ACICIS welcomed one student to Malang on the East Java Field Study (EJFS) program in Semester 48 (February 2019). Kate Thresher is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Laws & Honours in Asian Studies at Murdoch University, and as part of her New Colombo Plan Scholarship, she chose to undertake a semester in Malang.

The EJFS is an ACICIS semester program based at Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM). As part of the EJFS program, students have to undertake a field study and write a mini-thesis (skripsi) based on the field study in either Bahasa Indonesia or English. The EJFS is the second oldest ACICIS programs, launched back in 1995 with the help of Dr A. Habib, MA. Past students have written reports on topics as diverse as reformasi, gender issues in a developing country and community and governance in remote fishing villages.

This semester, Kate chose to research the role of Majelis Ulama Indonesia or MUI (Indonesian Ulama Council) in the trial of religious blasphemy cases in East Java. In the Indonesian law system, the role of MUI is to provide expert witness and issue fatwas, a nonbinding legal opinion from the perspective of the Ulama (religious clerics) representing the country’s top Muslim groups.

During her time in East Java, Kate’s skripsi was supervised by Dr Vina Salviana DS, M.Si. Kate also had the opportunity to attend private classes and consultations with Prof Dr Syamsul Arifin, M.Si., Vice-Rector of UMM, and Dr Rinisko Kartono, M.Si., the Dean of The Faculty of Social and Political Sciences UMM.  For her skripsi, Kate studied and researched seven blasphemy cases through visits to several courthouses, both the national court and the Islamic court, and also conducted interviews with experts in Indonesian law and Islamic law.

After completing her research and skripsi, Kate presented her skripsi in Bahasa Indonesia in front of lecturers from UMM and ACICIS representatives.

Congratulations to Kate! We are all very proud of you and would like to thank you for a wonderful semester. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours!