Review: Chaedar Alwasilah’s Islam, Culture, and Education: Essays on contemporary Indonesia

Religious radicalism, ethnic clashes, racial slurs, a corrupt mentality and state indifference to a multicultural life has become the banal reality of the modern era, especially in Indonesia.

For the naysayers, these social ailments are considered the symptoms of a failed state — a state resembling Thomas Hobbes’s “state of nature” where brutishness always prevails and finds fertile ground. 
In the paucity of works that can help reflectively account for the root causes of such social ailments, Chaedar Alwasilah’s Islam, Culture, and Education, a selected collection of 78 op-ed articles published in The Jakarta Post,  provides an incisive  and compelling critique of sociopolitical and sociocultural life embedded in the Indonesian context.

Perusing its contents, one finds that the book is not simply a prosaic portrayal of contemporary Indonesia, but a thought-provoking piece seeking to challenge and to deconstruct the status quo.

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