Dr Chiara Formichi, Assistant Professor in Southeast Asia Studies at Cornell University, gave a talk on 4th September 2017 about the invisibility of Shi'a Muslims in Southeast Asia.
1) Shi'a communities in Southeast Asia are severely understudied as it is considered a fringe topic in academia and under-represented in media.
2) Visibility of Shi'a communities differs across the region. In Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, Shi'a visibility in public spaces is extremely limited. However, in Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, there is a greater degree of visibility.
3) Shi'ism in Southeast Asia carries with it pronounced Iranian influence, evident from the dressing of some Shi'a religious leaders and the use of Persian as the language of medium for certain rituals.
4) To achieve true religious pluralism, we need to do away with religious chauvinism, and this has to be achieved at both the state and societal levels.