvement in those events.