Cambodia's Cham Muslims
Jerry Redfern
Cambodia’s Cham Muslims are under increased scrutiny in the international war on terror. Last year, Southeast Asian terrorist Hambali hid unknown in their midst for months and several teachers were arrested at an Islamic institute in the countryside. The vast majority of Chams remain impoverished and isolated. Chams make up less than two percent of Cambodia’s population and are the descendents of an ancient civilization that fought with the kings of Angkor. They were also singled out for slaughter during the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.

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  • Ali bin Ibrahim lays out prayer mats at the Mosque in Chrok Romet village, Kompong Chhnang, in preparation for Friday noon prayers. In the foreground a Koran rests on a hand-carved holder.Ali bin Ibrahim lays out prayer mats at the Mosque in Chrok Romet village, Kompong Chhnang, in preparation for Friday noon prayers. In the foreground a Koran rests on a hand-carved holder.
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      Chrok Romet, Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia - 01/08/2003: Ali bin Ibrahim lays out prayer mats at the Mosque in Chrok Romet village, Kompong Chhnang, in preparation for Friday noon prayers. In the foreground a Koran rests on a hand-carved holder.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Abdul Kareem Ahmed stands in front of a side doorway at a mosque in Prey Pres village in rural Kampong Chhnang province.Abdul Kareem Ahmed stands in front of a side doorway at a mosque in Prey Pres village in rural Kampong Chhnang province.
  • A man washes his feet before entering a rural mosque for Friday prayers, in Kampong Chhnang province.A man washes his feet before entering a rural mosque for Friday prayers, in Kampong Chhnang province.
  • Portrait of Arifin, 17, front, and Prosit, 16, both Cham Muslims, following Friday noon prayers in Prey Pres village, Kompong Chhnang province.Portrait of Arifin, 17, front, and Prosit, 16, both Cham Muslims, following Friday noon prayers in Prey Pres village, Kompong Chhnang province.
  • Yu Sok participates in Friday prayers at the local mosque in Prey Pres village, Kampong Chhnang province, Cambodia.Yu Sok participates in Friday prayers at the local mosque in Prey Pres village, Kampong Chhnang province, Cambodia.
  • A view of the guesthouse where international terrorist suspect Hambali stayed for several months in Phnom Penh. The guesthouse owner, a Cham Muslim woman who does not want her business clearly identified, said Hambali was quiet, went everyday across the street to pray at the mosque, and payed all his bills in US dollars. Hambali was caught in Thailand soon after leaving Cambodia.A view of the guesthouse where international terrorist suspect Hambali stayed for several months in Phnom Penh. The guesthouse owner, a Cham Muslim woman who does not want her business clearly identified, said Hambali was quiet, went everyday across the street to pray at the mosque, and payed all his bills in US dollars. Hambali was caught in Thailand soon after leaving Cambodia.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/08/2003: A view of the guesthouse where international terrorist suspect Hambali stayed for several months in Phnom Penh. The guesthouse owner, a Cham Muslim woman who does not want her business clearly identified, said Hambali was quiet, went everyday across the street to pray at the mosque, and payed all his bills in US dollars. Hambali was caught in Thailand soon after leaving Cambodia.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • The Om al Qura Institute in Kandal province was shut in mid-2003, after the US government claimed that foreign teachers there were promoting Islamic fundamentalism. Since the teachers' arrests, a judge has claimed there is no evidence to try them but the government has yet to release the three. Several hundred students from around the country attended the Saudi-funded school, and were given a much better education than they would receive at government schools. The institute and its grounds sit abandoned and have been looted by neighboring villagers.The Om al Qura Institute in Kandal province was shut in mid-2003, after the US government claimed that foreign teachers there were promoting Islamic fundamentalism. Since the teachers' arrests, a judge has claimed there is no evidence to try them but the government has yet to release the three. Several hundred students from around the country attended the Saudi-funded school, and were given a much better education than they would receive at government schools. The institute and its grounds sit abandoned and have been looted by neighboring villagers.
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      Kandal, Cambodia - 01/08/2003: The Om al Qura Institute in Kandal province was shut in mid-2003, after the US government claimed that foreign teachers there were promoting Islamic fundamentalism. Since the teachers' arrests, a judge has claimed there is no evidence to try them but the government has yet to release the three. Several hundred students from around the country attended the Saudi-funded school, and were given a much better education than they would receive at government schools. The institute and its grounds sit abandoned and have been looted by neighboring villagers.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Portrait of Sun Sy Phas, 72, sitting on the verandah of the al Husainiah Mosque in Kagu Jury, a Cham Muslim village in Kampong Chhnang province. She has lived here since 1977. "My husband has died and I live with my children." She has six children: one boy, five girls. She lives with her two widowed daughters. Her husband died in the Pol Pot regime.Portrait of Sun Sy Phas, 72, sitting on the verandah of the al Husainiah Mosque in Kagu Jury, a Cham Muslim village in Kampong Chhnang province. She has lived here since 1977. "My husband has died and I live with my children." She has six children: one boy, five girls. She lives with her two widowed daughters. Her husband died in the Pol Pot regime.
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      Kagu Jury, Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia - 01/08/2003: Portrait of Sun Sy Phas, 72, sitting on the verandah of the al Husainiah Mosque in Kagu Jury, a Cham Muslim village in Kampong Chhnang province. She has lived here since 1977. "My husband has died and I live with my children." She has six children: one boy, five girls. She lives with her two widowed daughters. Her husband died in the Pol Pot regime.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Sophiyas Binti Abdullah, 17, laughs at having her picture taken with other girls, as they wait to start their Islamic instruction at the Masjid al Husainiah in Kagu Jury Village.Sophiyas Binti Abdullah, 17, laughs at having her picture taken with other girls, as they wait to start their Islamic instruction at the Masjid al Husainiah in Kagu Jury Village.
  • Khin, 55, motors out into the Mekong River early in the morning, as he does every morning of the week. He is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.Khin, 55, motors out into the Mekong River early in the morning, as he does every morning of the week. He is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: Khin, 55, motors out into the Mekong River early in the morning, as he does every morning of the week. He is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Khin, 55, gathers his net together before setting it in the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. The net cost $75 new in 1999 and he hopes it will last him several more years. He cannot afford a new one. Khin is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.Khin, 55, gathers his net together before setting it in the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. The net cost $75 new in 1999 and he hopes it will last him several more years. He cannot afford a new one. Khin is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: Khin, 55, gathers his net together before setting it in the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. The net cost $75 new in 1999 and he hopes it will last him several more years. He cannot afford a new one. Khin is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Peh, 19, prepares to jump into the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. While breathing through the hose wrapped around his waist, he will untangle a fishing net snagged on the river bottom. The net cost $75 new in 1999 and the owner hopes it will last several more years. He cannot afford a new one. Many Cham Muslim fishermen live on the Mekong near Phnom Penh.Peh, 19, prepares to jump into the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. While breathing through the hose wrapped around his waist, he will untangle a fishing net snagged on the river bottom. The net cost $75 new in 1999 and the owner hopes it will last several more years. He cannot afford a new one. Many Cham Muslim fishermen live on the Mekong near Phnom Penh.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: Peh, 19, prepares to jump into the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. While breathing through the hose wrapped around his waist, he will untangle a fishing net snagged on the river bottom. The net cost $75 new in 1999 and the owner hopes it will last several more years. He cannot afford a new one. Many Cham Muslim fishermen live on the Mekong near Phnom Penh.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Khin, 55, fishes in the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. It takes him nearly 30 minutes to gather, set, troll and haul his net back into the boat once. Here the net comes up with one fish, which is common. Khin is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.Khin, 55, fishes in the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. It takes him nearly 30 minutes to gather, set, troll and haul his net back into the boat once. Here the net comes up with one fish, which is common. Khin is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: Khin, 55, fishes in the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. It takes him nearly 30 minutes to gather, set, troll and haul his net back into the boat once. Here the net comes up with one fish, which is common. Khin is a Cham Muslim fisherman and lives on and fishes from his boat on the Mekong near Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, his catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Cham Muslim fishing families living and fishing along the Mekong River near Phnom Penh pool their catch before it is cleaned and taken to the market in town by the women of the village. Here a woman strings together "dog-tongue" fish, which are worth very little. Over the last several years, the catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.Cham Muslim fishing families living and fishing along the Mekong River near Phnom Penh pool their catch before it is cleaned and taken to the market in town by the women of the village. Here a woman strings together "dog-tongue" fish, which are worth very little. Over the last several years, the catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: Cham Muslim fishing families living and fishing along the Mekong River near Phnom Penh pool their catch before it is cleaned and taken to the market in town by the women of the village. Here a woman strings together "dog-tongue" fish, which are worth very little. Over the last several years, the catch along the Mekong has dropped markedly.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • The Nour el Essan Mosque in Chong Koh village near Phnom Penh was funded by a group of Malaysians who have not returned since it was built a few years ago. The village consists of poor fishing families and a few farmers and traders.The Nour el Essan Mosque in Chong Koh village near Phnom Penh was funded by a group of Malaysians who have not returned since it was built a few years ago. The village consists of poor fishing families and a few farmers and traders.
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      Chong Koh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: The Nour el Essan Mosque in Chong Koh village near Phnom Penh was funded by a group of Malaysians who have not returned since it was built a few years ago. The village consists of poor fishing families and a few farmers and traders.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Sul Ha holds on to her son Arafat, as her husband gets ready to go off fishing for the day from their home near Phnom Penh. Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.Sul Ha holds on to her son Arafat, as her husband gets ready to go off fishing for the day from their home near Phnom Penh. Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.
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      Chong Koh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: Sul Ha holds on to her son Arafat, as her husband gets ready to go off fishing for the day from their home near Phnom Penh. Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A bare baby plays in the garbage along the banks of the Mekong River in a Cham Muslim fishing village across from Phnom Penh. Family house/fishing boats are in the background. Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.A bare baby plays in the garbage along the banks of the Mekong River in a Cham Muslim fishing village across from Phnom Penh. Family house/fishing boats are in the background. Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: A bare baby plays in the garbage along the banks of the Mekong River in a Cham Muslim fishing village across from Phnom Penh. Family house/fishing boats are in the background. Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Moussad, a Cham Muslim fisherman, prays in his boat following a day spent fishing on the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. His boat, which sports a crescent moon and star on the bow, is also his home.


Moussad, a Cham Muslim fisherman, prays in his boat following a day spent fishing on the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. His boat, which sports a crescent moon and star on the bow, is also his home.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: Moussad, a Cham Muslim fisherman, prays in his boat following a day spent fishing on the Mekong River near Phnom Penh. His boat, which sports a crescent moon and star on the bow, is also his home.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A great luxury -- a battery-powered b&w TV --  shines out from a Cham Muslim fishing boat moored in a makeshift village across the Mekong River from Phnom Penh. The family's few other possessions are scattered about in view.A great luxury -- a battery-powered b&w TV --  shines out from a Cham Muslim fishing boat moored in a makeshift village across the Mekong River from Phnom Penh. The family's few other possessions are scattered about in view.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: A great luxury -- a battery-powered b&w TV -- shines out from a Cham Muslim fishing boat moored in a makeshift village across the Mekong River from Phnom Penh. The family's few other possessions are scattered about in view.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • View of a Cham Muslim floating fishing village across from Phnom Penh at sunrise. View of a Cham Muslim floating fishing village across from Phnom Penh at sunrise.
  • A young girl swings in a hammock beneath her house in a Cham Muslim fishing village across from Phnom Penh. 

Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.A young girl swings in a hammock beneath her house in a Cham Muslim fishing village across from Phnom Penh. 

Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.
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      Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 01/01/2004: A young girl swings in a hammock beneath her house in a Cham Muslim fishing village across from Phnom Penh. Many Cham people are subsistence-level fishermen, and eke out a rough living from the river.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern

 

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