Busy… busy… busy
It has been a while since I have posted my last blog. Much has happened since then that I plan on telling everyone about. I went on a cruise down the Nile where I visited Luxor and Aswan and saw many of the ancient temples and tombs. There are a lot of fun stories that happened on this trip that I am excited to share with you. I also made a private trip to Dahab in the southern Sinai to do some rock climbing. This has been my favorite and most interesting experience since I’ve been in Egypt so I am excited to tell you about that as well.
For now though, I have to get back to homework. I have been really busy with work since I got back from Luxor and Aswan and especially since I have gotten back from Dahab. I am currently writing a 4000 word paper (Ahhhh!) for my Islamic History class over the topic of my choice. I chose to research Islam in Southeast Asia and ended up focusing my paper over a minority group of Malay Muslims who live in the four southern provinces of Thailand.
I’ll share with you the introduction to the paper:
“Within the predominately Buddhist and ethnic Thai population of Thailand exist a small but significant group of seemingly marginalized Thai civilians. This group exists within the state but is not Buddhist and is neither Thai in ethnicity nor completely Thai in culture. These are the Jawi Muslims of southern Thailand. The Jawi speak a Malay dialect that is neither understood by their Thai neighbors nor entirely Malaysian. As Muslims, they also represent the largest minority within the predominately Buddhist religious spectrum of Thailand. Unique to the Jawi’s practice of Islam is a mixture of ancient traditions that have been adopted from local customs and practices. The uniqueness of their religion – not only vis a vis a Buddhist Thailand but vis a vis the greater Islamic traditions and norms as well – and the uniqueness of their ethnicity and culture has been the hinge of their historical struggle over the last century. Over the past century they have faced wave after wave of outward and inward pressure to assimilate and reform. This pressure has come both from the Thai government and from reformist religious thinkers and organizations. These historic pressures have inevitably shaped the identity of the Jawi that exist today in the 21st century. In many ways these pressures have caused concrete changes in the Jawi religion and culture, but they have also seemed to further galvanize the strength of this distinct religious and cultural identity. ”
Stay tuned for the more exciting accounts of my cruise down the Nile, walking around the streets of a small village outside of Luxor, and my rock climbing adventures.