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Frauke-Katrin Kandale (Alumna BGSMCS)


Becoming Muslim: Chinese Muslim converts in Malaysia

PhD Research (2008 - 2014):

Becoming Muslim: Chinese Muslim converts in Malaysia

The numbers of conversions to Islam are increasing not only in Malaysia. Muslim converts or ‘new Muslims’, called saudara baru (new brother/sister) or revert in Malaysia, face numerous difficulties upon converting to Islam. Since Islam is not only contested and politicized in Malaysia, but has become a point of worldwide interest, they are entering a highly debated field.

In addition to the ethnic identity, the religious identity of Malaysians has gained more importance. The Federal Constitution of Malaysia defines a Malay as a Muslim which leads to the perception of Islam being largely associated with the Malay community. Furthermore, Malaysian Islamic law restricts a Muslim only to marry a Muslim and thus non-Muslims have to convert to Islam before marrying a Muslim. Since Islam is most commonly associated with the Malay community, non-Muslim parents object to their children embracing Islam. The perception of ‘masuk Islam = masuk Melayu’ (entering Islam equals entering Malayness) still prevails in the minds of some non-Muslims. The struggle of Malaysian Chinese entering Islam will be observed during eight months of ethnographic fieldwork.

First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Vincent Houben

Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Baldauf

Third Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Toni Huber