Piety and Politics (Islamism in Contemporary Malaysia)
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Piety and Politics (Islamism in Contemporary Malaysia)

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Malaysia, home to some twenty million Muslims, is often held up as a model of a pro-Western Islamic nation. The government of Malaysia, in search of Western investment, does its best to perpetuate this view. But this isn't the whole story. Over the last several decades, Joseph Liow shows, Malaysian politics has taken a strong turn toward Islamism. This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the growing role of Islam in the last quarter century of Malaysian politics. Conventional wisdom suggest that the ruling UMNO party has moved toward Islamism to fend off challenges from the more heavily Islamist opposition party, PAS. Liow argues, however, that UMNO has often taken the lead in moving toward Islamism, and that in fact PAS has often been forced to react. The result, Liow argues, is a game of "piety-trumping" that will be very difficult to reverse, and that has dire consequences not only for the ethnic and religious minorities of Malaysia, but for their democratic system as a whole., Chapter One: Genesis of an Islamist Agenda ; Chapter Two: The Malaysian State and the Bureaucratization of Islam ; Chapter Three: Reconstructing and Reinforcing Islamism ; Chapter Four: "Popular" Political Islam: Representations and Discourses ; Chapter Five: "Securing" Islam in a Time of Turbulence, Superbly crafted and well argued ... its tightly developed arguments are laid out in clear, crisp prose that readers, including the non-specialists among them, will find highly accessible. Michael G. Peletz, South East Asia Research 2011, Josepeh Chyinyong Liow is Associate Professor at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University.

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