Daulah Islamiyya (Islamic sovereignty, or an Islamic state) is a declared objective of the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyya. In Malaysia, where parliamentary elections are expected to be held in April, both the Muslim-Malay party (UMNO) in the ruling coalition and the Islamist party (PAS) opposed to UMNO have offered rival visions of Malaysia as an Islamic state. Radical groups in Indonesia have proposed replacing the "Pancasila state" in their country with an Islamic state. So what exactly is an "Islamic state"? And why does it matter so much for politics -- radical or democratic -- in Muslim Southeast Asia? Dr. Martinez will review and explore the contexts, in theory and in practice, that can help us understand what this debate is about.
Patricia Martinez, a Malaysian, is among the most highly regarded and widely published scholars working on Islam in Southeast Asia. She is based at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, where she is senior research fellow for Religion and Culture and Head of Intercultural Studies at the Asia-Europe Institute. Her writings relevant to her talk include "Islam, Constitutionalism and the Islamic State" (2004) and "The Islamic State or the State of Islam in Malaysia"(2001). A 2003 essay, "Deconstructing Jihad; Southeast Asian Contexts," is available at http://www.ntu.edu.sg/idss/new-publi.asp. Dr. Martinez has just returned to Stanford from speaking engagements in Australia.