Articulations of Southeast Asian Religious Modernisms: Islam in Early 20th Century Cambodia & Cochinchina

William B. Noseworthy

[ Abstract ]

This article is about the emergence of Islamic modernism among Cham Muslim communities in Cambodia and Cochinchina during the early 20th century. Based on a combined critical reading of existing scholarship, historicized first-hand anthropological accounts, as well as archival sources from the National Archives of Cambodia and the Vietnam National Archives II, it argues accounts of modernists in these sources were either (1) cast through a French colonial reading of a Buddhist state lens and (2) cast through a Malay lens, based upon the Kaum Muda/Kaum Tua divide. First, it proceeds with a historical explanation of the emergence of Islam and the discourse used to describe Muslim communities in Vietnamese, French, and Cham language sources. Then, it turns the narrative toward an examination of the emergence of the “Kaum Muda” or “New Group” of reformist-minded modernist Muslims in early 20th century Cambodia. Delineating the networks of these intellectuals as they stretched across the border through Cochinchina, also highlights a pre-existing transnational element to the community, one that well predates current discussions of twenty-first-century transnationalism. Through a combination of the study of multiple language sources and historical methods, the article highlights the importance of polylingualism in the study of the history of Muslims in Southeast Asia.

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Cambodian Cham Identities in a Global Age

IconeK7_DSC0077-550x300William B. Noseworthy

The Cambodian Genocide: most scholars have heard of it. It is a critical case in ongoing studies of Genocide Studies, International Law as well as Memory and Social Trauma that many teachers will have to address. From forensic anthropologists to criminal investigators, journalists to historiansand even experts in literature—the case of a series of mass killings that emerged out of Cambodia between 1975 and 1979 under the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime, most frequently referred to as the “Khmer Rouge”(Kh.: Khmer Kraham), will be an important study for college students and scholars for generations to come. The genocidal policies enacted against the Cham Muslim minority during this period are increasingly well known. In this context, the decade of work by Kok-Thay Eng as Director of Research at the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM) is enough to produce several dissertations. In fact, one of the individuals who contributed much of the work to Kok-Thay Eng’s dissertationFrom the Khmer Rouge to Hambali: Cham Identities in a Global Age, Farina So, is now working on her own dissertation based in Lowell, MA. Several other individual researchers, working with DC-CAM critically contributed to this work. The sheer number of interviews conducted by the DC-CAM research center, as well as the number that are cited in this dissertation alone, is impressive. Finally, the lucid presentation of the dissertation’s argument is testament to the author’s success in tackling, by his own admission, his own greatest challenge: writing in a second language. Continue reading



 51QJRr9+YgL 昨年(1999年)11月に、めこん社から『チャンパー歴史・末裔・建築』と題した本が、チャンパやチャム族にはまりこんだ3人の著者の手によって発行された。その一人である写真家の樋口英夫氏が、チャム族を中心とするチャンパの末裔の現在の生活・暮らし・表情を追いかけた記録が、本書である。著者が1992年から1994年にかけ、カンボジア、ベトナム、日本、中国・海南島、マレーシアの地でチャンパの末裔たちと交わった記録が、60ページ以上にわたってのフルページカラー写真とともに綴られている。まず末裔たちがこれほど広い地域に暮していることに驚かされるが、加えてアメリカ、カナダ、フランス、オーストラリアなどにも多くのチャム人が暮しているといわれる。

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The long tragedy of Cham history


Cham people photographed during the period of the French Protectorate . The traditional warfare pattern in South East Asia generally aimed at conquering and dominating sparse populations


The Khmer empire, from the ninth to the 15th century, obviously didn’t develop in isolation. But, looking at the map of Southeast Asia from a historical point of view, it’s nevertheless clear  that this political construction benefited from an unprecedented geopolitical quietness, at least until the 13th century.

The Vietnamese hadn’t even begun their march to the south, and the Thai state was  made up of embryonic chieftainships.

Yet the exception that proved the rule occurred. In the year 1177, guided by a Chinese deserter, the Cham fleet sailed the Mekong river upstream and from Phnom Penh, the Tonle Sap. They took Angkor by urprise, plundering and destroying the town. Continue reading

The Cham Rebellion: Survivors’ Stories from the Villages

41qIEbipT0L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_Ysa Osma

The Khmer Rouge kept constraining religion, bit by bit. First they forbade during work hours, claiming it was a loss of labor. Even when prayer did not impact work hours later in the day, they still would not permit it. They closed the mosque. One day during the Royaveitaros holiday [Raya Idul Fitri], some villagers made the difficult decision to ask for permission to observe morning prayers since this is such an important day in Islam. They were given permission. But that night the Khmer Rouge arrested everyone who had participated in the day?s prayers. That is when our village rose up and rebelled. If we had not rebelled, they would have killed us all [anyway].


[Dissertation] Prosody and intonation of Western Cham

Ueki, Kaori

University of Hawai’I at Manoa

This dissertation investigates the prosodic and intonational characteristics of Western Cham (three letter code for International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 639-3 code: [iso=cja]), an Austronesian language in the Chamic sub-group. I examine acoustic variables of prominence at word and postlexical levels: syllable duration, pitch excursion, and mean intensity. WC syllable duration is highly correlated with word level prominence. Western Cham disyllabic words display a strong iambicity, with final syllables having twice the duration of initial syllables. This iambicity is also present in phrases comprised of two monosyllabic words. Phrase position has an effect on syllable duration and pitch excursion. Syllables in phrase-final position showed a lengthening effect and display greater pitch movement in phrase-final position. I also present a tonal grammar of Western Cham using the Autosegmental-Metrical framework and the Tones and Break Indices (ToBI) labeling convention. Two prosodic units above the word level were defined: the Accentual Phrase (AP) and Intonational Phrase (IP). Three kinds of tones are defined: edge tones, phrase tone, and pitch accent. With this inventory of tones, a mapping of sentence types to tonal contours is presented.


Lost Magic Book of the Cham: The Muslim Minority in Cambodia

Okawa, Reiko

Untitledはじめに 筆者は 2013 年度に明治学院大学より在外研究 の機会を与えられ,カンボジアのマイノリティ(少 数民族)であるチャム人ムスリムの研究に従事し てきた(1)。それまでの研究は主に,古典期から現 代にかけての中東のアラビア語圏のイスラーム思 想や,現在活躍する英語圏のマイノリティ・ムス リム思想家たちに関するものであった。よって今 Continue reading

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

Authors:OKAWA, Reiko


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.


Tấm bia thứ hai viết bằng Akhar Thrah Chăm tìm thấy ở Campuchia

Ts. Pgs. Po Dharma (EFEO)

Cham akhar thrah IN Cambodia

Văn khắc chụp bởi TS. Ea Darih


 Campuchia là quốc gia láng giềng của Champa, đã từng để lại nhiều bia đá viết bằng chữ Khmer cổ đại và trung đại, trong đó có một tấm bia viết bằng  Akhar Thrah Chăm gọi là bia Dambang Dek mà nhà nghiên cứu Pháp, E. Aymonier đã trình bày trong bài viết mang tựa  đề “Recherches et Mélanges sur les Chams et les Khmers” đăng trong tập san Excursions et Reconnaissances IV‑10 (1881), trang 167‑186. Tấm bia này được tìm thấy ở Dambang Dek thuộc tỉnh Kompong Siem, hôm nay là tỉnh Kompong Chàm, nơi tập trung đông đảo nhất người Chăm trong vương quốc Campuchia. Bia Dambang Dek khắc trên tấm đá sa thạch có bề dài 150 cm, bề ngang 50 cm và bề cao 14 cm, gồm có 8 hàng chữ. Nội dung của tấm bia nhằm kể lại lời khuyên răn của một công chúa Chăm dành cho đứa con của mình trước khi từ trần vào ngày 8 thượng tuần trăng. Cho đến hôm nay, người ta cũng không biết công chúa Chăm này là ai và thuộc về niên đại nào?


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