Religious violence in South(East) Asia: domestic and transnational drivers of intolerance against Muslim minorities
Co-organised by IIAS and the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of VU University Amsterdam.
Co-organised by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of VU University Amsterdam.
The majority Buddhist and Hindu societies of South(East) Asia are not traditionally associated with conflict and intolerance. Yet recent years have seen a surge in international reports of religious tensions and violence by Buddhist and Hindu majorities towards Muslim minorities in the region. India’s political leadership since 2014 has long been associated with repressive practices and episodes of violence against Muslim minorities. In Sri Lanka, Muslims have been an often forgotten minority during the conflict, and a rise in hostilities against them has been reported since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. The government of Myanmar has long repressed the Rohingya minority, but in recent years this hostility has spread to the larger population, with Buddhist monks playing a seemingly significant role in inciting hate speech and violence against Muslims and their perceived supporters. In Southern Thailand, long-standing grievances of the Muslim population have largely remained unaddressed by the central government. In all these cases, religious diversity has been perceived as a source of nationalism and conflict, but also as a starting point for peacebuilding efforts.
While much attention is being paid to transnational networks of radical Islam, anti-Muslim sentiments in the religious and political sphere are also acquiring a transnational character, and international media increasingly report on supposed cross-border alliances between religious extremists from various sides. This seminar will analyse these developments by comparing regional dynamics and local circumstances, and look beyond the simplistic notion of religions that cannot co-exist. Historical patterns and newly emerging trends will be discussed in order to contextualize the rise in hostility towards Muslim minorities in the South(East) Asian region in recent years. What has been the role of governmental and non-governmental forces such as religious leaders and the media in this process? To what extent are these sentiments created by cross-border networking, and how are they linked to specific political transitions or domestic policy imperatives?
Prof. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Iselin Frydenlund, PRIO/University of Oslo
Dr. Matthew Walton, University of Oxford
Dr. Khin Mar Mar Kyi, University of Oxford
Dr. Alexander Horstmann, University of Copenhagen
Dr. Ward Berenschot, KITLV Leiden
Attendance is free of charge, lunch and drinks included.
If you would like to attend the seminar, please register via the form below by 10 June.
Inline photo by garycycles, modified from Flickr (Creative Commons)