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Islam, Education and Reform in Southern Thailand

Tradition and Transformation

Joseph Chinyong Liow

Publication Year: 2010

This is a remarkable piece of scholarship that illuminates general and specific tendencies in Islamic education in South Thailand. Armed with an enormous amount of rich empirical detail and an elegant writing style, the author debunks the simplistic Orientalist conceptions of Wahhabi and Salafi influences on Islamic education in South Thailand. This work will be a state-of-the-art source for understanding the role of Islam and the ongoing conflict in this troubled region of Southeast Asia. The book is significant for those scholars who are attempting to understand Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, and also for those who want deep insights into Islamic education and its influence in any area of the Islamic world.- - Raymond Scupin, Professor of Anthropology and International Studies Lindenwood University, USA

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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List of Tables

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pp. xi

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pp. xiii-xvi

In the 1960s and 1970s, Islamic education in Southeast Asia was not a topic of great scholarly or policy urgency. Although a few anthropologists recognized that Islamic boarding schools in Java, Malaysia, and southern Thailand played an important role in religious learning and the sustenance of local...

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pp. xvii-xix

Islamic education in southern Thailand has not been the subject of much scholarly attention and analysis as few have gone to print on it — whether in the English, Malay, or Thai languages. Currently, Hasan Madmarn’s work on Islamic schools in Pattani, The Pondok and Madrasah in Pattani, stands out as...

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pp. xxi-xxiii

Research for this book first began as part of a larger project on Islamic education in Southeast Asia. Concomitantly, a word of thanks is due to my fellow project members Bob Hefner, Rick Kraince, Tom McKenna, and Bjorn Blengsli, who laboured with me to better understand the...

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pp. 1-11

This excerpt echoes both the centrality of religious education in Muslim life as well as a common tendency among Western scholars towards orientalist narrations that perpetuate a stereotypical view of Islamic education as a stoic and static pursuit. Such a view on Islamic education has been...

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1. Islam and Malay-Muslim Identity in Thailand

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pp. 12-47

Depending on the source, the percentage of Muslims in Thailand has been placed at around 4–8 per cent of a total population of approximately 65 million people. Islam is currently the largest minority religion in Thailand where (despite intermittent pressures by the Buddhist Sangha), Buddhism...

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2. The Structure of Islamic Education in Southern Thailand

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pp. 48-75

According to the National Education Act (2542/1999) the government of Thailand is responsible for the provision of nine years of compulsory education and twelve years of free education — six years at elementary (Arabic: ibtidai, Thai: prathom 1–6), three years at middle...

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3. The Challenge of Islamic Reformism

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pp. 76-99

The impetus to preserve and sustain religious and communal identities against the backdrop of a wider Buddhist culture has traditionally led Muslims in southern Thailand to look to independent religious education as an alternative to Buddhist and secular national education. Consequently, much...

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4. Pedagogies, Curricula, and Texts

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pp. 100-138

Islamic education in southern Thailand has traditionally been based on the Kitab Kuning or Kitab Jawi (classical Malay religious literature written in Jawi script by Patani scholars), and “the ideas passed in these texts and explanation pursued orally by scholars have tremendous impact on their followers: for...

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5. Networks and Crosscurrents

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pp. 139-172

The previous chapters have demonstrated how Islamic education has become the frontline in the battle for influence and adherence between traditionalist and reformist Muslim scholars and community leaders in southern Thailand. By way of the Kaum Tua–Kaum Muda intellectual and theological...

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Conclusion: Islamic Education in Southern Thailand: At a Crossroads

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pp. 173-184

The quest for knowledge has always been viewed as an important responsibility and obligation for Muslims. This follows from injunctions in the Qur’an and hadith that among other things impress upon Muslims the need to “seek knowledge even as far as China” and “to seek knowledge from cradle...


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pp. 185-189


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pp. 191-195


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pp. 197-204


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pp. 205-218

About the Author

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pp. 219

E-ISBN-13: 9789812309655
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812309549

Page Count: 219
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1