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Making Space for Islam: Religion, Science, and Politics in Contemporary Malaysia

  • Darren C. Zook

Abstract

In October 2007, Malaysia celebrated sending its first astronaut into space, as part of a cooperative venture on board a Russian space mission. As Malaysia's first astronaut was a Muslim, the Malaysian government commissioned, through its Department of Islamic Development, a project to create a definitive set of guidelines for the practice of Islam in outer space, specifically on board the International Space Station. What may on the surface appear to be a practical exercise in clarifying religious practice reveals upon closer examination to be a complex restructuring of Malaysia's domestic and international politics, with the role of Islam as the catalytic and somewhat controversial centerpiece.

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Making Space for Islam: Religion, Science, and Politics in Contemporary Malaysia

  • Darren C. Zook

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