Islam and the State in Myanmar

In a new review at JCA, Iza R. Hussin of the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge looks at the collection Islam and the State in Myanmar: Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1292361), edited by Melissa Crouch and published by Oxford University Press.

The reviewer notes that the collection seeks to raise questions about the “politics of belonging” and Muslim interactions with the state in a Buddhist society. It provides multi-disciplinary perspectives on these issues from a range of scholars. The collection is described as useful for rich empirical material that will be of interest for Southeast Asian studies, students of religion, politics and society, and comparative politics scholars.

The book is organised in several parts. Part I begins by tracing the separation of the identity of “Muslim” from that of “Burmese.” Part II presents new material on “the everyday politics of belonging” and Part III addresses humanitarian, security and safety issues.

Many of the chapters indicate that understanding Islam in Myanmar requires a rethinking of Buddhist politics and nationalism. Others point out the new ways in which long-standing symbols, language and institutions are deployed in the wake of social change.

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