Salafism, the ultra puritan stream of Islam, has evolved very differently in Malaysia than in Indonesia, with more of its leaders seeking political engagement, sometimes to avoid being labelled extremist. Notwithstanding superficial similarities between recent mass Islamist rallies in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, political Islam has followed very different trajectories in the two countries, and Salafism, a minority stream in both, has responded to those local dynamics.

Puritan Political Engagement: The Evolution of Salafism in Malaysia, the latest report from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), looks at how Malaysia’s identity politics and competition between political parties to defend the interests of Malay Muslims have produced Salafi leaders who on some social issues take a seemingly more open stance than their Indonesian counterparts.

Read it here