Cambodia’s Cham and Buddhists – a Special Relationship
Ysa Osman describes the very special 300 year history of the Cham in Cambodia and the factors that have made their relationship with their majority Buddhist neighbors a largely peaceful one. He views the particular form of Islam practiced historically by the Imam Sann Cham as peaceful, open and accepting just like their Buddhist neighbors. Also the historic physical proximity of different ethnic communities and current mixing in the school system has contributed to people knowing one another well. Besides he feels that the government in Cambodia has never used religious difference as a tool to accumulate power, as is perhaps true in neighboring countries. Extremism, when it has raised its head the very few times has always come from an influence of outside groups with different belief systems. The Imam Sann Cham cling to their values, their pacific form of interpreting and practicing Islam as well as their ancient language.