- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

Islamic Education in Asia

In recent years attention has focused on Islamic educational institutions in Asia, often called madaris (pl. of madrasah), and what role they may play in spreading extremist ideology and inspiring terrorist attacks around the region. Beyond the fact that a small minority of schools propagate a radical version of Islam, relatively little was known about the huge variety in Islamic education in South and Southeast Asia.

Two three-year long research projects brought together international teams of scholars to study the state of Islamic education in eight Asian nations with large minority or majority Muslim populations. Seeking to better understand the changing role of Islamic education in politics and society, NBR has accumulated an invaluable catalog of regional data through a series of surveys, interviews and institutional analysis. The Southeast Asia Education Survey (2004-2007) investigated trends in Islamic education in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia. The South Asia Education Survey (2005-2008) investigated trends in Islamic and secular education in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.


For more information, please contact:

Mahin Karim
Senior Associate, Political and Security Affairs

Islamic Education in Bangladesh and Pakistan

Papers by Mumtaz Ahmad and Matthew J. Nelson in the project report “Islamic Education in Bangladesh and Pakistan: Trends in Tertiary Institutions” shed new light on the emerging socio-political landscape of Muslim South Asia, with critical implications for U.S. policy and security interests in the region. The report represents the culmination of the third and final year of NBR’s South Asia Education Survey project.

Muslim Professional Associations and Politics in Southeast Asia

Drawing on research from the third and final year of NBR’s Southeast Asia Education Survey project, NBR Analysis 18.3 (March 2008) features essays by Ann Marie Murphy and Bridget Welsh, with an introduction by Robert Hefner, on the relationship between Islamic education and professional associations in Indonesia and Malaysia.