Focus Group Central Asia:

Indonesia and Malaysia

Indonesia and Malaysia are nations that do not often occupy a central place on the world stage.  When one thinks of Muslim nations, one thinks of Saudi Arabia or Iran, for example.  But located far away from the holy cities of Mecca and Medina both Indonesia and Malaysia are majority-Muslim nations with hundreds of millions of loyal Muslims.  Yet in both Indonesia and Malaysia Islam is not the only religion; Buddhism and Christianity are also major presences on the national scene, and some degree of pluralism is the reality.  In fact, in Malaysia the ethic-Chinese are the ones with the preponderance of economic and political; the Muslims have the larger numbers, and the government makes sure their sensibilities are not offended and that they have a large role in society.  In Indonesia, Islam plays a strong role in government and also complicated the situation in the rebellious province of East Timor which is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.  But what role exactly does Islam play in Indonesia and Malaysia at the end of the 20th century?

Questions to keep in mind:  How is Islam different in Indonesia and Malaysia than it is in Arabic nations of the Middle East?  To what degree do Muslims coexist peacefully with their non-Muslim neighbors?  How does the government accommodate Islam in Malaysia?  What role does Islam play in the policies and motivations of the Indonesian government?  What role does Islam play in the view of Indonesia to East Timorese calls for independence?  What percentage of these countries is Muslim, non-Muslim?





Indonsian Research Links

Start here and read the latest headlines from Indonesia at Yahoo!, and especially the crisis in E. Timor.  Also check out all the links at Open Directory's Indonesia section.  Get good basic Indonesian information at the CIA World Factbook.   Range far and wide in search of information over the World Wide Web! Asiannet - Indonesia Online.

Read all the links here about Indonesia from Britannica.  Cool links!  Read the articles!

Check out these official Indonesian sites: Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights, Indonesian Embassy, Government of Indonesia, and Facts about Indonesia.  Other general sites: Indonesia Internet Information Center, Indonesia Sightseer, Travel Indonesia, and Go Indonesia.

Check out this great section here: Indonesia: Nation in Crisis and here.  Good article on New Wave of Islamic Intellectuals.

Indira Lakshmanan, Asia Bureau Chief for the Boston Globe, talks with Terence Smith about Indonesia.  Read the entire article!

Check out these informative links to Asiaweek at CNN: Indonesia: Unity in Diversity?
Maybe the all-inclusive new government will work. It had better.  Call 'Em Wahidisms Quotations: The world according to Gus Dur.  Is He Strong Enough? Wahid's health raises concerns.  The Fight for Megawati Behind the scenes of the V.P. election.  'East Timor Is a Tough Job' Australia's Downer on relations with Asia.  Christian-Muslim enmity in Malaysian Spice Islands, as well as in the Moluccans.  Read about Indonesian Muslims call for 'jihad' against Christians in those same islands and Clashes claim more lives in Indonesia's Aceh province.

 East Timor Action Network/U.S., East Timor Human Rights Centre
East Timor: Past, Present and Future, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Online News - East Timor Referendum 1999, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), World Vision - Terror in East Timor

Read all these latest links about religious violence in Indonesia: "Indonesian president rejects Muslim calls for holy war", Separatist eyes independence for Indonesian province by 2003, Refugees from Indonesian religious clashes look for shelter, No end in sight to Christian-Muslim violence in Ambon, Indonesian Muslims continue anti-Christian protests in Jakarta, Indonesian Muslims call for 'jihad' against Christians.  And finally read, "Fears of coup in East Timor prompt tough U.S. talk."

Muslims and Christians Clash in Indonesia -- (Update) Host Bob Edwards talks with BBC's Richard Galpin about violent unrest in eastern Indonesia where hundreds of people were killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians.

Read all about religious relations in Indonesia.  Very cool links with much information!  Check out this page especially.

Malaysian Resarch Links

Start here and read the latest headlines from Malaysia at Yahoo!  Also check out all the links at Open Directory's Malaysian section.  Get good basic Malaysian information at the CIA World Factbook.   Range far and wide in search of information over the World Wide Web!

Read all the links here about Malaysia from Britannica.  Cool links!  Read the articles!

Malaysia :The Prime Minister of Malaysia's Web site, The Malaysian Question.

Check out these general sites: Malaysian WebSphere, Informative Malaysia, Malaysia Online, Malaysia, and Official Guide to Malaysia.

A good section about Malaysia's recent elections.

Reporting from Malaysia Murray Hiebert, Malaysia bureau chief for The Far Eastern Economic Review, discusses his four-week imprisonment in Malaysia after he wrote an article critical of the litigious Malaysian society.