Châu Đốc Muslims (Vietnam) faced with Salafism

Agnès De Féo

img-1In the Mekong Delta, around the city of Châu Doc, in the An Giang province in Việt Nam, the Muslim community resists a Salaf inspired Islamic purification. Reformers from Islamic universities in the Middle East have been trying for 30 years to abolish Islamic cultural heritage that is not in accordance with the written sources of the religion. Conflicts have emerged at the heart of villages and families, thus deeply dividing the community. Today, however, rituals such as the anniversary of the Prophet and the cult of the saints, condemned by Salaf Islam, are thriving. Vietnamese religious policy has helped limit the influence of Salafism. This article looks back on an aborted attempt to reform Vietnamese Muslims.

View the full paper here:

Buddhism in Čampā

Anne-Valérie Schweyer

img-6-small480Čampā is a Far East country, whose Māhāyana Buddhism is known from 7th to 14th century. In fact, Sanskrit and Cam Inscriptions mostly attested Tantric practices, belonging to the Vajrāyana Buddhism, mixing Śaiva and Buddhist believes. More precisely, side by side Śiva and the three Buddha’ emanations, Śākyamuni, Amitābha and Vairocana, are honoured in Čampā, alone with the Goddess Prajñāpāramitā, the true substance of the Doctrine, and, secondary, with Vajrapāni, Lokeśvara and Vajrasattva. The confrontation of the epigraphic testimonies with the archaeological remains is very useful to understand the Buddhism of Čampā, crossroads of trade roads between India and China. Therefore, epigraphic and artistic evidences are used to propose a chronological presentation, with a special development on the revival of the 10th century, and especially, the esoteric way.

View the full paper here:

Cham Maritime Technology: Basket-Hulled Boats

David G. Sox, aka Che Sah Binu
Independent Champa Scholar


Basket-hulled boats appear to be unique to Central Vietnam, and their present-day geographic distribution is congruent with the historic culture area of the primarily Austronesianspeaking Champa from modern Quang Binh to Binh Thuan. It is believed that no modern Cham population in mainland Southeast Asia still regularly uses boats for transportation or fishing, but the Vietnamese of Central Vietnam traditionally used a large variety of hand-made row- sail- boats with sewn planked upper hulls and flexible hull bottoms. The flexible hull bottoms consisted of woven strips of bamboo that have been caulked with various substances including buffalo dung, tree resin, flaked malaleuca leucadendron cork, coconut husk fibers, and/or ground bamboo. The wovenbamboo basket-hulled boats ranged from small circular coracles (thúng) to ocean-going sailing boats with a capacity of 100 tons or more of cargo. This unique boat technology appears to be an indigenous independent development peculiar to the Austronesian-speaking Cham people that could date back several millennia. However, all evidence of attributing the origin of the boat technology to the Cham is circumstantial. There is much research that could be done to illuminate the Cham connection to traditional boat technology in Vietnam. The following research questions are suggested: (1) conduct additional maritime archaeology to find early historic or prehistoric examples of basket-hulled boats; (2) search the large body of Cham-language manuscripts for descriptions of boat and fishing techniques; (3) complete the planned inventory/ethnology of boats in Vietnam that was proposed by the British Museum; (4) determine why this geographically unique distribution of boat architecture did not spread outside Central Vietnam; and (5) determine if the Cham population of sailors and fishermen historic were the same as the Cham population that were primarily farmers.

Please click here to view the full paper: Basket Hulled Boats of Ancient Champa

The metric documentation of Cham towers in Vietnam by Spherical Photogrammetry

G. Fangi, E. S. Malinverni, A. N. Tassetti

Università Politecnica Marche, Ancona, Italy g.fangi;e.s.malinverni;

downloadThe Università Politecnica delle Marche is charged of the study, survey and documentation of the Chan towers in Vietnam. The towers are spread near the coastline from latitude 16° 30’, to latitude of 10° 56’. The Champa civilization flourished from 8th century till 17th century produced the Cham towers, places of religious worship. The ancient Cham people created a developed culture expressed in the architecture in the towers, which were Buddhist temples. Roughly there are six different architectonic styles and two different layouts in plan. One lay-out is that one main tower is surrounded by smaller service buildings, like walls, doors, gates; the other layout is a set of three aligned towers. We carried out the documentation with three different techniques, laser scanning, dense point clouds generation with SfM (Structure from Motion) algorithm, and mainly by Panoramic Spherical Photogrammetry (PSP). Laser scanning is indeed the best instrument but sometimes its availability is very limited for different practical and logistic reasons. The point cloud generation produced good results, but it has some problems and limitations of management too. On the other hand PSP is very quick technique in the taking phase, but the restitution is rather slow. PSP is suitable for a good metric documentation, making the Cham tower project the main project of documentation executed with spherical photogrammetry

KEY WORDS: Spherical photogrammetry, surveying, architecture, archaeology, documentation

Click here to view the full paper:

What is it like to be Muslim in Thailand? A case study of Thailand through Muslim professionals’ perspectives

Songsiri Putthongchai


2004_08_thailand-3This dissertation expands the body of research available on the Muslim minority in Thailand, particularly in regard to conflicts in the Lower South. Working within the framework of moderate multiculturalism and secularism, the dissertation seeks to understand how Muslim professionals see the relationship between Islamic representative bodies and the Thai state, the roles of Islamic institutions and their religious conduct in relation to wider Thai society. The fieldwork conducted in 2008 and 2009 shows similarities and differences between Muslim professionals inside and outside of the Lower South in relation to these issues. In general, Muslim professionals support national integration and multiculturalism. In the Lower South in particular, they support national integration on the condition that it supports Muslim identity. Most interviewees believe that Islamic representative bodies play integrative roles. However, this is not seen as beneficial to the Muslim community and improvements are widely desired. Where the government and the representative bodies have not been able to resolve the unrest in the Lower South, local civil society organizations have taken an active peace-making role, with the aim of promoting Muslim identity under the Thai Constitution. This dissertation also examines attitudes to mosques and Islamic education through interviewees’ perspectives. The research shows that Muslim professionals expect mosques to perform a community-based role. More specifically, interviewees in the Lower South suggested cooperation between local administrative organizations and mosque committees, whereas those based elsewhere in Thailand recommended that mosques should provide social services inclusive to non-Muslim society. Continue reading

The Cham Muslims of Cambodia: Defining Islam Today and the Validity of the Discourse of Syncretism

Allen Stoddard

Masjid Al Jamee Al Islamee 4On a recent visit to Cambodia, I had an insightful interaction with the current mufti of Cambodia, Sos Kamry. As I explained to him my research interests, we spoke for some time about the history of the Cham Muslims and Islam in Cambodia. He spoke briefly about the history and culture of the Cham people, focusing primarily on the great struggle their community has undergone during the last three decades, trying to recover from the great suffering endured during the time of the Khmer Rouge.  Continue reading

The Mon – Khmer Substrate in Chamic: Chamic, Bahnaric and Katuic contact

Paul Sidwell

Centre for Research in Computational Linguistics (Bangkok) & Australian National University <>

Austroasiatic-en.svgThe publication of Thurgood’s (1999, henceforth “Thurgood”) comparative-historical study of the Chamic languages puts the field of historical Chamic studies on a very solid foundation, yet also raises many new and important questions in relation to the history of language contact in Mainland Southeast Asia. Recent advances in the phonological and lexical reconstruction of Bahnaric and Katuic (Sidwell 2002, Sidwell & Jacq 2003, Sidwell 2005)1 have clarified the internal genetic classifications of these groups, allowing inferences to be made about their historical locations and contacts with Proto-Chamic (henceforth “PC”). Comparison with the PC lexicon strongly suggests an ancient Sprachbund involving especially strong PC influence upon North and Central Bahnaric, but rather less direct contact with Katuic. The source of a substantial proportion of the apparently MK stratum in PC remains a mystery, and may well have been an extinct language (or languages) spoken in areas now home to Katuic or Bahnaric speakers. Continue reading

The Symbolic Role of Literacy as a Standard to Distinguish the Raglai from the Cham 

Toshihiko SHINE
Assistant Professor, Kyoto University

060203_shine1. Introduction: Writing culture and ethnic categorization (highland and
Coupling of friendly ethnic groups in Vietnam
Vietnam has two types of ethnic groups―highlanders and lowlanders―who have a
tight relationship with each other; the “Kinh and Mường” of the Việt―Mường ethnic group and the “Cham and Raglai” of the Malayo―Polynesian ethnic group. Generally speaking, the Kinh and Cham are paddy peasants who occupy the coastal and delta areas and the Mường and Raglai are slash―and―burn peasants1) who reside in the mountainous areas. The Kinh and Cham are proud of their high―level traditional culture and modernity. However, they believe that the Mường and Raglai who dwell in the mountains retain most of their beautiful and pure traditions. According to the Kinh and Cham, the Mong, Dao, Giarai, and Bana are simply Montagnards. Nevertheless, the Kinh believe that the Mường are not simply barbarians by nature.2) In many cases, the Kinh have been noted to show respect for the traditional culture of the Mường. In addition, the Cham respect the Raglai3) the same way as the Kinh respect the Mường. This respect is perhaps something of which many people might be aware. The Kinh and Mường, and also the Cham and Raglai, believe that they have the same origin. However, few people have made attempts to determine why the Kinh and Muong, and also the Cham and Raglai, believe this to be true.

See the full paper here

Đất, nước, lửa trong văn hóa người Chăm

Thập Liên Trưởng(*)

 Tộc người Chăm từ đâu đến, hẳn có nhiều người hỏi vậy. Vốn dĩ là cư dân thuộc chủng tộc Nam đảo (Austronésien), người Chăm thiên di về sinh tụ nơi dải đất miền Trung Việt Nam từ thời kỳ Đồ Đá mới[1], cách chúng ta khoảng gần 3000 năm nay, người Chăm đã khôn khéo chọn Sa Huỳnh làm nơi dừng chân, sinh tụ và phát triển. Người Chăm Ninh – Bình Thuận hôm nay, ít người còn nhớ đến Đất tổ Sa Huỳnh, địa chỉ quen thuộc của giới khảo cổ, bờ biển gắn liền với mộ chum và gốm Sa Huỳnh nổi tiếng.

Người Chăm cổ dựng nước trên dải ĐẤT miền Trung, bốn vùng ĐẤT với nhiều huyền thoại: Amaramati, Vijaya, Kauthara và Panduranga. Trên những vùng đất ấy, tuy người xưa không còn nữa, tiếng hát “Thei mai mâng déh thei o…!” không còn vang vọng trên những sườn núi dọc miền đất từ Đèo Ngang cho đến miệt biển Kauthara. Không còn bóng dáng chiếc áo vá quàng thấp thoáng sau rặng tre xanh bên sông Thu Bồn Quảng Nam hay sông Cái Nha Trang… Tất cả đã đi vào dĩ vãng, đã trở thành người thiên cổ, chỉ còn lại hơn 10 vạn sinh linh trên cánh đồng khô khan của dải đất cuối miền Trung và những ngôi tháp cổ kính uy nghi không bóng người hương khói. Tất cả đã đi về với ĐẤT. Continue reading