Palatable fundamentalism

Let us compare Christian fundamentalists in America with Muslim fundamentalists in Indonesia.

Notice how ultra-zealous Christians in America dress ordinarily. While some wear the usual formal apparels like suits and ties, many others are dressed very casually in T-shirts, hoodies, jeans; even the young women wear very short shorts while doing outdoor activities. Basically, they dress like the typical Americans.

I also notice they are media-savvy. They are able to create watchable media content watchable (assuming one can tolerate the messages). They know how to make themselves presentable for the masses.

In many cases, their music is far from highbrow. It is often easily digestible middle-of-the-road pop music.

Oh, and don’t forget most of them use English -the most spoken language in America- as their liturgical tongue. Consequentially, the spiritually does not feel burdened by the duty of learning a new language.

Compared that to Islamic fundamentalism in Indonesia.

Fundamentalist Muslims -the ones in Indonesia, at least- have their own fashion sense. The men love wearing a garment called gamis (some Arabs may refer to it as thawb) and, when they do wear pants, they are always ankle-length. For headwear, they mostly wear either turban or peci (not to be confused with kopiah; for reasons, Wikipedia thinks peci and kopiah are the exact same thing). When they do sport facial hair, long goatee is the preferred style.

For the women, when they are not wearing face veil, they (unsurprisingly) wear jilbab (or hijab as many westerners call it) and very long dresses, so long you can barely see their feet.

Obviously, it is a huge contrast to how the majority of Indonesians dress: highly-westernised. But, it is also a huge contrast to how more pious Muslims in the olden-days dressed.

Judging from what I see in photos (they may not be representative), the men wore either batik shirt or baju koko and kopiah as their preferred headwear; when they did sport facial hair, it was never visually prominent. The women wore garments like sarong kebaya or baju kurung; when they wore headwear, it was usually headscarf which still exposes some skin and hair.

Speaking of pious Indonesians in general (not just the fundies), they are not that media-savvy. While we already had religious programmes on TV, entirely religious media outlets were unheard of for most Indonesians. Even now, with their recent emergence, they are still a niche in the country’s media industry.

Arabic is the liturgical language of Islam. Even among Muslims who are not fundamentalists but still pious nonetheless, there seems to be a burden to learn Arabic, as if the lack of fluency would invalidate their faith.

I don’t know if the fundies enjoy music or not. But, I do know that many musicians (not all) who create Islamic music seem adamant on including Arab influences in their works. With all things considered, if the fundies enjoy music, it would definitely be Arab-sounding.

Let me be clear: I don’t believe American Christian fundamentalism is as violent as Indonesian Islamic fundamentalism. But, I can confidently say its palatability makes it more sinister.

Not only the Muslim fundamentalists dress different from the rest of Indonesians, they are also extremely obsessed with anything Arab (or what they perceive as such), more so than the actual Arab-Indonesians themselves. They stick out like sore thumbs.

The American Christian fundamentalists, on the other hand, dress like ordinary Americans and they are culturally very American-centric. Basically, they easily blend in with the rest of the populace.

I believe that makes the American Christian fundies more terrifying because not only they have an easier time recruiting new members and infiltrating the establishment, they are also more likely to have people defending them. In fact, some people may accuse the critics of being a bunch of leftist snowflakes who get offended by everything.

For shallow morons who always take appearances for granted, it sounds absurd that normal-looking people can be a threat to humanity.

For them, we should always judge a book by its cover. Reading is for losers.

Considering how some westerners defend the alt-right, insisting the extremist movement it is not run by extremists, my assumption is within reason.






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Author: The Stammering Dunce

I write blogs. I love to act smarter than I really am and I pretend that my opinions are of any significance. Support me on Patreon:

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