Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society

Islam in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a term to denote a collection of at present eleven nation-states with an enormous diversity in languages, cultures and religions. Muslims can both take a majority and a minority position.

These eleven states lack a common history, have different colonial experiences and haveonly recently attempted to integrate politically through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (est. 1967). Within the different Southeast Asian nation states Islam can be the religion of the majority of the people, like in Indonesia, while it can also be the religion of a minority of the total population, like in Myanmar.

Research – both historical and contemporary – in this huge area focusses on three subthemes:

  1. the position of Islam within the wider global Muslim world (in particular the relationship with the Middle East);
  2. the interplay between Islam and local cultures
  3. national policies towards Islam.

Each of these three subthemes contributes to a better understanding of the often intriguingly complex manifestations of Islam in Southeast Asia. Within this huge research area the geographical emphasis is on the Netherlands East Indies/Indonesia, currently with almost 230 million Muslims the country with the largest number of Muslims in the world.

In 2018, this programme consisted of the following event:

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