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'Islamist' Intellectual Space: 'True Islam' and the Ummah in the East

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This paper re-visits the narratives of select 'Islamists' from South and Southeast Asia to explore what their narratives offer for a discussion on Islamist intellectual space. Departing from resilient biases in scholarship that de-privilege expressions of the 'Ummah in the East', I focus on a realm of Islamist self-understandings that reveal a consciousness of being important interlocutors of Islam. These Islamists blatantly exercised their intellectual authority through deriding a larger Ummah that had become divorced from a 'true Islam' that they were aware of. is paper highlights facets of Islamist contact that occurred between these regions through Islamist Third Worldist discourses. I also emphasize South and Southeast Asian Islamist reconstructions of Islam into a system and/or polity through returning to, and reconstructing 'orthodox' texts, Prophethood and earlier Islamic periods. is study bears implications for the study of regions often reduced to 'peripheries' in discourse.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles


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