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Being Young and MuslimNew Cultural Politics in the Global South and North$
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Asef Bayat and Linda Herrera

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369212

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369212.001.0001

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The Drama of Jihad: The Emergence of Salafi Youth in Indonesia

The Drama of Jihad: The Emergence of Salafi Youth in Indonesia

(p.49) 3 The Drama of Jihad: The Emergence of Salafi Youth in Indonesia
Being Young and Muslim

Noorhaidi Hasan

Oxford University Press

Using the backdrop of the bloody communal warfare between Muslims and Christians that erupted in the islands of the Moluccas in the eastern part of Indonesia in January 1999, this chapter examines why thousands of young men, roughly half of whom were university students and graduates between 20 and 35 years old, were so eager to welcome the call for jihad and to risk their lives by venturing to the front lines to fight against Christians. In what way does their collective activism reflect a process of cultural interactions between the local and the global, the hegemonic and the subaltern, and the center and the periphery? It is argued that the determination of Salafi youths to join Laskar Jihad to fight in the Moluccas is more a form of rational choice in their attempt to negotiate identity, and thus claim dignity. Their acts can be conceptualized as drama, a sort of performative practice of youths to demonstrate, in the face of powerful opponents, a hitherto marginalized power and to challenge the hegemonic global order.

Keywords:   Indonesia, communal warfare, jihad, students, rational choice, Salafi youth, Laskar Jihad

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