Southeast Asia Globe: Faith in Flux

Religious minorities in undeveloped nations are susceptible to funds and influence from outside sources. Fundamentalists in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia target poor Muslims around the globe, including the Cham community in Cambodia. “Tracing their descent from the ancient kingdom of Champa in modern-day Vietnam, the more than 400,000 Chams who live in Cambodia have become the most visible face of Islam in the country,” explains Paul Millar for Southeast Asia Globe. Millions are donated with the condition that the Cambodian Muslims adhere to rigid teachings. Ironically, the religious schools increase education opportunities for girls. One researcher in Millar’s report warns that without greater integration between Muslims and non-Muslims, “the harmony and religious tolerance so often lauded by Cambodia’s government could give way to conflict.” The Chams, poor and with low education levels, may be especially vulnerable to proselytizing because the fanatic Khmer Rouge destroyed history, books and places of worship in the 1970s. Cambodians united in the aftermath of such atrocities, but youth, now keen on reviving a lost identity, respond to the hardline messages. – YaleGlobal

Southeast Asia Globe: Faith in Flux

Islamic groups from the Middle East pour money into Cambodia’s Cham Muslim communities, spreading hardline teachings
Paul Millar
Friday, March 3, 2017
© Copyright 2017 Globe Media Asia

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