Contents: 1. Introduction: Secularism, religion and democracy-changing landscapes/Vidhu Verma. 2. Problems of Representation: Buddha Dhamma , politics, and nation states/Timothy Fitzgerald. 3. Ambivalence, accommodation, antipathy, and anxiety: religion and Singapore’s secular democratic order/Thio Li-Ann. 4. Political Islam and democracy in Malaysia/Kamarulnizam Abdullah. 5. The secular and the religious: secularization and shariatization in Indonesia/Syafiq Hasyim. 6. Religious Minorities in Southeast Asia: The Ahmadiyah and why tolerance matters/Amy L. Freedman. 7. Piety, purity, and nationalism: the convergence of nation and Islam in contemporary Indonesia/Mary E. McCoy. 8. Protecting the Ssana through Law: Radical Buddhism and Religious Freedom in Transitional Myanmar/Iselin Frydenlund. 9. Secularism and Ethno-religious Nationalist Hegemony in Malaysia/Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid and Zairil Khir Johari. Index.
Until the 1990s, secularism was understood largely as exclusion of religion from the public domain. However, in the last two decades, the world has witnessed the return of religion as a medium and subject of national, regional, and global politics. With such a shift, the previously unquestioned Western values of modernity and secularism find themselves at loggerheads with the increasing assertion of religious identity, which results in difference-based conflicts. This antagonism also gives rise to a vibrant, religiously pluralistic civil society and speaks of a post-secular turn in modern Southeast Asian democracies.
Secularism, Religion, and Democracy in Southeast Asia tries to understand the rise of religion in modern democracies and how everyday economic, social, and political conditions aid this post-secular phenomenon in Southeast Asia. Setting itself apart from most studies of religion in Southeast Asia through its regional focus, this volume explores the ideas, practices, state responses, and anxieties related to the religious–secular divide in this geopolitical region.