The Islamization of Southeast Asia resulted in a distinct Malay-Muslim culture combining the universalist dimensions of a religious doctrine with a global reach and the cultural particularities of the region (language, local practices). Recent discoveries of new text material and archaeological evidence have pushed the emergence of this civilization back in time. Key elements of the chapter’s narrative are the emergence of Muslim states in the archipelago, and the active participation of diasporic groups from the Middle East, cosmopolitan figures from insular Southeast Asia, and mediators from South Asia in the further Islamization of maritime Southeast Asia. It also provides the argument for challenging the frequent dismissal of Islam in Indonesia as a ‘thin veneer’ over older religious deposits of indigenous or Indian origin, a misconception that was later corroborated by anthropological research in the 1980s. Throughout this time frame, the Indian Ocean continues to act as a conduit for the ‘global circulation of ideas’ and the emerge of sophisticated intellectual milieus in Sumatra and Java
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