Islam and the State in Myanmar: Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging

Edited by Melissa Crouch, 2016, Oxford University Press 

The edited volume aims to reinvigorate scholarship on Islam in Myanmar, to explore the diversity within the Muslim community, to offer new empirical research, and to bring a scholarly perspective and insight into complex issues raised by the position of Muslims where they form a minority in states across Asia. It brings together a wide range of scholars from Burma Studies, Islamic studies and a wide range of other disciplines – international relations, political science, history, law and anthropology. Importantly, it also features a number of chapters by Muslim scholars from Myanmar, some based in Myanmar while others are based abroad, who represent a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds. My own chapter focuses on Islamic personal law in the general courts in Myanmar as a site of interaction between Muslims and the state. 

“For all too long, Muslims in Burma/Myanmar have remained an ‘invisible minority’, and the attention they’ve begun to receive in recent years has come only in the sad context of persecution and violence. This book succeeds not only in providing much needed historical, sociological, and political contextualisation of recent developments and trends, but also in restoring Islam and Muslims to their rightful place as established fixtures and active forces in the making of Burmese history and society. Melissa Crouch and the other authors in this volume have done a great service – intellectually and politically – by assembling this excellent collection of essays. Professor John Sidel, London School of Economics and Political Science and author of Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia (Cornell University Press) 
“A first glimpse of Muslims in Myanmar, this book sets the stage for what will hopefully become a new field of research on Islam in Southeast Asia. Bringing together a wide range of voices, Crouch provides a window from which we can peer into the precarious lives of people who have until recently been unknown to the global, reading public. Professor Anver Emon, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, and author of Islamic Natural Law Theories, and Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law: Dhimmis and Others in the Empire of Law (OUP). 
In a field of scholarship where it is assumed that Buddhism is the primary influence on the state and the majority of Myanmar’s citizens, this book makes an important intervention in breaking ground for the further study of a minority group in Myanmar that is not only marginalized politically but virtually ignored academically.” Dr Matthew Walton, Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford 
“This highly informative yet eminently accessible set of studies of Islam in Burma/Myanmar is surely most welcome by specialists and general audiences alike at multiple levels. These thoughtful and authoritative studies of the mediation of competing claims in national politics and policy are celebrated for defying the myth of the orthodoxy of Middle Eastern Islam and its pretensions of Islamic states.”Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im, Emory University Law School and author of Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Sharia (2008). Martin Van Bruinessen (2018) ‘Book Review’, 174 (2-3) Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia, 305-310.Mukul Kesavan, ‘Murderous Majorities’ The New York Review of Books, January 2018Imtiyaz Yusuf, Journal of Islamic Studies (Oxford University Press) 2018