The Hand that Rocks the Cradle: Nurturing Exclusivist Interpretations of Islam in the Malaysian Home


About the Seminar

The possibility of Islamic radicalisation in Southeast Asia is indisputable, and today there is increasing recognition of the role of women in this arena. However, much of the work has focussed on women as suicide bombers and potential recruits to the cause by way of their intention to travel to myriad locations in the Arab world. Little attention is paid to the role of women in Southeast Asia, especially in their ability as mothers or mother-figures, to nurture literal and potentially radical views in their offspring and spouse. In Asia, the image of a ‘mother’ is often seen as too pure and upstanding to be involved in anything related to violent or extremist action. This seminar will explore the possibility of Malaysian homes as potential nests for non-violent radicalisation, with a specific interest in mothers’ need for peer recognition and personal power in a patriarchal society leading to their unwitting support for extreme interpretations and practices of Islam.

This seminar is supported by Konrad Adenaur Stiftung.

About the Speaker

Serina Rahman is currently a Visiting Fellow under the Malaysia Studies Programme at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Her research interests lie in rural and coastal community attitudes and behaviour with regards to religion and ritual, politics, natural habitat use and urbanisation. Her practice is in community empowerment for marine ecosystem preservation and citizen science. She obtained her PhD in Science from Universiti Teknologi MARA and a Masters in Applied Linguistics from the University of Wales, Cardiff. She has a Business Marketing degree from the Nanyang Technological University. Serina’s varied work experience ranges from being an English and General Paper teacher for the Ministry of Education, Singapore to a Content Programming Manager at Discovery Networks Asia. She was also the Director of UMCares – The Community & Sustainability Centre of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, and a Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School for International Studies, NTU. She now teaches Malaysian and Southeast Asian Politics part-time at the National University of Singapore. Serina is Malaysia’s Citizen Science Ambassador for Citizen Science Asia and an Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Award Winner for Environmental Protection (2014).


For registration, please click here. Registration closes on 29 October 2019.


Oct 31 2019


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2