Bookshelf Spotlight: Islam, Muslims, & Southeast Asia

Featured University Of Hawai’i Press Publishing

* Understanding Islam in Indonesia: Politics and Diversity

Understanding Islam in Indonesia: Politics and Diversity


by Robert Pringle
University Of Hawai’i Press, 2010

There are more Muslims in Indonesia than in any other country, but most people outside the region know little about the nation, much less about the practice of Islam among its diverse peoples or the religion’s influence on the politics of the republic. In this illuminating publication, Robert Pringle explains the advent of Islam in Indonesia, its development, and especially its contemporary circumstances. The author’s incisive writing provides the necessary background and demystifies the spectrum of politically active Muslim groups in Indonesia today.

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Featured Books

* Submitting to God: Women and Islam in Urban Malaysia
* Muslims in Singapore: Piety, politics and policies
* The Price Of Silence: Muslim-Buddhist War Of Bangladesh And Myanmar
* Understanding Islam and Muslims in the Philippines
* Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand

Submitting to God: Women and Islam in Urban Malaysia


by Sylva Frisk
University of Washington Press, 2009

In recent decades, Malaysia has been profoundly changed both by forces of globalization, modernization, and industrialization and by a strong Islamization process. Some would argue that the situation of Malay women has worsened, but such a conclusion is challenged by this study of the everyday religious practice of pious women within Kuala Lumpur’s affluent Malay middle class. Here, women play an active part in the Islamization process, not only by heightened personal religiosity but also by organizing and participating in public programs of religious education.

By organizing new forms of collective ritual and assuming new public roles as religious teachers, these religiously educated women are transforming the traditionally male-dominated gendered space of the mosque and breaking men’s monopoly over positions of religious authority. Exploring this situation, Submitting to God challenges preconceptions of the nature of Islamization as well as current theories of female agency and power.

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Muslims in Singapore: Piety, politics and policies


by Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir, Alexius Pereira, & Bryan S. Turner
Routledge, 2009

This book examines Muslims in Singapore, analysing their habits, practices and dispositions towards everyday life, and also their role within the broader framework of the secularist Singapore state and the cultural dominance of its Chinese elite, who are predominantly Buddhist and Christian. Singapore has a highly unusual approach to issues of religious diversity and multiculturalism, adopting a policy of deliberately ‘managing religions’ – including Islam – in an attempt to achieve orderly and harmonious relations between different racial and religious groups. This has encompassed implicit and explicit policies of containment and ‘enclavement’ of Muslims, and also the more positive policy of ‘upgrading’ Muslims through paternalist strategies of education, training and improvement, including the modernisation of madrassah education in both content and orientation. This book examines how this system has operated in practice, and evaluates its successes and failures. In particular, it explores the attitudes and reactions of Muslims themselves across all spheres of everyday life, including dining and maintaining halal-vigilance; education and dress code; and practices of courtship, sex and marriage. It also considers the impact of wider international developments, including 9/11, fear of terrorism and the associated stigmatization of Muslims; and developments within Southeast Asia such as the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist attacks and the Islamization of Malaysia and Indonesia. This study has more general implications for political strategies and public policies in multicultural societies that are deeply divided along ethno-religious lines.

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The Price Of Silence: Muslim-Buddhist War Of Bangladesh And Myanmar


by Shwe Lu Maung
DewDrop Arts & Technology, 2005

Shwe Lu Maung, the author of the well-known book Burma Nationalism and Ideology (1989), describes a silent religious war of the Muslims and Buddhists in Bangladesh and Myanmar. He asserts that the religious war is a key factor which undermines advancement of democracy in these countries. More importantly, he gives a vivid illustration how the global warming would reinforce poverty and population explosion, leading to a full fledged Muslim-Buddhist war and destabilizing the entire region. He suggests that Rohingya-Rakhaing tension in the Rakhine State of Myanmar would ignite the war. He supports his reasoning with 31 tables, 21 figures, 15 maps, 8 charts, 112 illustrations, and 280 references.

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Understanding Islam and Muslims in the Philippines


by Peter Gowring
Cellar Book Shop, 1989

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Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand


by Duncan McCargo
Cornell University Press, 2008

Since January 2004, a violent separatist insurgency has raged in southern Thailand, resulting in more than three thousand deaths. Though largely unnoticed outside Southeast Asia, the rebellion in Pattani and neighboring provinces and the Thai government’s harsh crackdown have resulted in a full-scale crisis. Tearing Apart the Land by Duncan McCargo, one of the world’s leading scholars of contemporary Thai politics, is the first fieldwork-based book about this conflict. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the region, hundreds of interviews conducted during a year’s research in the troubled area, and unpublished Thai-language sources that range from anonymous leaflets to confessions extracted by Thai security forces, McCargo locates the roots of the conflict in the context of the troubled power relations between Bangkok and the Muslim-majority “deep South.”

McCargo describes how Bangkok tried to establish legitimacy by co-opting local religious and political elites. This successful strategy was upset when Thaksin Shinawatra became prime minister in 2001 and set out to reorganize power in the region. Before Thaksin was overthrown in a 2006 military coup, his repressive policies had exposed the precariousness of the Bangkok government’s influence. A rejuvenated militant movement had emerged, invoking Islamic rhetoric to challenge the authority of local leaders obedient to Bangkok.

For readers interested in contemporary Southeast Asia, insurgency and counterinsurgency, Islam, politics, and questions of political violence, Tearing Apart the Land is a powerful account of the changing nature of Islam on the Malay peninsula, the legitimacy of the central Thai government and the failures of its security policy, the composition of the militant movement, and the conflict’s disastrous impact on daily life in the deep South. Carefully distinguishing the uprising in southern Thailand from other Muslim rebellions, McCargo suggests that the conflict can be ended only if a more participatory mode of governance is adopted in the region.

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