Islamization and Christian solidarity in Malaysia: 1979-2017

Manicadevaraj, Dennis Raj (2018) Islamization and Christian solidarity in Malaysia: 1979-2017. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology.

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This study points at ecumenical solidarity, prayer solidarity and a shared political consciousness as the three key solidarity elements of Christians in Malaysia; emerging as discernible responses to the Islamization efforts of the government. It highlights the early role of British colonialists who managed their relationship with the Malay rulers by granting special privileges on matters related to Islam and Malay customs which then then legitimized the need for Islam to become entrenched as a state religion in the nation’s constitution.

It examines how Islamization became a tool to consolidate Malay-Muslim hegemony, which in turn affected the relationship dynamics between the Malay community who are entirely Muslims and Chinese and Indian communities who are predominantly non-Muslims. Eventually, the prolonged Islamization led to polarization of society, marginalization of non Muslims and the consolidation of the political hegemony of UMNO, the dominant partner in the ruling coalition that held had been in power since the time of independence.

It investigates how the Christian community responded to the pressures caused by Islamization, especially by forming new ecumenical alliances, coming together in prayer and by finding ways for the churches to become actively involved in the political processes of the nation. Prior to the onset of the effects of Islamization, all the three solidarity measures could not be considered being significant, discernible elements.

The work showcases the Allah controversy in Malaysia as one of the outcomes of government sanctioned Islamization by highlighting how government administrative mechanisms were used to curtail the use of the word Allah by Christians and takes note of the three specific solidarity responses of Christians in Malaysia highlighted in the study.

The research then triangulates the findings by pointing to the noticeable absence of similar solidarity mechanisms among Christians in Singapore; arguably due to the absence of an overwhelming religious agenda by the government.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 26782
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 14:18
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 13:05

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