Dr Muhammad Najib Azca – 2022

Remembering Dr Fauzi AR: Political and Religious Struggle

Born in Yogyakarta in 1956, Dr Fauzi AR came from a devout Muhammadiyah family. His father, Abdul Razak Fachruddin, was an icon of ‘moderate’ Muhammadiyah and was the longest serving chairman of Muhammadiyah (1968-1990). Fauzi grew up in Kauman, Yogyakarta, the heartland of Muhammadiyah, and was educated in Muhammadiyah schools. Fauzi was a medical doctor and the chairman of the Islamic United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan; PPP) in Yogyakarta.  However, he later heeded the call for jihad by Laskar Jihad, a salafi-wahabi paramilitary group, during the inter-religious conflict in Maluku. Fauzi became a reformed “maverick jihadist” who was able to channel his energy into a variety of contradictory activities. He remained the chairman of the PPP during his jihad involvement, which was unusual, as participation in partisan politics (hizbiyya) is forbidden by Salafi doctrine. Fauzi remained a heavy smoker until death, although smoking is forbidden (haram) by fatwa, as declared by Salafi clerics. When the Salafi movement fragmented, he created his own ‘third way’, conducting Salafi religious sermons at his home but somehow maintained good relations with Ja’far Umar Thalib, the former commander of Laskar Jihad and excommunicated Salafi leader. Finally, in another twist, he supported and campaigned for his wife in an unsuccessful bid for parliament in the 2009 election as a member of the secular-nationalist party Gerindra. Applying a biographical approach, Fauzi’s life will be examined, covering his life from Muhammadiyah to jihad to party politics.


Muhammad Najib Azca is the head of Center for Security and Peace Studies (CSPS) and a senior lecturer at the Sociology Department of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM). He is currently leading a research project on the role of women in (counter) violent extremism in Indonesia and previously took part in a research project in collaboration with Universiteit van Amsterdam on the Role of Non-State Security Groups in the Struggle against Extremism in Kenya, Nigeria, and Indonesia. Completed BA from UGM, MA from Australian National University (ANU, 2003) with Distinction, and PhD from Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA, 2011) with thesis entitled “After Jihad: A Biographical Approach to Passionate Politics in Indonesia.” He published several articles on topic such as conflict, security, violence, peace and Islamic radicalism in Journal Conflict, Security & Development, Journal of Contemporary Asia, the Asian Journal of Social Science, Asia Pacific Migration Journal, ISEAS/Monash Asia Institute, CSIS Washington, Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, and Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation.