The Politics of Islamic Education in Southeast Asia


When students from a Muslim boarding school were convicted for the 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali, Islamic schools in Southeast Asia became the focus of intense international scrutiny. Some analysts have warned that these schools are being turned into platforms for violent jihadism. Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islamic Education in Southeast Asia, edited by Robert W. Hefner, is the first book to look comparatively at Islamic education and politics in Southeast Asia. Based on a two-year research project by leading scholars of Southeast Asian Islam, the book examines Islamic schooling in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and the southern Philippines. The studies demonstrate that the great majority of schools have nothing to do with violence but are undergoing changes that have far-reaching implications for democracy, gender relations, pluralism, and citizenship.

“This is a timely, well-conceived, and extremely well-crafted volume that addresses topics of the utmost importance in today’s increasingly globalized—and dangerously fraught—world. It will appeal to a wide range of scholars with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and to general readers with vastly different levels of knowledge about the peoples and cultures of modern Asia and the culture and politics of contemporary Islam.” —Michael G. Peletz, Emory University

October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3316-9 / $24.00 (PAPER)