Cambodia’s Muslims and the Malay World

Malay Language, Jawi Script, and Islamic Factionalism from the 19th Century to the Present


In this monograph Philipp Bruckmayr examines the development of Cambodia’s Muslim minority from the mid-19th to the 21st century. During this period Cambodia’s Cham and Chvea Muslims established strong relationships with Malay centers of Islamic learning in Patani, Kelantan and Mecca. During the 1970s to the early 1990s these longstanding relationships came to a sudden halt due to civil war and the systematic Khmer Rouge repression. Since the 1990s ties to the Malay world have been revived and new Islamic currents, including Salafism and Tablighism, have left their mark on contemporary Cambodian Islam. Bruckmayr traces how these dynamics resulted inter alia in a history of local Islamic factionalism, culminating in the eventual state recognition of two separate Islamic congregations in the late 1990s.

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Philipp Bruckmayr Ph.D. (2014) teaches Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Vienna. His research concentrates on transnational Islam and Muslim minorities in Southeast Asia and the Americas.
This highly interesting book deals with the integration of Cambodia’s Muslim minority community(...) into the wider Southeast Asian Muslim scholarly culture through what the author calls Jawization.

The core of the book are chapters five and six which together take about half of the entire book (pp. 90–256). These pages belong to the best pieces I have ever read on the Muslim networks, texts, and persons circulating in mainland Southeast Asia and their connections with Mecca around the year 1900, and the only criticism I have is that at times the book is too detailed.

All in all, this is an excellent contribution to the study of Islam in Cambodia, which convincingly shows how this history is linked to the more cosmopolitan scholarly Muslim communities in Kelantan and Patani in mainland Southeast Asia, and to the intellectual centers of the Muslim world in Mecca and Cairo in the Middle East.

Nico J.G. Kaptein, Leiden University, The Netherlands, BKI,176: 2-3 (2020)

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Note on Spelling and Transliteration
Introduction: Religious Change and Intra-Muslim Factionalism
1 Foregrounding the Jawization of Islam in Cambodia
 1 Approaches Informing the Concept of Jawization
 2 The Concept of Jawization and Similar Processes in the Muslim World
2 On the Eve of Jawization and Colonial Rule
 1 Diversity and Uniformity in Panduranga
 2 Malay Scholarly Centers and the Patani Network
 3 Changing Relationships between Ruler and Religion on the Malay Peninsula
 4 The Diversification of Malay Influence in 18th Century Cambodia
 5 Conclusion
3 Chams and Malays in Late Pre-Colonial and Early Colonial Cambodia
 1 Political and Legal Issues until the Coronation of Ang Duong (1848)
 2 Intra-religious Divisions, Rebellion and Resettlement under Ang Duong
 3 The Dawn of a New Era: Norodom, the Cham-Malays and the Protectorate
 4 Conclusion
4 Observing Structural and Processual Dispositions for Jawization
 1 Cham-Malay/Chvea Relations, Settlement and Economic Patterns
 2 Cham and Chvea Origins and Traditions
 3 Colonial Assumptions about Islam: Cambodia’s “Good” Muslims
 4 Curricular Jawization, Script and Language Change, and the Hajj
 5 Conclusion
5 Jawization in Cambodia’s Diverse Muslim Landscape of the 1930s
 1 Mapping Jawization in the Mekong Delta
 2 Jawization and Divergence in the Cham Heartland of Kampong Cham and Kratie
 3 More Divergence: Ethnic and Religious Complexities in the Chvea South
 4 Factionalism Observed: “ Trimeu”, “ Kobuol” and “Hyper-Traditionalists”
 5 Conclusion
6 Agents, Nodes and Vehicles of Jawization
 1 Scholarly Networks of Jawization and Their Nodes
 2 Testimonies of Jawization: Fatwas for Cambodian Muslims
 3 The Canon of Jawization
 4 Conclusion
7 The French Role in Jawization and Factionalism in Cambodian Islam
 1 The French Privileging of the jawi Element in Islamic Education
 2 The French as Referees in Intra-Muslim Disputes
 3 Conclusion
8 The Legacies of Jawization and Anti-Jawization
 1 Expansion, Stagnation and Near Obliteration after Independence
 2 Contending Paths and the Emergence of a New Factionalism
 3 The Institutionalization of Anti-Jawization: the Kan Imam San

All interested in Islam in Southeast Asia and Cambodian history, and anyone generally concerned with Muslim minorities and scholarly networks.