Recently there has been keen interest in Islam from the non-Muslim world as well as a push for improved Muslim-Christian relations. This timely book makes an important contribution on both of these fronts by telling the story of Islam in Southeast Asia -- a region of the world now drawing increased international attention.
Although Muslims of the Malay race are the largest ethnic community of Muslims in the world, they are little known in the Western hemisphere. Writing as an American Christian missionary who lived among Malay Muslims in the Philippines for over forty years, Robert Day McAmis provides the first comprehensive look at Malay Muslims, describing their history, practices, influence, and distinctive customs. McAmis also gives special attention to the history of their relationship with Christians -- a history that is key to understanding the current state of religious and social life in places like Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Since Muslims and Christians together comprise ninety-four percent of the Malay population, peaceful interaction and cooperation between mosque and church are crucial to realizing the economic and political goals of the entire region.
Considering the so-called "Islamic resurgence" of the last few decades, McAmis pleads for dialogue and mutual understanding. Islam is not monolithic, he says, and Muslims are not the enemies of Christians. Malay Muslims in particular, with their diverse traditions and rich history of international relations, are open to outside influence and exchange. McAmis concludes that "the future of Malay Southeast Asia is bright indeed if Muslims and Christians of goodwill work together to solve the problems of this area."