Mohamad Abdun Nasir
This article examines the fatāwā issued by the Council of Indonesian ʿulamāʾ (Majelis Ulama Indonesia; MUI) regarding democracy, pluralism and religious minorities and explores their socio-historical contexts. The MUI emerges as having an ambiguous attitude towards democracy. The 1998 reform in Indonesia offered a backdrop that encouraged the MUI to be more independent from the state. This enabled the MUI to produce Islamic religious discourses that intersect with democracy, civil society, law enforcement, human rights, public security and elections. The MUI has accepted several principles that are prerequisites for a democratic society and state, such as equality before the law, good governance, protection of human rights, maintenance of public peace and security, and participation in fair elections. However, the Council is very conservative when comes to safeguarding Islamic faith and theology. It rejects pluralism, religious freedom and Muslim minorities such as the Ahmadiyya. The MUI’s strict interpretation of Islam and support for Islamist ideology and conservatism prevent it from accepting democracy fully.