Hidden Islamic Literature in a Cambodian Village: The Cham in the Khmer Rouge Period

Authors:OKAWA, Reiko

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This paper is the first discussion on the Islamic literature written in Arabic and Jawi (Malay written in Arabic scripts), buried in Svay Khleang Village, former Kampong Cham Province and present-day Tbong Khmum Province, Cambodia by a Cham Muslim so that he could hide it from the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge massacred the Cham Muslims, who accounted for a small percentage of the population in Cambodia, more severely than the majority Khmer Cambodians during the Pol Pot regime from 1975 to 1979. This became evident through studying the documents of the Cham, who studied Islam under the influence of Malay Muslims before the Khmer Rouge period. This literature consists of approximately ten books, most of them being kitab kuning, which have been widely used by Muslim students of pondok-pesantren, the typical Islamic boarding school in Southeast Asia, or the Malay World such as in Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern Thailand. This fact means that, before the Pol Pot regime, there were Chams who were part of a network with the Malay World and developed their understanding of Islam. At that time, this was the only available measure for them to study Islam, whereas in the present time they access directly the Middle East to acquire knowledge on Islam.

Link: http://repository.meijigakuin.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/10723/1919/1/kokusai_45_1-20.pdf

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