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Melbourne Asia Review is an initiative of the Asia Institute. Any inquiries about Melbourne Asia Review should be directed to the Managing Editor, Cathy Harper.

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Edition 4, 2020

Islam and contemporary politics

Next Steps in the Study of Islam and Politics: From ‘Islam’ to ‘Muslims’

How Muslims are politically engaged as ‘Muslims’ from several different perspectives all at once is the question of current research focused on Islam and politics.

  • Associate Professor Matthew Nelson

Death penalty for apostasy: Selected Sunni and Shi’a scholars’ views in favour of abolition

A change of religion is a personal matter and should not lead to any form of punishment, let alone the death penalty.

How religion, geography and demography shape Pakistan’s state, society and politics

Pakistan’s political landscape is characterised by weak political institutions and a strident relationship between its government and military. But religion and other factors also play a significant role the Pakistani state and society.

Politicising blasphemy in Indonesia: How Islamic alliances are established

Conservative Muslim groups in an increasingly Islamic Indonesian society are attempting to establish alliances with opportunist politicians.

COVID-19 Analysis

Pandemic politics in South Asia: Muslims and democracy

Leaders in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan may succeed in defeating COVID-19 only to discover they have killed their democracies in the process.

Special Analysis

Trump or Biden: The implications for Asia

The US is more needed but less trusted in Asia in 2020 than it was in 2016.

COVID-19 Analysis

Governance or social resilience: Learning from Southeast Asia’s experience with COVID-19

WEBINAR: How Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam are weathering the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 Analysis

COVID-19 lockdown in Chinese villages: Radical measures positively received

New research indicates COVID-19 restrictions were largely accepted by Chinese villagers and satisfaction with the government's response is high.

COVID-19 Analysis

How South Korea has kept the impact of COVID-19 on jobs in check

Women have been hardest hit by COVID-related job losses in South Korea, but the jobs market generally has been resilient.

INTERVIEW: From Socialist China’s democracy movement to escalating military tensions

Over the last 50 years, China has experienced a tectonic shift from an impoverished nation with a significant democracy movement to global power with increasing political repression.

Edition 4, 2020

Islam and contemporary politics

Australia’s Muslims strongly reject an association between Islam and violent extremism

Overcoming prejudices concerning Islam and Muslims must involve acknowledgement of an ethical, progressive and peaceful Islam that teaches respectful coexistence with non-Muslims.

Indonesian vigilantes are voicing a conservative Islam, but they are not becoming terrorists

Members of Islamic street gangs mostly have no religious credentials, and don't aim to establish an Islamic state.

How progressive, cosmopolitan and social justice-oriented Islam can help overcome sectarianism

There is a critical mass of well-informed Muslims for whom Sunni and Shi’i Islam are not fundamental to how they view themselves as Muslims.

New forms of oppositional politics in Erdoğan’s Turkey

Turkey’s transformation into authoritarianism has been radical, but the political contest far from over.

The sophisticated Islamic civilisations of Western Sub-Saharan Africa between the 13th and 19th centuries

The rich and sophisticated history of Islam in West Africa challenges colonialists’ narratives.

‘Curly-Haired Kid to Killer’: Australian newspaper coverage of the Christchurch terrorist attacks

Analysing the quality and effect of media coverage of the murder of 51 Muslims in Christchurch.

The Taliban develops regional relationships as it makes territorial gains in Afghanistan

As the Taliban and Afghan government begin peace talks, the Taliban is on the diplomatic front foot.

Book Review

GODROADS: Modalities of Conversion in India. Editors: Peter Berger, Sarbeswar Sahoo

The book offers an alternative script for the Indian conversion experience, one that conceptualises conversion as a heterogenous experience rather than a single and individualised event.

COVID-19 Analysis

Vietnam and COVID-19: More Mark (Zuckerberg) than Marx

Vietnam’s success (so far) in responding to COVID-19 reflects both government and social resilience.

Look right: The conservative elites opposing Thailand’s protesters

Right-wing royalists and a bureaucratic and ideological system have for decades lauded the monarchy and rejected criticism as “un-Thai”.

COVID-19 Analysis

Learning to speak each other’s languages, again

Understanding each other’s languages and cultures will help overcome the vulnerabilities in Australia’s multiculturalism and its engagement with Asia exposed by COVID-19.

Interview: In-depth analysis of the Hong Kong security law and its implications

As the dust settles on Hong Kong’s newly imposed security law, a legal expert analyses the law's wide content and scope.