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Fragile archipelago

Indonesia secrete
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I have traveled throughout Indonesia, but there is no place in this vast archipelago that has gripped my attention like Acheh. Its physical beauty is astounding, lush shimmering rice paddies, looming mountains and inviting white sandy beaches. Above all, the Achenese are the greatest asset to this province.

   

 
 

Jacqueline M. Koch, a freelance photographer based in the Puget Sound, contributor to Pacific, the Seattle Times Sunday magazine

 

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"Acheh defies the Western stereotypes of devout Muslim communities. Its people are tolerant and open and most importantly the women are strong, respected and empowered." (Jacqueline M. Koch)

 
"The first major Muslim state in Southeast Asia, Acheh, was established around 1524 in northern and western Sumatra in response to more than a decade of Portuguese advance.

Under Sultan Iskandar Muda (ruled 1608-37), Acheh reached the height of its prosperity and importance in the Indian Ocean trade, encouraging Muslim learning and expanding Muslim adherence.

By the end of the 17th century, Acheh's Muslims were in touch with major intellectual centres to the west, particularly in India and Arabia, just as West African Muslims were tied to centres across the Sahara.

Because they could draw on many sources, often filtered through India, Sumatran Muslims may have been exposed to a wider corpus of Muslim learning than Muslims in many parts of the heartland.

Acheh's scholarly disputes over Ibn al-'Arabi were even significant enough to attract the attention of a leading Medinan, Ibrahim al-Kurani, who in 1640 wrote a response. The same kind of naturalization and indigenization of Islam that was taking place in Africa was also taking place here; for example, 'Abd ar-Ra'uf of Singkel, after studying in Arabia from about 1640 to 1661, returned home, where he made the first "translation" of the Qur'an into Malay, a language that was much enriched during this period by Arabic script and vocabulary. This phenomenon extended even to China. Liu Chih, a scholar born around 1650 in Nanking, created serious Islamicate literature in Chinese, including works of philosophy and law.". (Britannica Encyclopedia)

 
 

 

THE ACHEH times; Other Photos

Save Wild Life in Acheh
Acheh in History and Hope
Indonesia Cruelties
The Spirit of Referendum
Photos of Free Acheh Movement
Acheh in camera; HOME
Masaru Goto's "Got Rights"
Link to professional photo works
Special Features
ASIAWEEK and AMNESTY INTERNALTIONAL
A Virtual Front Line
Fighting for truth in Acheh

Reference

History, Nature, Animal Realm
Encarta Encyclopedia
Britannica Encyclopedia