The Mosque in a Multicultural Context: Modernity, Hybridity and Eclecticism



This chapter begins by reviewing the evolution of the mosque vocabulary by focusing on state and nationally-sponsored mosques. The trajectory of the discussion begins with the late colonial period in Malaysian history in order to trace key changes in the mosque vocabulary and link these with significant thresholds in the nation’s history. Mosque architectural language evolved as almost a mirror reflection of the history of modern Malaysia. This also sheds light on the meaning and persistence of the eclectic language in state-sponsored mosques and mosque form, language and style as reflections of the idea of modernisation and Modernism in the evolution of mosque styles. It is argued that these forms are sides of the same coin of modernity which encapsulated the nation at different thresholds of modernisation. Amongst others, it reviews eclecticism in mosques as expressions of a kind of modernity rather than tradition, and attempts to differentiate the expressive position of ‘modernising tradition’ or ‘regionalising the modern.’


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Islamic University MalaysiaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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