Academia, anthropology, Australia, CyberOrient, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Gender, Immigration, India, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, Israel, Israel/Palestine, jihad, Lebanon, Malaysia, marranci, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, sociology, South Asia, Southeast Asia, University

Announcing the Study Contemporary Muslim Lives Research Hub at Macquarie University

As director, I am pleased to inform you that today the website for the Study Contemporary Muslim Lives Research Hub at Macquarie University was officially launched.
Study Contemporary Muslim Lives (SCML) is a research hub based within the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University. It undertakes research on social, cultural and political aspects of contemporary Muslim communities and societies and is committed to the advancement of social scientific understandings of Muslim lives in different social and geographical contexts through excellent empirical research, scholarly publications, and active postgraduate programs.
SCML also has, among other activities, a Visiting Scholar Program. SCML welcomes applications from academics who want to carry out research as visiting scholars at Macquarie University. Visitors participate in and enrich the research-intensive and vibrant communal life of the Research Hub, which is part of the Department of Anthropology. Continue reading

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anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Islam, Journalism, Malaysia, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, Singapore, sociology, Southeast Asia

Strict, less strict, restrict: the diatribe on Muslim integration in Singapore

In the last few days the debates about religion, and in particular Islam, has unusually increased in Singapore thanks to the words of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, whom has urged Muslims to ‘be less strict’ in his new book “Hard Truths”. This has provoked strong reactions within not only the Malay Muslim communities but also among all Singaporeans. I have no space here to go into detail about the complex social alchemy of Singapore’s multiculturalism. Yet allow me to highlight some of the main aspects needed for my observations below. One of the main factors to remember is that Singapore multiculturalism  is affected by a rigid administrative classification of the population according to the categories of race (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others or CMIO) and religion (mainly Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism).  Continue reading

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anthropology, Censorship, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Islam, Journalism, Malaysia, Muslims, Politics, Prison, Religion, Research, Singapore, sociology, Southeast Asia

The dangerous crypto-intolerance of tolerant Malaysia: the case of Shi’a Islam

You cannot ban a religion or a ‘religious sect’. You can only persecute people because of their beliefs and practices. Often many forget this simple truth. If banning a religious movement may appear to be a simple administrative act, the real consequence is the oppression of families, devotees and often innocent individuals whose only crime is to have a different vision of the world and spirituality. Often these minorities suffer ostracism, prison or even torture in the name of the ‘security’ and ‘unity’ of the majority. Yet it is these acts of discrimination or, in some countries, overt violence, which often bring a country towards conflict and may even open the door to fanaticism. Continue reading

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anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Immigration, Islam, Malaysia, Muslim family, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Religion, Research, Singapore, sociology, Southeast Asia, Terrorism

Rohingyas: not solely a political problem

Burma (i.e. Myanmar) has had its first “democratic” elections in twenty years, although few, other than the ruling military junta, would have considered them free and fair. Yet some political moves, aimed to reduce the economic and political isolation of the military junta, have marked the past few months, such as the release of the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from from her long detention.However, about 2,200 remain prisoners of conscience in the oppressed country.

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anthropology, Catholic Church, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Malaysia, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Singapore, Southeast Asia

The “Allah” case in Malaysia

 

Paint bomb against the Virgin Mary in Kota Tinggi

 

Recently Malaysia has been at the centre of another controversy. After the fatwa against Yoga (in which it was suggested that Muslims were better to abstain from it), the sentence against Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno (who was condemned to strokes of an “Islamic” cane), and the severed cow heads left on an area awaiting the construction of a Hindu temple, today churches, and other non-Muslim places of worship, have been torched over the issue of whether non-Malay Muslims, and in particular Christians, can use the word ‘Allah’. The Malay government, controlled by UMNO, clearly supports the opinion that “Allah” is, at least linguistically, a Malay Muslim theo-semiotic possession, despite the word being Arabic. Yet to understand the present situation we need to look at how Muslim Malaysians make sense of their social political identity within the country. Continue reading

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