Islam. Asia. The two are rarely connected in the American mind. For most of us Islam is a faith of the Middle East, intricately part of that human crucible’s glories and tragedies. But the vast majority of Muslims live in Asia, which is home to the four largest Islamic countries in the world (Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India). Islam in Asia is diverse and as varied as Christianity in the West. Generalizations are therefore perilous. Still, Asian Islam’s lack of religious militancy, increasing political importance, and relatively minor relevance to Asian governments’ reactions to U.S. anti-terrorism efforts has significant meaning for U.S. policy.
PacNet #1A – Islam Asian-Style
January 4, 2002