Islam in Southeast Asia Political, Social, and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century by K. S. Nathan and Mohammad Hashim Kamali, eds. (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2005. 362 pages.)

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Timothy P. Daniels



This book is a revised version of the proceedings of a conference of the same
title held in Singapore during 2002. The papers comprising this highly relevant
and timely text cover topics from the history of Islam in Southeast Asia
to Islamic doctrine, politics, civil society, gender, modernization, globalization,
and the impact of 9/11. However, Islam and politics are the central
themes, with special attention given to the challenges of the recent context
for Southeast Asia’s Muslim-majority societies. As such, it is of interest to
scholars of diverse fields, including history, political science, international
relations, religious studies, sociology, and anthropology.
The introduction, “Understanding Political Islam Post-September 11,”
criticizes the inequality and militarism of western-dominated globalization
and the violent responses of political Islam or radical Islamism. Clear definitions
of these pivotal terms used throughout the collection would sharpen the
argument about the particular kind of political uses of Islam that the authors
view as a threat. The editors provide an adequate and enticing overview of
this interesting collection of papers. However, it would be helpful to
acknowledge that they focus on Malaysia and Indonesia, with the exception
of one paper on the Philippines. Addressing the situation of Muslim minorities in the mainland Southeast Asian countries of Burma/Myanmar,
Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, where they live under the hegemony of
Buddhist or communist majorities, would add an important comparative
dimension ...

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