Islam in SEA workshop: “Three Faces of the Rohingya Crisis: Religious Nationalism, Asian Islamophobia and Delegitimizing Citizenship” by Dr Imtiyaz Yusuf

We are very happy to announce that one of the participants of the exploratory workshop on Islam in Southeast Asia is Dr Imtiyaz Yusuf. The workshop will be held on September 21, 2018 (Friday) at the National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (NISMED) of the University of the Philippines Diliman. He will present his current research entitled “Three Faces of the Rohingya Crisis: Religious Nationalism, Asian Islamophobia and Delegitimizing Citizenship.”


Myanmar is a non-secular Buddhist majority country born out of the ashes of the murder of its integrationist freedom fighter leader General Aung San who was assassinated on July 19, 1947, a few months before the independence of Burma on January 4, 1948. His failed legacy of integrating Myanmar into a multicultural nation of majority Burmans and non-Burman minorities continues to elude Myanmar. The Rohingya crisis is not a religious clash between Islam and Buddhism as both the religions have a long-shared history of peaceful coexistence. Nor is it merely a case of Buddhist persecution of Muslims as purported by the Rohingyan nationalists. It is a clash between two nationalisms over the claim to Myanmar citizenship. The conflict invokes Buddhist and Muslim nationalisms for the purpose of protecting and preserving nationalist ethnicities as religious identities in turn causing the rise of the new phenomena of Asian Islamophobia.

Author’s profile:

Assistant Professor Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf is currently a Lecturer and Director of the Center for Buddhist-Muslim Understanding in the College of Religious Studies at Mahidol University in Thailand. Previously, he has also taught at the Graduate School of Philosophy and Religion, Assumption University of Thailand for 12 years and before that at the College of Islamic Studies, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus for 5 years.

Dr. Yusuf speaks 6 languages: English, Swahili, Arabic, Thai, Hindi and Urdu.

Dr. Yusuf obtained BA (Politics) from Poona University, India; MA (Islamic Studies) Aligarh Muslim University, India and Ph. D. (Religion) Temple University, USA.  Dr. Yusuf specializes in Religion with a focus on Islam in Thailand and Southeast Asia and also Muslim-Buddhist and interreligious dialogue.

During 2009-2010, he was visiting Associate Professor and Malaysia Chair of Islam in Southeast Asia at ACMCU, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA. He is also concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, (ACMCU) Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA.

Dr. Yusuf has contributed to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islamic World (2009); Oxford Dictionary of Islam (2003); Encyclopedia of Qur’an (2002); and Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islamic World (1995). He was also the special Editor, The Muslim World – A Special Issue on Islam and Buddhism Vol. 100, Nos 2-3 April/July 2010.

Dr. Yusuf‘s most recent publications are:

“Nationalist Ethnicities as Religious Identities: Islam, Buddhism and Citizenship in Myanmar”  American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 34:4 (2017) pp. 100-119;

“Celebrating Muhammad’s Birthday In Buddha’s Land: Managing Religious Relations through Religious Festival in Religion, Public Policy and Social Transformation in Southeast Asia Religion, Identity and Gender, Dicky Sofjan (Editor), Vol. 2 (Geneva: International Secretariat, 2017) pp. 129-160;

“Islamic Attitudes towards Theravada Buddhism: The Contemporary State of Relations” in Buddhist and Christian Attitudes to Religious Diversity Hans-Peter Grosshans, Samuel Ngun Ling and Perry Schimdt-Leukel (eds.) Yangon: Ling’s Family Publication, 2017) pp. 209-232;

Imtiyaz Yusuf (ed.), A Planetary And Global Ethics For Climate Change And Sustainable Energy, (Bangkok: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Bangkok and College of Religious Studies, Mahidol University, 2016);

“Muslim-Buddhist Relations Caught between Nalanda and Pattani” in Ethnicity and Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia, K.M. de Silva (ed.) (Colombo: Vijitha Yapa, 2015);

“Ismail al-Faruqi’s Contribution to the Academic Study of Religion” in Islamic Studies, 53:1-2 (2014) pp. 99–115;

“Islam and Buddhism: From Coexistence to Dialogue” in Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Interreligious Dialogue Catherine Cornille ed. (Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 360-375.

 “Islamic Theology of Religious Pluralism: Quran’s Attitude Towards Other Religions” Prajna Vihara, Vol. 11, No. 1 January-June 2010 : 123-140;

“The Role of the Chularajmontri (Shaykh al-Islam) in Resolving Ethno-religious Conflict in Southern Thailand” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Vol. 27 No. 1 (2010) 31-53;

“Dialogue Between Islam and Buddhism through the Concepts Ummatan Wasatan (The Middle Nation) and Majjhima-Patipada (The Middle Way)” Islamic Studies, 48:3 (2009) pp. 367–394;

“The Thai Muslims and the Participation in the Democratic Process: The Case of 2007 Elections” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 29, No. 3, (2009) : 325-336;

“The Southern Thailand Conflict and the Muslim World” in Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 27, No. 2 (2007) 319-339 and

“Dialogue between Islam and Buddhism Through The Concepts of Tathagata and Nur MuhammadiInternational Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture, Vol. 5 (2005) : 103-114.

Dr. Yusuf is also:

Southeast Asia editor for Oxford Islamic Studies Online (2012 – )

Member, International Advisory Board, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, (UK);

Consultant Editor, International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture, Dongkuk University, Seoul Korea, since 2002 – ;

Dr. Yusuf often writes on Islam-Buddhism, religion in Southeast Asia and Middle East for The Nation (Bangkok) newspaper. His latest article was: “Secularism has failed: new religious wars require fresh solution.”

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