By Robert W. Hefner
Making smooth Muslims is the 1st e-book to appear relatively at Islamic schooling and politics in Southeast Asia. according to a two-year examine undertaking via major students of Southeast Asian Islam, the ebook examines Islamic education in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and the southern Philippines.
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Extra resources for Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islamic Education in Southeast Asia
In the East Indies (today’s Indonesia), the Dutch were completing their conquest of the archipelago, often, as in Aceh, through long and bitter military campaigns. In some of these territories, the foreigners’ cooptation of native rulers caused a legitimation crisis of such proportions that the popular classes began to look to the newly ascendant ulama rather than to indigenous rulers as champions of native welfare. 65 In Cambodia and the Philippines, the situation of the Muslim minority was quiet by comparison with some parts of Southeast Asia, but these regions, too, were about to be shaken by twentieth-century programs of colonialism and nation building.
The first madrasas were established in the 1910s and 1920s in strongholds of New Group reform like Singapore, West Sumatra, and south-central Java. However, by the beginning of the Second World War, madrasas had spread to southern Thailand, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and even (albeit at first unsuccessfully) Cambodia. Although New Group reformers used the familiar Arabic term, the madrasa in modern Southeast Asia differed from the institution of the same name in the Middle East. Although in the Arab-speaking Middle East today the term “madrasa” can be applied to any type of school (including secular ones), in earlier Muslim history it referred to an institution of higher Islamic learning as opposed to schools providing elementary religious instruction, like the kuttab used for Qur’anic recitation.
Even in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia, the postcolonial state attempted an end run around Islamic schools, building a state school system in which the terms of the new national culture could be imparted without compromise. In Thailand and the Philippines, Muslims faced, not just an indifferent state, but one intent on using public education to replant the Muslim public’s solidarities elsewhere than in the umma. State-based education caused a crisis of Islamic education as great as any experienced in the colonial era.