The Impact of the Militant Ethnic and Religious Groups
in Separatist Struggles and Peace Building in Indonesia,
Malaysia, Pattani, Thailand and Southern Philippines
The original MAPHILINDO (Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia)
created in the early 60's by Tungko Abdul Rahman of Malaysia,
Diosdado Macapagal of the Philippines and Bong Sukarno of
Indonesia pointed to the converging ethnic and racial traditions
coupled by regional dream and aspirations of peace and prosperity
of the three Malay countries.
ASEAN supplanted MAPHILINDO in the 70's, yet the convergence
of traditions and dream continues and even has expanded
to other ASEAN countries like Brunei and Thailand. This
is truer now as trade globalization and technology impact
ethnicities, religions and cultures.
Works have already been done in each country on separate
issues involving ethnicity and religion including politics
of separatism and the contemporary peace processes. The
importance of the proposed undertaking is to identify and
map the "connectedness" or "kindredness"
of these many and varied ethnic and religious movements
and groups as they continue to assert their distinct "separateness"
amid the global trend of "leveling off borders and
As ethnicities and religions play crucial roles in the
struggles to preserve and assert their distinct identities,
the same is now being tapped in the peace processes in the
region. Indeed, ethnicities and religions are double-edged
swords that decisively contribute to both war and peace.
In short, as religion and ethnicity become the "glue"
and the "call" in times of war, they also have
the power and dynamism in establishing social cohesion between
and among disparate ethnic and religious groups and movements.
In fact, it can also fuel genuine reforms and reconstruction
that involving radical "changes" in the structures
and relationships between and among the many and differing
In an era of global network, the project will also attempt
to find the "resonance" and "linkages"
(romantic, historical or real) between these local movements
and groups to the wider regional and global network of ethnic
and religious "fronts."