Kevin Fogg publishes monograph on Islam in Indonesia's revolution
2 December 2019
Kevin W. Fogg, research associate of the Oxford Centre for Global History and Brasenose College, Oxford, has published a research monograph on the place of Islam in Indonesia's war of independence, 1945-1949, entitled Indonesia's Islamic Revolution.
The Indonesian revolution was precedent-setting as an early self-determination struggle after the end of World War II and as the first case of national independence adjudicated at the United Nations, but it has been largely overlooked in comparative histories of revolution and decolonization. Within the Indonesian historiography, the history of this conflict has been dominated by depictions of grassroots fighters and elite politicians who thought of it as a nationalistic or class-based war. In this major new study, Dr Fogg rethinks the Indonesian Revolution as an Islamic struggle, in which pious Muslims, who made up almost half the population, fought and organized in religious ways. Muslims fighting on the ground were convinced by their leaders’ proclamations that they were fighting for a holy cause. In the political sphere, national leaders failed to write Islam into Indonesia’s founding documents, but they did create revolutionary precedents that continue to impact the country to this day. This study of a war of decolonization in the world’s most populous Muslim country points to the ways in which Islam has functioned as a revolutionary ideology in the modern era.