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Ramadan Mubarak to all of our Muslim friends! This month we feature essays reflecting on the suicide bombings that occurred in Surabaya in mid-May. There is also an article on the International Day of Living Together in Peace observed on May 16th, a book review, and student reports of CRCS events. Finally, find the trailer for the new short documentary Our Land is the Sea, part of the Voicing Diversity Project, a collaboration between CRCS and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Hawai'i Mānoa.


A prayer recited at the conclusion of Universitas Gadjah Mada/UGM’s “Act of Concern Confronting Terrorism” event held at Balairung UGM on May 14, 2018, a day after the bombings of three churches in Surabaya. (English & Indonesian)

What kind of parents would strap bombs onto their children’s bodies and lead them to commit suicide together? What kind of logic was implanted in their minds that could allow them to deny their own children a future? (English & Indonesian)


The Indonesian public was shocked by the emergence of “terrorist families” like those who acted as suicide bombers in Surabaya in mid-May. But as history shows, the so-called terrorist families are not a new phenomenon. (English & Indonesian)

Terrorism is born out of an identity crisis that results from complex situations that make the terrorists unable to behave like normal people. They live in a political system that they consider to have colonized them. (English & Indonesian)

In December of 2017, the UN declared May 16 as the International Day of Living Together in Peace, whose campaign was initiated by the International Association of Sufi Alawiyya. 2018 marks the first year in which it is observed in at least thirteen countries. What does this Day mean? (English & Indonesian)

Assuming that a hadith sanctioning the death penalty for apostasy was authentic, the question is whether that capital punishment applied to 7th-century apostates was merely for leaving Islam or there were other much more significant reasons? A review of Saeed & Saeed’s book Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam. (Indonesian)

The Reformation within Christianity resulted in a massive division between Christians. Today, there are thousands of denominations worldwide. The Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs recognizes almost 300 of them in Indonesia. This report from a CRCS field trip reflects on how three different Christian denominations in Yogyakarta differ from one another. (English)

Was the advent of Islam in Egypt in the seventh century a “great liberation” (al-fath al-mubin) as it is called in some Islamic textbooks, or rather an Arab invasion and act of imperialism? How have Coptic Christians perceived Muslim rules and sustained their existence as a community throughout the centuries? (English)


Our Land is the Sea/Air Tanahku is a 25-minute documentary about three generations of a Bajau family in Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia, who are navigating drastic cultural and environmental change. In preparation for a ceremony that marks their son's entrance to adulthood, this Bajau family grapples with how coral reef extinction, economic change, ethnic discrimination, and changing practices of Islam will mean a different life for their children and their people in the future.

This film was written and directed by
Kelli Swazey and Matt Colaciello of the Global Workshop as part of the Voicing Diversity project, a collaboration between CRCS and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Hawai'i Mānoa. The film will be hosted on both centers' webpages as part of a multimedia resource on diversity in Southeast Asia for educational use in the US and Indonesia. The trailer can be viewed at the film's webpage.


CRCS 2018 intersession courses

CRCS will offer two courses during the 2018 intersession: Religion and Human Rights and Religion, Body, and Sexuality. We welcome applications from graduate students and members of the public for credit or as auditors. The courses will be held June 25 – August 3.

CRCS 2018/2019 admission

Applications for the 2018/19 academic year are now being accepted by Program Studi Agama dan Lintas Budaya (CRCS) at the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada. Applications for admission are due July 3, 2018.

CRCS Newsletter of June 2018

The Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS) is a Master's Degree program in Religious Studies and a research center at the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM).
Gedung Sekolah Pascasarjana UGM Floors 3 & 4
Jl. Teknika Utara, Pogung, Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281
Telephone: +62 274 544976. Email:

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Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies (CRCS), Universitas Gadjah Mada · Gedung Sekolah Pascasarjana UGM Lantai III – IV, Jalan Teknika Utara, Pogung · Yogyakarta 55281 · Indonesia

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