Power of Bureaucracy

12 October 2020 (Mon), 12:00PM-1:15PM
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The coming of Islamic law to the Straits Settlements of Singapore, Penang and Malacca was spearheaded by local Muslim elite in the Crown Colony who brazenly subverted local authority in favour of European colonial authority. They requested British intervention in religious affairs in 1875 which led to the promulgation of the Mohamedan Marriage Ordinance in 1880 in the colony. By weaponizing moral outrage against local religious authorities, they persuaded British authorities to bureaucratize Qāḍī records, monitor their actions and ratify their appointments. Although Arab ascendance in the colony came at the expense of local Southeast Asian Muslim authority, this was short-lived. Relying instead of local codes know as Anglo-Mohamedan Law already devised in British India, British legal authorities eventually sidestepped Arab authority as well.