Tittle         : Julia's Jihad

                    Tales of the politically, sexually and religiously  incorrect: living in the chaos of the biggest muslim democracy

Writer      : Julia Suryakusuma

Publisher : Komunitas Bambu, 2013


Elfira D. Siregar | ICIP | October, 07 2013


This book is compilation from Julia’s column which had been published in Tempo magazine and Jakarta Post newspaper from 2006 to 2013. This book collected of more than 100 columns in explaining contemporary Indonesia through Julia’s viewpoint. One thing first come in mind is the title of the book itself. She then explains “I want to embrace the original meaning of ‘jihad’ in Islam, which is ‘spiritual struggle’ in its widest sense – a basic religious duty of Muslim. The main, or greater jihad is the inner spiritual struggle to conquer your ‘demons’ to turn negative emotions such as anger, arrogance, bigotry, egocentrism, greed, hatred, jealousy, impatience etc into love, compassion, tolerance, generosity, patience, cooperation. It means surrendering your will to that of God’s, for the greater good of humankind. The search of justice and truth, and efforts to create a better society that is free of poverty, injustice and corruption are therefore also considered forms of ‘jihad’ in Islam. Julia’s Jihad is an expression of this jihad, or perhaps more specifically, ijtihad, a related term referring to another kind of religiously-ordained struggle: Islam’s tradition of independent and critical thinking, debate and dissent. This is something often overlooked in the West but as scholar as a born rebel, I obviously embrace it “(p xxiv).Reading this book, you will find Julia was writing sharp and fresh while telling the complexity of the problems in the country. Starting from the identity of muslim women, social movements, public policy, tradition, religion capitalization, to human rights. As muslim women without any specific Islamic background education, Julia seems represents the anxiety from the command muslims in Indonesia related to the current situation. Especially in relation to the development of internal peace and religious tolerance and inter-religious. Julia contrast to most of the writers and thinkers who like to cite the theories of plura

lism that complicated. She chooses being herself and much represents the majority people in Indonesia. You might smile also to her when finding inserts satirical humor in a serious discussion. Instead of the humor, this book is considerably a sample of honest and ‘brave ‘work which questioning and describes current situation. It is clear that she has great hope to see the better Indonesia, with respect to the Unity and Diversity.