Autocratic vs. Democratic Islam = UAE vs. Indonesia

By James M. Dorsey

Indonesia has emerged as a primary battleground between democratic and autocratic visions of Islam in the 21st century.

The battle pits Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest civil society movement with 90 million followers and powerful ministers in Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s cabinet, against Abdullah bin Bayyah, an Abu Dhabi-based, Mauritanian-born religious jurist. Mr. Bin Bayyah, a Sunni Muslim high priest for Middle Eastern autocracy, provides religious legitimisation to the…

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James M. Dorsey

James M. Dorsey

James is an award-winning journalist covering ethnic and religious conflict. He blogs using soccer as a lens on the Middle East and North Africa's fault lines