Muslims in Cambodia

14 October 2008


In August some of our Deaf Development Programme staff visited a young deaf woman who has set up a small business along the road in front of her house. To reach her village, we passed through a largely Muslim area. The Chams are basically an ethnic group but because the majority of them have been Muslim, the word "cham" today is almost synonomous in Cambodia with "Muslim." Thus Kampong Cham Province is where the largest group of Muslims are found in Cambodia where Muslims--all Sunnis--are about 3% of the population.


Muslim mosque in Kampong Cham
The mosque is the center of the Muslim faith and culture and often is the geographical center of an area. Mosques in Cambodia stand out even more than Christian churches because of their distinctive architecture and minarets.
Madrasa school
Part of this particular mosque is the madrasa, the school were the Koran and Islamic traditions and practices are taught to the young boys.
Modern Muslim teenagers
Muslim teenagers may have a more conservative, more closely monitored lifestyle than their Buddhist counterparts but in other ways they are like teenagers everywhere.
Muslim children playing
At pre-adolescence, the Muslim girls here adopt the full length, figure covering style of dress and the veil that shows only their faces.
Muslim women bargaining on a ferry
This Muslim woman, dressed in a black chador, bargains for some fruit with a vendor making the crossing over the Mekong River with her.
Muslims on the road
In the village area, the Muslim men and women spend much of their lives on the road just as do most Cambodians for whom the road is living room, play area, food drying ground, and meeting place as well as a means of travel.

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