Political Islam and Islamist Politics in Malaysia

About the Publication

This Trends in Southeast Asia series — now revamped and redesigned — acts as a platform for serious analyses written by selected authors who are experts in their fields. It is aimed at inspiring policymakers and encouraging scholars to contemplate the diversity and dynamism of this exciting region.

Najib Razaks tenure as Malaysias sixth Prime Minister has witnessed vigorous drives towards multiple visions of political Islam, separately orchestrated by both overtly political groups and non-state activist clusters. While Islam has always been a pivotal factor in Malaysian politics, interpretations of Islam have not uncommonly arisen among successive generations of Malaysian Muslims in both doctrine and practice. In addition, the rich cultural diversity of Southeast Asia helped sway Malaysian Islam towards accommodating mores from various civilisational traditions, the latest manifestation being Abdullah Ahmad Badawis Islam Hadhari. Since the assumption of power by Najib Razak, however, defining the Islamic framework of the nation has been effectively delegated to the official Islamic bureaucracy, whose horizons are coloured by visions of Islamist uniformity rather than a religiously acceptable Muslim plurality.

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