A series of events over the last few years, including attempts to deny non-Muslim rights to use the term "Allah," arson attacks on Christian churches, curbs on conversions of Muslims, and confiscation of bibles, alert us to disconcerting trends that have emerged in Muslim-Christian relations in multicultural Malaysia. The purpose of this presentation is to analyze the underlying drivers behind these events, and to understand how and why the Christian community has mobilized in recent years in the face of perceived constriction of religious space.
Joseph Chinyong Liow is Associate Dean and Professor of Comparative and International Politics at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He was a visiting scholar at Stanford in 2007. Among his forthcoming publications are “Malaysia’s 2008 General Election: Understanding the New Media Factor,” Pacific Review; “Creating Cadres: Mobilization, Activism, and the Youth Wing of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party,” Pacific Affairs; and “Islamist Ambitions, Political Change, and the Price of Power: Recent Successes and Challenges for the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party,” Journal of Islamic Studies. Earlier works include Islam, Education, and Reform in Southern Thailand: Tradition and Transformation (2009); Piety and Politics: Islamism in Contemporary Malaysia (2009); and Islam in Southeast Asia (co-ed., 4 vols, 2009). His PhD is from the London School of Economics.