Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Indonesia's Bono vs. the Islamists

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross recently published a fascinating article for the Weekly Standard on how Indonesia's top pop star has taken a stand against the spread of radical Islamism in his country:

A ROCK STAR WOULD BE the last person one might expect to address a major defense policy conference. Yet the National Homeland Defense Foundation Symposium, held on October 3 in Colorado Springs, welcomed such a guest: thirty-four-year-old Ahmad Dhani.

Dhani is nothing short of a superstar in his native Indonesia, where he performs to sold-out crowds with his band Dewa 19, and where his music has defined a generation of young Indonesians. Frequently compared to U2 frontman Bono, Dhani and his band's music took a political turn two years ago. Since dictator Suharto was ousted from power in 1998, the country has been engaged in a high-stakes "culture war": Islamic political movements have been able to operate more freely, and extremist groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Islamic Defenders Front have been pushing for the adoption of sharia law. Indonesia has been plagued by major terror attacks in Jakarta and Bali, and by religious and communal violence, such as clashes between Muslims and Christians in early 1999. Dhani and his group, like many urbanites, were alarmed by these developments. They decided to use their music to respond to the hateful ideology that has been seducing so many Indonesian youths.

Please read it all:

Warrior of Love


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