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Foreword E vents in recent years have drawn considerable attention to the growing importance of transnationalMuslimnetworks in the political and conflict dynamics of South and Southeast Asia. While much analysis has focused on militant groups such as Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, other radical Islamist groups (e.g., Hizb ut-Tahrir), broad-based ideologies (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood movement and Jamaat-i-Islami), and even predominantly quietist networks (e.g., Jama’at al-Tabligh and various Sufi brotherhoods) also exert significant social and political influence. This report represents the culmination of a year-long initiative launched by NBR to explore the landscape of transnational Islam in South and Southeast Asia and assess its implications for these regions’ sociopolitical futures. NBR assembled an international team of experts to assess transnational Islam as it manifests in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The team shared preliminary findings at a workshop co-hosted by NBR and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore in June 2008, inviting audience participation from a cross-section of academic, government, and think-tank communities in Singapore and the region to further inform the project’s research and the papers in this report. Given its considerable policy relevance, exploring emerging trends and developments in Muslim Asia will remain a priority research area for NBR’s Political and Security Affairs Group. NBR studies have found that there are many and varied roles of Islam in Asia that go far beyond the actions of the radical fringes that have drawn much attention in recent years. In addition to its work on Islamist terrorism, the organization has also sought to engage less visible yet no less critical issues, related to other global economic, political, and cultural trends influencing Muslim societies in Asia today, to broaden the debate and better inform policy leaders. We look forward to continued interaction with the policy community on this subject as well as to a wide distribution of this report’s research findings. I would like to recognize and express appreciation to the members of the research team whose work appears in these pages. It has been a true pleasure to work with each of them, and the project has benefited immensely from their expertise and professionalism. In particular, I would like to thank Peter Mandaville for his vision and leadership, which guided the project from its inception. Additionally, I would like to acknowledge the NBR project team, fellows, and editors, whose efforts contributed to the success of this initiative. A. Mahin Karim Senior Project Director The National Bureau of Asian Research ...


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