Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-xfwgj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-24T17:48:23.824Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

6 - The Conservative Dilemma: To Challenge or Accept State Proclamations?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2021

Get access

Summary

Abstract

This chapter interrogates the relationships between conservative activists and the state. By now, there is perhaps no need to belabour the point that each category of activists is not homogenous, as the previous chapters have shown. The conservatives are a varied group, with some actively cooperating with the state and others adopting a more pragmatic approach. I argue that just like the ulama and the liberals, conservative activists typically work within the system, even when they disagree with state pronouncements. Unlike the liberals, however, the space is more constricted for conservatives to influence discourse and policy in many areas. The political opportunities for these activists are limited because of the government's preference for more ‘inclusive’ interpretations of Islam. As in the previous chapters, cases of dissident conservatives are discussed so as to provide a more comprehensive picture of Muslim activism in Singapore. Causes which conservatives champion and duly avoid will be investigated in depth, to comprehend the nexus between political opportunities and activism.

Keywords: conservative Muslims, traditionalist, Muslim identity, hijab, Arabization

There have been many policies which the government has pursued which are not the best. The Arabization narrative is clearly wrong. The ‘Merry Christmas’ incident was narrowly understood by the government and their supporters. However, there is a limit to what we can do, what we can oppose. Sometimes, we just have to accept that there are some battles which we cannot win. The above quote – from a conservative activist – mirrors much of the language used by progressive Muslims described in the earlier chapter, even if the issues of concern vary. For liberals, the ‘Arabization’ narrative or the ‘Merry Christmas’ incident are not matters in which they disagree with the state's stance: in fact, ideologically, they agree with the government's approach in these matters. Where they do agree with conservatives, however, is in the understanding that there are ‘some battles’ which activists cannot win. The acceptance of the disparity in power between the citizens and the state, and the potential detrimental repercussions of straying beyond acceptable activism, is evident on both sides of the ideological aisle.

Type
Chapter
Information
Islam in a Secular State
Muslim Activism in Singapore
, pp. 213 - 262
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×