Praying Together, Staying Together: Religion and Interethnic Marriages in Sarawak, Malaysia

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This paper looks at the impact of state sponsored Islamisation and identity politics in multiethnic Malaysia. It begins with a historical take on the entry of the world religions into Malaysia, followed by a discussion of recent trends in Islamisation and its divisive nature. Narratives on inter-ethnic marriage drawn from participants in a larger study on marriage and the family in Sarawak is used to support the argument that religion more than ethnicity is an obstacle to ethnic integration through marriage in the context of Sarawak.


Keywords: Religion, Islamisation, Sarawak Malaysia, Inter-Ethnic Marriage
Stream: Nations, Nationalism, Communities
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Cheng Sim Hew

Deputy Dean (Postgraduate Studies and Research), Faculty of Social Sciences, University Malaysia Sarawak
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Dr. Hew Cheng Sim is a sociologist by training and her area of specialisation is gender studies. Her research interests include women and employment, marriage and family. Her work mainly focused on gender issues in Sarawak. She has conducted research amongst the Iban, Kelabit and Bidayuh people in Sarawak. She has published in numerous journals and her recent books include, Women workers, migration and family in Sarawak published by RoutledgeCurzon in 2003 and Village Mothers, City Daughters: Women and Urbanisation in Sarawak published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore in 2007.

Ref: D08P0420