Hindu and Muslim Inter-Religious Relations in Malaysia

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This study focuses on the minority Hindus and their interaction with the majority Malay-Muslim community. The Hindus of Malaysia since independence from colonial rule have been seriously marginalized owing to their lack of demographic, economic and political power. Current Islamic resurgence and strident calls for Islamicization of the state have adversely affected the Hindus and created apprehension in the community. This has resulted in augmenting Hindu religiosity and sense of identity. The alienation, ghettoization and economic decline of the Hindus are pressing problems that the Malaysian nation has to tackle.


“The book gives the requisite attention to the historical and political background of the constitution of Malaysia’s Indian diasporic community. Attention is also paid to the causes of prevailing tensions and difficulties, such as class position, economic prospects, levels of educational attainment, etc,. and to the debates surrounding these tensions and difficulties such as those over citizenship and patrimony, and the connection between race, ethnicity, and religious affiliation. . . . The overall picture – of a community under duress, being forced to deal with changes beyond its control, and having very few cultural and political resources to respond adequately – is compelling.” – Kenneth Surin

“This is a clearly written analysis of this important topic, incorporating recent fieldwork by the author as well as extensive research in the existing literature. . . and the result is an impressive synthesis which is of value to all concerned, whether academic students of religion or indeed participants in the social and political processes of Malaysia itself.” – John J. Shepherd

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Hinduism in Malaysia: Early Contacts; Modern Indian Immigration; Malacca Chettiars; Jaffna Tamils; Northern Indian Hindus; Hindu Religious Practice; Thaipusam Festival; Hindu Revival; Hindu Caste in Malaysia
3. The Malay-Muslim Equation: Issues of Religion and Identity in Malaysia: National Culture and National Unity; ALIRAN; Department of National Unity
4. The Hindu Dilemma: Problems Faced by the Hindu Diaspora: Economic Issues; NEP; Educational Issues
5. The Hindu Dilemma: Political and Religious Issues
6. The Impact of Islamic Resurgence on Malaysian Hindus
7. Conclusion
Bibliography; Map; Tables; Appendix; Index

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