Postcolonial nation states in Southeast Asia have taken different trajectories in the localisation of Islam within their respective societies. Post-independence Singapore’s experience of localisation of Islam is largely through a centralised Muslim religious authority created by legislation drawn from Singapore’s colonial legacy. Policies and religious rulings of the central authority through the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) and the Fatwa Committee have significantly contributed to the Muslim community’s adaptation to Singapore’s urbanisation and multicultural society. I argue that as the evolving context becomes more complex in the future, Singapore’s centralised approach in localising the practice of Islam will require further adaptation. It cannot depend merely on reactive changes to state-directed policies, laws, and regulations. It must be complemented with a more proactive, robust, and organic approach where there is a thorough assessment of the changing conditions and deliberate critical re-evaluation of religious tradition conditioned by a vibrant discursive tradition within the community.
Interreligious Relations / Southeast Asia and ASEAN
Last updated on 27/03/2020