From Noble Muslims to Saracen Enemies: Thomas Stamford Raffles’ Discourse on Islam in the Malay World
SYED MUHD KHAIRUDIN ALJUNIED
This article examines the development of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles’ discourse
on Islam as practised by the Malays. It is argued that this discourse
shifted from admiration of Islam to the belief that it had brought detriment to
the Malay World. Such a shift in discursive strategy, which denies the importance
of Islam in the Malay World, was necessary due to several reasons. By
denying the importance and contribution of Islam, Raffles and his compatriots
left the Malay World open as potential missionary and colonisable territory.
Also, by exaggerating the oppression and cruelty of systems preceding the
arrival of the British, Raffles intended to publicise the success of his benevolent
policies. Most importantly, in the narratives that follow, it will be demonstrated
the ways Raffles make use of the influence of dominant ideologies and
epistemologies in his milieu to denigrate Islam.
Keywords: Malays, Islam, discursive strategies, ideologies, epistemologies