Preah Neth Preah (Eyes of Buddha) district, Banteay Meanchey province. Photo by Dr. Eng Kok-Thay.


The Research Center aims to translate books from English into Khmer and historical documents from Khmer into English. However, while the Research Center will facilitate the translation and accessibility of scholarly works, the Center will not fund such activities. The authors of scholarly works will be responsible for securing all funds, both for translation and publication.


From The Khmer Rouge to Hambali: Cham Identities in a Global Age 
Original in English: 300 pages
To be published in Khmer, French and Arabic

This monograph explores different forms of Cham identities in relation to this minority's history, society and culture. It has three goals: first, to provide the most comprehensive overview of Cham history and social structure; second, to illustrate how Cham identities have changed through time; and third, to consider whether in the aftermath of Democratic Kampuchea and the Cold War Cham became radicalized. Its theoretical position is that the group's religious, ethnic and other social identities can be classified as core (those that are enduring) and peripheral (those that are more changeable depending on new social and global contexts). Core identities include being Muslim (religious) and descendants from Champa whose indigenous language is Cham. Peripheral identities are sectarian, economic and political.

As immigrants to Cambodia, Muslims, and victims of genocide, the Cham have been associated with terrorism. In the process of constructing their peripheral identities after the genocide and especially after the Cold War, they are suspected by some Khmer, foreign governments and international observers of having links with, attempting to, and committing acts of terrorism, both in Cambodia and southern Thailand. Other factors such as weak secular education, unregulated and open Islamic revival, and the strong need for overall community development, such as improved living standards and education, led to further suspicions of terrorism. Cambodia's weak rule of law, fledgling financial system, immature anti-terrorist measures, corruption and porous borders also contributes to the terrorist stigmatization of the Cham.

Terrorism is at the pinnacle of the problems facing the Cham in their attempt to revive their community and reconstruct their peripheral identities. Little has been studied about the Cham. By examining the Cham's origins in Champa, their arrival in Cambodia, religious conversion, political affiliations, and social structure, it is possible to better understand their core identities as ethnic Cham and Muslims and whether they have become radicalized. In addition, this monograph will shed light on the ways in which their peripheral identities change over time and how these identities are affected in an age in which Islamic revival, global aid and terrorism bring fresh challenges to the community.

This research seeks to contribute to the study of identities of an Islamic and ethnic minority group in a Buddhist majority country as the group recovers from the genocide, increasingly exposed to global flows, and suffers from the threat of being pulled into global terrorism. It seeks to contribute to our understanding of the Cham, which receives little scholarly attention. It also attempts to contribute to the study of identity.

Dr. Eng Kok-Thay