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Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan
Chapter 8: Jihad in Maluku
Badrus Sholeh Islamic forces after the new order The Muslim–Christian conﬂict in the Maluku islands in Indonesia, which began in 1999 has been a much under-reported civil war, despite the fact that over 10 000 people were killed and over half a million rendered homeless. This chapter will examine how the conﬂict developed after the setting up of the Java-based radical Muslim paramilitaries of the Laskar Jihad (holy warriors) in the Malukus. The arrival of the Laskar Jihad was itself a response to developments in national politics and assertions by radical Muslims that Muslim-cleansing was taking place in Maluku. This chapter will argue that religious segregation became much more pronounced within a year of the start of the conﬂict, as mixed Muslim and Christian regions in Maluku were destroyed in the ﬁghting. The conﬂict essentially forced the respective communities to take refuge in their own separate areas. The Laskar Jihad will be seen as a type of ‘premanism’, though it is in this case maintained by a religious creed. Lindsey’s analysis of premanism is crucial to our understanding of the conﬂict. He shows how certain elites employed vigilante groups to inﬂate the conﬂict and how they gained economic privileges as a result.1 Analyses by Aditjondro and Tomagola, in examining the relations between the central elite and the preman-laskar, conﬁrm Lindsey’s assessment that both state and privatelyfunded premanism existed. According to Lindsey, premanism is: derived from the Dutch for ‘free man’ and...
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