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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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Postcolonial Transitions

(p.163) Conclusion
Fluid Jurisdictions

Nurfadzilah Yahaya

Cornell University Press

This chapter recounts how the members of the Arab diaspora attempted legal arbitrage under colonial rule. It analyses the members' expansion and modification of Islamic law, while at other times they policed the boundaries of Islamic law even as mere translators. The chapter tells the story of the surprising involvement of the outsider — the Arab diaspora — in aiding colonialists to accumulate legislative power. The pace of change from the mid-nineteenth century onward was brisk, and the Arab diaspora capitalized on it while attempting to navigate uncertainty and risk. This chapter also investigates how Arab diaspora in Southeast Asia were able to influence the shape of law to a great extent. It takes a look on how concessions to Arabs in the Straits Settlements, in the form of the Mohamedan Marriage Ordinance, and their appointments as members of the Mohamedan Advisory Board after the Sepoy Mutiny subsequently tied them more closely to the British colonial government, along with the rest of the Muslim population in the colony.

Keywords:   Arab diaspora, Islamic law, colonialists, Southeast Asia, Straits Settlements, Mohamedan Marriage Ordinance, Mohamedan Advisory Board, Sepoy Mutiny, British colonial government, Muslim population

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