Islam and the Malay Shadow Play: Aspects of the Historical Mythology of the Wayang Siam
By Barbara S Wright, Yale University,  New  Haven
Folk Islam  as practiced  by  the majority of  village Malays is a syncretic  religion,  bearing traces  of  the  Hindu  and  Animistic  influences present  in the Malay Peninsula before the arrival of  Islam in the fifteenth century.  While Modernist Islam, particularly as practiced in Malaysia's urban  areas  in  the current  revivalist climate, disapproves of most of  the traditional Malay  arts, Malay  Folk  Islam  is more tolerant. Islam and the Wayang Siam shadow play  are linked  in popular  belief  in Kelantan; the nature  of  this  link,  as well as Kelantanese ambivalence towards the arts and religion, is the focus of  this article.

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