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Islam in Southeast Asia

Hussin Mutalib

Publication Year: 2008

Islam is a major religion in Southeast Asia, with Indonesian Muslims comprising the largest Muslim population in the world. Events and developments since 11 September 2001 have added greater attention to Islam and its adherents in this part of the world. This general survey of Islam in Southeast Asia is intended to inform, explain and update readers about the more significant aspects of Islam in Southeast Asia, then and now. These include the following: the geographical origins and sources by which the faith spread in this region; the social, economic and political profiles of the Muslim communities; relations between Muslims and non-Muslims and between Muslims and the State; the strands and trends that shapes the role of Islam and the Muslims in the national body politic; and the challenges confronting Muslims in confronting the vicissitudes of their lives in this era of rapid change, characterized by modernization, capitalism, secularization and globalization. The discussion will begin with an overview of the broad picture of Islam and the Muslims in the region as a whole, covering both Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority countries. This will be followed by case-study analysis of Islam and the Muslims in individual countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Given the difficulty of writing on such a complex and contentious topic, this book attempts to present the subject matter in a manner that is sufficiently objective to scholars and yet simple and accessible enough to be readily understood by ordinary readers.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v

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About the Author

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pp. vi-vii

Hussin Mutalib has been with the National University of Singapore (NUS) since the early 1980s. An Associate Professor and a political scientist by training, he is the author of five books on politics, including Islam and Ethnicity in Malay Politics (Oxford University Press), ...

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1. Introduction: Islam in Southeast Asia - Origins, Sources of Spread, and Role of Colonialism

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pp. 1-12

Of the estimated 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, about 60 per cent live in Asia. Some 250 million Muslims reside in Southeast Asia. While Muslims in this region may be a minority in the Muslim world, their role in shaping the future destiny of Islam is far from peripheral. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country ...

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2. Indonesia

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pp. 13-24

Islam came to present-day Indonesia around the thirteenth century. Gradually, through the complex process of trade with Muslims, conversion of the royalty to Islam, and the appeal of the Muslim faith, the faith spreads across the length and breadth of the archipelago, which, consisting of more than 17,000 islands, is the largest in the world. ...

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3. Malaysia

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pp. 25-39

Islam has had a long history in Malaysia, ever since the faith “arrived” in its shores in what are now the states of Kedah, Perak, Kelantan and Trengganu, from around the twelfth century BC. Admittedly, this period has been a hotly debated one but the excavation of the “Trengganu stone” bearing the age of this period was a major argument ...

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4. Brunei

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pp. 41-45

Islam has had a long history in Brunei, having reached its shores from about the thirteenth century, if not earlier. From Chinese historical records, Brunei was then called Poli (or Polo). The discovery of ancient Chinese coins in Brunei’s Kota Batu region and the sending of “goodwill goods” (ivory and spices) by the ...

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5. Singapore

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pp. 47-58

Singapore 2000 Population Census indicates that there are about 15 per cent Muslims in the Republic, 14 per cent of which are ethnic Malays. In numbers, this comprises about 450,000 in a population of 4 million people. The remaining 1 per cent comes from ethnic groups such as Arabs and ...

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6. Thailand and Philippines

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pp. 59-69

The issues facing the Muslim minorities in Thailand and the Philippines are, in some ways, quite similar. In both countries, Muslims constitute a relatively small population of about 5 to 7 per cent of the total population, are geographically located in the poorer southern part of the country, are proud of their ...

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7. Other Southeast Asian Countries: Indochina (Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos)

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pp. 71-86

The Muslim minorities in mainland Southeast Asia, specifcally Indochina, are a small, marginal, and often forgotten comunities, if compared to the Muslim minorities in maritime Southeast Asia. Muslims constitute about 5 per cent in Myanmar (Burma), 4 per cent in Cambodia (Kampuchea) and a mere 1 per cent in ...

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8. Conclusion

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pp. 87-91

From the analyses and discussions in earlier chapters, a few main observations can now be made about Islam and the Muslims in Southeast Asia. These observations cover both the maritime and mainland regions and encompass countries where Muslims are the majority community and those where they are ...


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pp. 93-94

E-ISBN-13: 9789812307590
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812307583

Page Count: 94
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: 1