Living in the chaos of the world’s largest Muslim democracy

Does the proliferation of jilbabs (headscarves) in Indonesia since 1998 mean the nation has gone hardline? How did democracy happen in Indonesia, which has the largest population of Muslims in the world, and will it stick? Is the term ‘Muslim feminist’ an oxymoron? Do Muslims even like sex?

Julia’s Jihad provides the answer to these questions and much, much more: how the nation struggles to maintain the ‘unity in diversity’ of its 300 ethnic groups; how it practices ‘political cannibalism’ to deal with to its human rights problems; how environmentally we ‘burn our own house down’, and a whole lot of the other weird and wacky things that make Indonesia the fascinating bundle of contradictions it is.

Julia’s Jihad is jihad in fourth gear in the struggle for openness, rationality, humanity and, naturally, women – all spiced with a big dose of humor and wit that shakes up the reader. Reading Julia, you keep on laughing until you suddenly realize that what she is writing about is not funny but very, very serious.

Frans Magnis Suseno, Professor, Driyarkara School of Philosophy

The remarkable feature of Julia’s style is the way she approaches the most challenging and unconventional questions, which even in the liberal society of Indonesia remain unspeakable. In the process, she uses critical thinking to attack the comfortable picture Indonesians carry in their minds regarding gender equality, sex, religion and the interplay of informal and formal leadership. Her pen is bold and her spirit indomitable!

Sanaullah, Pakistan Ambassador to Indonesia

Julia is not just a critical feminist, but also a true humanist. She moves us to sincerely respect our fellow human beings and the plurality of culture and religion as certainties, and even sources of peace.

Musdah Mulia, Professor, postgraduate studies at UIN (State Islamic University), Jakarta

The Jakarta Post is fortunate indeed when Julia Suryakusuma decided to grace its editorial pages. Her regular weekly columns – incisive, witty, sardonic capped with a touch of wisdom – are a constant delight to the majority of readers. In her many years as the Post’s loyal contributor Julia has created a vast audience of admirers.

Sabam Siagian, Founding Chief Editor of The Jakarta Post (1983-1991), now currently Senior Editor, and former Ambassador to Australia (1991-1995).

By Julia Suryakusuma
ISBN: 978-602-9402-27-8
Number of Pages: 564
Publisher: Komunitas Bambu
First Published: 2013