Islam in a Secular State: Muslim Activism in Singapore
Dr Walid Jumblatt Abdullah
Hardback, 328 pages
The overtly secular state of Singapore has unapologetically maintained an authoritarian approach to governance in the realm of religion. Islam is particularly managed by the state. Muslim activists thus have to meticulously navigate these realities - in addition to being a minority community - in order to maximize their influence in the political system. Significantly, Muslim activists are not a monolith: there exists a multitude of political and theological differences amongst them. This study analyses the following categories of Muslim activists: Islamic religious scholars (ulama), liberal Muslims, and the more conservative-minded individuals. Due to constricting political realities, many activists attempt to align themselves with the state, and call upon the state to be an arbiter in their disagreements with other factions. Though there are activists who challenge the state, these are by far in the minority, and are typically unable to assert their influence in a sustained manner.
Dr. Walid Jumblatt Abdullah is an Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He works on state-Islam relations and has published in International Political Science Review, Government and Opposition, Journal of Church and State, and Asian Survey, amongst others.
1. Introduction: The State, Islam, and Muslim Activism in Singapore
2. Muslim Activism: A Survey across the World
3. Argument: Political Opportunities and Muslim Strategies
4. The Ulama: Pragmatism and Political Acquiescence
5. Liberal Activists: Playing by the System and Making Gains
6. The Conservative Dilemma: To Challenge or Accept State Proclamations?