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Indonesia's 212 Mart convenience stores are part of a growing wave of conservative Muslim entrepreneurship. (Photo by Dimas Ardian)
Asia Insight

Indonesia's wealth gap spurs Muslims to join 'economic jihad'

Devout citizens strive to take on tycoons with convenience stores

ERWIDA MAULIA, Nikkei staff writer | Indonesia

JAKARTA -- Taufan left his petrochemical job in Abu Dhabi just over a year ago to answer what he felt was his true calling. Upon returning home to Jakarta, he invested in 212 Mart, a new Indonesian convenience store chain whose all-Muslim investors say is part of an "economic jihad."

Not to be confused with bloody holy wars waged by terrorist groups against perceived "infidels," supporters of economic jihad say they use the literal meaning of "jihad" in Arabic -- which translates to "striving" or "a meritorious struggle" -- and apply it to business. "I want to invest in a shop that sides more with Muslims, which sells produce by Muslim communities, by our [small businesses]," Taufan, 53, told the Nikkei Asian Review, declining to share his surname.

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