Piety and Politics: Islamism in Contemporary Malaysia by Joseph Chinyong Liow

By Joseph Chinyong Liow

Malaysia, domestic to a couple twenty million Muslims, is frequently held up as a version of a pro-Western Islamic country. the govt. of Malaysia, looking for Western funding, does its most sensible to perpetuate this view. yet this is not the complete tale. during the last a number of a long time, Joseph Liow indicates, Malaysian politics has taken a powerful flip towards Islamism. This e-book bargains a finished research of the starting to be function of Islam within the final area century of Malaysian politics. traditional knowledge recommend that the ruling UMNO get together has moved towards Islamism to fend off demanding situations from the extra seriously Islamist competition celebration, PAS. Liow argues, besides the fact that, that UMNO has usually taken the lead in relocating towards Islamism, and that during truth PAS has frequently been pressured to react. the outcome, Liow argues, is a video game of ''piety-trumping'' that might be very tough to opposite, and that has dire outcomes not just for the ethnic and non secular minorities of Malaysia, yet for his or her democratic process as a complete.

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The book concludes with reflections on the idea of pietization and politics after the transition from the Mahathir administration to the Abdullah administration in the government, as well as from the reformist leadership of Fadzil Noor in PAS to the fundamentalist leadership of Abdul Hadi Awang. The intensification of contested authenticities between UMNO and PAS that these changes heralded is also discussed. ” By listening to the voices of those outside the elites who have responded to the effects of UMNO’s and PAS’s mutually reinforcing Islamist politics, the conclusion further assesses the contributions of society (in contradistinction to the state and the political apparatus, as represented by these dominant political parties) either as an alternative vehicle for or as a buffer against Islamization.

To be sure, there is a tide of conservatism and distinctly exclusivist Islamism emanating from both UMNO and PAS, as noted earlier, even as segments in both parties also strive to demonstrate moderation. But the UMNO-PAS Islamization race is as much shaped by the dynamics of Islamism as it is a driver of it. Hence, in order to fully appreciate the kaleidoscope of Islamist politics, one must consider not merely the UMNO-PAS contest but also other actors, institutions, and movements through which broader trends of Islamism have come to be expressed, as well as historical trajectories and variations in Islamism in postcolonial Malaysia; the contributions of civil society, NGOs, and non-Muslim communities to Islamic discourses and narratives; and the relationship of Islamism with the practice of democracy and pluralism in the context of Muslim-dominated politics in Malaysia.

As alluded to earlier, the membership of PAS at its formation included a motley crew of Islamo-nationalists from the defunct Hizbul Muslimin, socialists from the disbanded MNP, and disenchanted members of UMNO alongside religious scholars and peasants. The ideological incoherence that this conglomeration served up among the rank and file was further aggravated by a slack policy on membership that allowed members not only to possess dual membership with other political organizations but also to assume concurrent leadership roles in a number of them.

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