Global Perspectives: Islam, Spiritualism and Radicalism, Yogyakarta, Nov. 22-24, 2012

In this era of globalization and trans-nationalism religions and religious communities confront challenges of social and political modernization. Ever increasing levels of inter-connectivity of capital, commodities, images and ideologies are among the defining characteristics of globalization.  Globalization brings new understandings of space and time and of a tightly interconnected world in which people are no longer limited by space and time. The world becomes ever smaller and time ever shorter (Jonathan Xavier Inda & Renato Rosaldo).

Modernization is the set of social and technological transformations that gave birth to globalization. Science and technology are the dominant forms of knowledge in modern societies.  This has led to the marginalization of religion and particularly the spiritual dimension of religion that is difficult to observe or quantify. The marginalization of religion and especially its spiritual aspects is often mentioned as pre-conditions for the emergence of modernity (Roxanne Euben 1999, 21). Put another way, as rationality becomes the form and substance of modernity revelation becomes increasingly insignificant (Bruce Lawrence, 57).

Fundamentalism is a reaction to the secularity of modernity and a response to the intellectual, social and political hegemony of secularism. Fundamentalism is the product of modernity but denies its authenticity and aims to replace the secular order with a religious one (BassamTibi, 1998). Fundamentalism has the potential to give rise to radicalism that often do not oppose or actively support violence in the name of religion.

In Indonesia the end of the Suharto regime in 1998 led to democratization, and at the same time was a breath of fresh air for fundamentalists endorsing textual literalism. Indonesian fundamentalism is often associated with organized trans-national and global movements. As Greg Fealy (2004) has observed, the portrait of Islam emerging from research conducted in the Post-Suharto Reformation Era is one of Muslim Radicalism.

State Islamic University (UIN) Sunan Kalijaga is a qualified higher educational institution that integrates a non-violence-based curriculum and learning process. UIN community members come from many different regions of Indonesia and diverse schools of Islamic thought. The university vision is to excel and outstand in integrating and developing the study of Islam and modern sciences for the betterment of civilization. One of its missions is strengthening the participation of the University in solving national problems, bringing together the insights of Islam and sciences in order to build civil society.

This conference will be held as part of an attempt to realize the university’s mission. It is also intended as an effort to and to contribute to the development of a highly spiritual society and nation that rejects violence committed in the name of religion.


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