Indonesia: Ground shifts in Indonesia’s economy as conservative Islam takes root

  • Arie Untung, a former video jockey for the Indonesian offshoot of MTV, says he used to drink alcohol regularly and – back then – was a jeans-clad, spiky-haired rocker who was only a nominal Muslim.
  • But he says his religious fervor was rekindled by online preachers promoting more conservative interpretations of Islam, which are gaining ground in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country and bringing profound changes in its economy.
  • Untung has now reinvented his career by linking up with other celebrities to run a sharia (Islamic law)-friendly entertainment business in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, including hosting popular Muslim prayer festivals.
  • They are part of a growing body of “born-again” Muslims driving social changes that are also having an economic impact, encouraging everything from Muslim-targeted housing to sharia banking.
  • The celebrities, who jointly have over 20 million followers on Instagram and Twitter, are part of what has become known as the “hijrah” movement in Indonesia and, according to Untung, aim to make an Islamic economy more mainstream.
  • The number of conservatives is now growing and more companies have embraced Islamic branding and marketing, said Edy Setiadi, secretary general of the non-profit Shariah Economy Society.
  • Restaurants have raced to secure halal certification, which means they comply with Islamic law. There are now hospitals where drugs are halal compliant and shampoos claiming to be suitable for headscarf wearers.
  • There has been particularly rapid growth in demand for halal food, modest fashion and Islamic travel, Dody Budi Waluyo, a deputy governor of Bank Indonesia (BI), told Reuters.
  • In 2014, Indonesia adopted measures to make companies label whether products are halal, although the deadline was pushed in 2018 by as much as 7 years amid concerns from industry that the move could cause chaos and threaten supplies.
  • Media Kernels Indonesia, a data consultancy, said its research showed words like “hijrah” and “halal” were mentioned on social media over 5,000 times in the past 30 days indicating Islamic phrases were being used more in product marketing.

External Link : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-economy-islam-insight/ground-shifts-in-indonesias-economy-as-conservative-islam-takes-root-idUSKCN1VI09F

28-Aug-2019


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