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Fluid JurisdictionsColonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia$
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Nurfadzilah Yahaya

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750878

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750878.001.0001

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Constructing the Index of Arabs

Constructing the Index of Arabs

Colonial Imaginaries in Southeast Asia

(p.122) Chapter 5 Constructing the Index of Arabs
Fluid Jurisdictions

Nurfadzilah Yahaya

Cornell University Press

This chapter elaborates the gradual dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War contributed to the nationalization of the Arab diaspora in the British and Dutch colonial imagination. It highlights a phenomenon which linked the diaspora to an Arab nation instead of the colonies in Southeast Asia where they had established themselves. As much as the surveillance was focused on Southeast Asia, the chapter reveals that the British interests in the Middle East, in the wake of the demise of the major imperial power in the region (the Ottomans), dictated the direction of surveillance policies. It outlines how the First World War formed a watershed moment in the history of British–Arab relations in Southeast Asia. The chapter also looks at how the strained wartime resources caused colonial officials to feel more vulnerable and isolated, leading them to cement their alliance with the Arab community. Ultimately, the chapter examines the constant attempts of the members of the Arab diaspora who continually tried to prove their utility and legitimacy to colonial authorities, culminating in 1915, in the wake of the Sepoy Mutiny in Singapore, in an alliance with the British of Muslims loyal to the king of England.

Keywords:   Ottoman Empire, First World War, Arab diaspora, Southeast Asia, Ottomans, surveillance policies, Arab community, colonial authorities, Sepoy Mutiny

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