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Muslims in Southeast Asia

Review: This new collection of essays details the ever-changing relationships between Muslims in Southeast Asia, their nations and the Middle East

Elizabeth Collins

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Outbreaks of Islamic violence in Southeast Asia, including attacks on churches in Malaysia and the persecution of the Ahmadiyah in Indonesia, have seen analysts turn their attention to national policies and local history as agents generating or allowing violent conflict to erupt. This is a welcome shift from the situation only a few years ago, when mass media generally attributed Islamic violence in Southeast Asia to links with radical Islamic organisations in the Middle East.

This book, Southeast Asia and the Middle East: Islam, Movement and the Longue Durée, comes out of a workshop held in 2004 at the Asia Research Institute in Singapore, when analysis of such connections was highly sought after. The result is a book which will appeal to those interested in the long history of the spread of Islam to Southeast Asia and the influence of Islamic scholars and reform movements in the Middle East on Islam in Southeast Asia. The historical essays are arranged in chronological order in three sections entitled ‘The Early Dimensions of Contact’, ‘The Colonial Age’ and ‘The First Half of the 20th Century.’ Five are devoted to the influential and exceptionally interesting Southeast Asian Hadrami community, which originates from Hadramaut region of Yemen. The others explore the community of Southeast Asian Muslims that settled

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