Holy Cities in Conflict: Jerusalem in a Broader Context

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Issue . 78
P. 62
Holy Cities in Conflict: Jerusalem in a Broader Context

As with many other researchers who became involved in the Oslo peace process, its failure to achieve an agreement over Jerusalem has led not only to disappointment but also critical reflection. Like others, I frequently ask what went wrong, what misleading assumptions were made, and how realistic had our expectations been? The current protracted impasse between Israel and Palestinian negotiators since the Annapolis Conference in 2006, and the U.S. repudiation of negotiations inherent in its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel in 2018, have demonstrated the need for a re-think, for new ideas and new perspectives. During the past three years, I have been looking at other “holy” cities in Europe and Asia to see if they offer possibilities to researchers to reconfigure the study of Jerusalem and make policy recommendations which may assist a resolution of its conflicts.1 Based on this research, this article will focus on three of the cities studied: Banaras in northern India, Lhasa in Tibet, and George Town in Malaysia, and draw out some similarities and contrasts with Jerusalem. I will take the reader not only upon a geographical journey outside the Middle East, but also a methodological journey revealing how my thinking, perceptions and understandings changed during the course of the research.

A key question underpinning this research has been what features and characteristics are there in cities which lead to conflict, and, more importantly for this article, are there specific features of “holy” cities which lead to specific kinds of conflicts? All cities are arenas of contestation, but in trying to understand the conflicts in Jerusalem, we should also be examining the extent to which Jerusalem is a holy city, not only to three religions, but also to the three oldest monotheistic religions whose traditions are derived and intertwined with each other. In commencing this research, I started with four features which could be said to delineate a city as a “holy” city and which share a potential for conflict. Clearly the presence of important holy sites in a city is a key feature. When they are claimed by one or more religious communities, they are also a cause of conflict between them. An additional component to this feature is the centrality of the holy site in the foundation myths, rites, and doctrines of the religion claiming the site. The more central the site, the greater the sense of threat any encroachment or change in its traditional use will be perceived.2 In Jerusalem, the conflict over the Haram al-Sharif is a constant example of how holy sites engender religious conflicts.

A second feature of holy cities is the presence of long established and powerful clerical hierarchies. Their status is such that they can resist attempts by the state to encroach on religious property and religious activities and they can mobilize large numbers of the faithful inside and outside the state in which they are located. A third significant feature of holy cities is the existence of revenue streams, derived from sources such as endowments, donations, and entry fees, which are independent of state control, and allow a religious community a degree of autonomy in providing welfare and educational services to their members. Equally important is the fourth feature which is the role of international connections which emerge not only from diasporic networks but also from the role of the holy sites and their custodians in the rite of pilgrimage. Again, the more central that pilgrimage site is to a religion, the greater number of pilgrims there will be, which, in many cases, will lead to more international support for the position of the religious leaders and the hosting religious community.3 In this way, pilgrimage is not only a religious rite but also has a political economy angle in that it draws in revenue and political solidarities. Although due to Israeli restrictions and the absence of a peace agreement, the Muslim community in Jerusalem has less opportunity to avail themselves of this pattern, the Christian and Jewish communities have been freer to exploit it.

Within this framework of four major features with which to examine the religious nature of conflicts in cities, I also found it necessary to identify triggers and catalysts of conflicts taking place “on the street.” These can be termed Flashpoints and there are three Flashpoints which offer a way of highlighting patterns of potential conflict. The first is Timing Flashpoints. The most obvious example of these are when there is a conjunction of festivals of the different religions, or anniversaries of the birthday or death of a founder or other significant personages on the same day or same period. In this situation, worshippers compete for priority on the streets or over access to public places where they can carry out their rituals. Such conjunctions can be coordinated between religious leaders and the city authorities but often disruptions occur and lead to heated responses and sometimes violence.

A good example is the management of crowds of worshippers in Jerusalem during particular festivities. During Ramadan, the Friday prayers in the Haram al-Sharif can attract up to 250,000 Muslim worshippers crowded into a very small space and with highly congested points of entry and exit. During the Jewish “High Holy Days” of New Year and Tashlich, crowds of some thirty thousand Jews can file through the Old City towards the Wailing Wall. Similarly some fifty to sixty thousand Christian worshippers will flock to the courtyard in front of the church of the Holy Sepulchre over Easter.4 All these festivities make the Israeli security and police services jumpy. When they combine to fall upon the same days, the tendency has been to severely curtail them.5

Place Flashpoints are largely related to the use and access to holy sites. When a site is contested by different religious communities, conflicts occur at access points, with security personnel filtering and controlling the people wishing to enter. The possibility of a conflict is enhanced when those carrying out such checkpoints are not sanctioned by the religious custodians of the site. In addition, most religious sites are in older parts of a city with narrow twisting streets where the tension around these checkpoints can be aggravated by congestion. Groups of worshippers are slowed down by bag checks causing queues to back up along alleyways, blocking entrances and intersections.6 Anyone familiar with Jerusalem’s Old City will recognize this phenomenon and how the jostling good humor can suddenly turn aggressive and angry when provoked by an Israeli checkpoint or settler activity. Other Place Flashpoints can be found in “transition” zones, that is, residential or retail areas straddling different religious or ethnic communities within a city through which worshippers must pass in order to reach their holy site. Access routes become areas of contestation as their use is dominated by one religious community or another depending on the day of workshop or feast day. The Maghrabi Ascent incident of 2007 is another example of a Place Flashpoint. While not a holy site, the controversy over how reconstruction should proceed exacerbated the conflict over the control of the Haram and the Old City.7 Over three thousand Israeli police and security officers – estimated to be between 100 and 150 percent larger than the routine number – were required to deal with the threat to public order it caused.8

The third category is People Flashpoints. The presence and behavior of religious extremists and zealots can provoke an angry reaction against both their religious community and their property. This can take the form of deliberate anti-social behavior, such as immodest dress, noise, insults or damage to property such as breakage, theft, and graffiti. It can also take the form of the disruption of public order through demonstrations, the staging of public prayers in non-sanctioned areas, stone-throwing, and, in extremis, the planting of explosive devices, violent occupation, and hostage taking. In Jerusalem, we have seen recent examples of this in the way Israeli settlers have sought to pray as frequently and as regularly as possible on the Haram.9 As a result Palestinians have responded in the form of the murabitin and murabitat who follow the Jewish visitors round the enclosure en masse and harass them by constantly yelling Allahu Akbar directly in their faces.10

Equipped with these rudimentary tools to discern the religious nature of conflicts in cities, I travelled to Banaras in Uttar Pradesh state in India. One of the holiest cities in India, Banaras (also known as Varanasi, or Kashi – the City of Light) clings to the edge of a broad sweep of the Ganges, where people ritually bathe to purify themselves or to cremate and send their deceased loved ones down the river to the sea. It is the city of Shiva, one of the major gods of the Hindu pantheon, and a key “crossing point” or tirtha to the spiritual world. In a kind of cosmic short-cut, a person who dies in Banaras immediately attains salvation and will not be endlessly re-incarnated. As Barbara Eck, a leading scholar on Banaras, has written of Hindu perceptions of the city:

Kashi [Banaras] is the whole world they say. Everything on earth that is powerful and auspicious is here, in this microcosm. All of the sacred places of India and all of her sacred waters are here. All of the gods reside here, attracted by the brilliance of the City of Light.11

It is therefore a very great and ancient pilgrimage center. Tens of thousands of pilgrims daily complete sacred circumambulations of the city and its major temples and shrines which dot the landscape and line the bathing ghats along the riverbank. The city is replete with holy sites with the greatest meaning to Hinduism, with numerous clerical hierarchies supported by revenue streams derived from the control of religious property, and it has an international role which reverberates throughout the Hindu world.

At the same time, there is also a strong Muslim presence in Banaras. Over 30 percent of the population is Indian Muslim and the skyline is punctuated with tall elegant minarets mostly built in the Mughal period when northern India was ruled by Muslim emperors, kings, and dynasties. The Muslim community, predominantly Sunni, is the backbone of the critically important silk-weaving industry in the city. Banaras saris and brocades are internationally renowned for their high quality. Since Indian independence in 1947, the political status of the Muslims has been eroded by the rise of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism, which has called into question their status as equal citizens under the constitution. Militant Hindutva groups have also targeted many Muslim religious sites which were deemed to have been built on top of Hindu temples, a campaign which culminated in 1992 with the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and the attempt to replace it with a temple to Lord Ram, an avatar of Shiva.

Flashpoints in Banaras are many. Muslim and Hindu festivals constantly overlap, access routes to holy sites pass through residential areas of different religious communities – causing tensions when the processions of crowds are too large, too noisy or too slow – and religious zealots abound, encouraged by a federal and state governments pushing a Hindutva agenda. There have been many historical precedents for such conflicts but also a number of more contemporary occasions when religious festivities clashed in Banaras. In 1982 and 2006, Bengali Puja processions coincided with the Muslim Muharram and Eid al-Fitr.12 A particularly egregious Flashpoint is the Gyan Vapi mosque. This was constructed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the mid-seventeenth century on top of the main temple to Shiva in the city. In the decades following, Hindus built a replacement temple, the Vishweshwur, beside it. As a result, the mosque has been the target of Hindu militants and there is tight security in the narrow and congested alleyways around it.13 In 2006, an explosion carried out by an Islamic militant group at a popular nearby temple, the Sangkat Monchan, resulted in the deaths of over twenty people and severely threatened intercommunal relations.14 However, the good relations that existed between the chief priest of the temple and the mufti of the Muslim community in Banaras ensured that tempers were quickly cooled and reprisals were avoided, particularly with regard to attacks on the Gyan Vapi mosque. Joint public prayers took place and one particularly poignant event that reverberated throughout India featured hijab-clad young Muslim women giving a recital of the Hanuman Chalisa – a hymn to the temple’s deity – to demonstrate their commitment to communal harmony.15 The contrast with Jerusalem struck me. I began to look for reasons why this was the case and realized that simply searching for flashpoints was not necessarily the answer. Additional characteristics presented themselves as important issues to study. These included the extent to which the Indian state was a legitimate authority, economic interdependence between the two main communities, the highly fragmented pattern of property ownership, and demographic binaries which were in reality much less monolithic than they initially appeared.

Another stop on this journey is Lhasa in Tibet. Superficially, similarities between Lhasa and East Jerusalem are striking. Like East Jerusalem, Lhasa is under occupation and the role of religious sites, as well as the equally important role of the clergy that run these sites, has been central in both cases. Both cities serve as symbols of national identity and means of mobilizing resistance to occupation. Indeed, since the Chinese takeover of Lhasa and the expulsion of the Dalai Lama in 1959, Chinese authorities run all aspects of the city and, alongside comprehensive infrastructure projects, have incentivized the settling of large numbers of Han Chinese to the extent that they now comprise over half the population.16 Yet there is a major difference between the occupation of East Jerusalem and Lhasa: The Chinese government and the Han Chinese settler community in Lhasa do not claim prior possession or ownership of the major religious sites in Lhasa, such as,the Potala palace or the Jokhang temple. These sites are not contested in the same way as the Haram al-Sharif is in Jerusalem, or the Mezquita in Cordoba, and the Gyan Vapi mosque in Banaras. The conflict between the Chinese government and the Tibetan government-in-exile over the control of these sites is not because they are shared religious sites but because they are symbols of Tibetan independence. As Place Flashpoints they exist but the reasons for them are different.

As in Banaras, there are, nonetheless, similar Timing Flashpoints. Major festivals and also the birthday of the Dalai Lama are opportunities to celebrate Tibetan identity and its ancient culture and folklore when these expressions are normally strictly regulated by the Chinese authorities. People Flashpoints are less salient due largely to the removal of all senior clergy and the expulsion of many monks and nuns. The independence of the monasteries and convents has been completely compromised and the temples have been allowed to continue mainly as an exotic adjunct to the lucrative tourist trade.17 Of the two thousand five-hundred monasteries which were in existence in 1959, by 1962 only seventy remained.18 Some scholars have estimated that by the mid-1990’s over eleven thousand monks and nuns had been expelled, mostly for refusing to denounce the Dalai Lama. In the main Lhasa monasteries approximately 20 percent of the population had been expelled.19

Under this strict surveillance regime, sacred circumambulations of Tibetan Buddhist holy sites, known as kora, have taken on a new meaning. Performed by thousands of Tibetans in public spaces they assert a form of ethnic and religious identity and an appropriation of public space that the Chinese Communist Party have found difficult to control. They also provide platforms for political demonstrations. In 1987, a group of thirty monks from the Sera monastery used the kora of the Jokhang temple to stage a demonstration of loyalty to the Dalai Lama, chanting “Long Live His Holiness, the Dalai Lama,” and “Independence for Tibet.”20 In 1989, another large demonstration took place along the same kora, possibly the largest since the Chinese takeover in 1959, and in 2008 fifteen monks from the Sera monastery circumambulated the Jokhang temple and began to hand out leaflets shouting pro-independence slogans which led to large demonstrations and the imposition of martial law in Lhasa. It is clear that, denied the opportunity to express their political aspirations, Tibetans are utilizing the symbols and practices of religion to create space for agency. Indeed, in the absence of political institutions which can represent Tibetans, and in the light of the decapitation of the Tibetan Buddhist religious leadership, the “religious street” has become the arena for resistance both in terms of violent confrontations against the Chinese state but also in terms of daily acts of asserting difference and identity.

The final stop on this journey is George Town on the island of Penang in Malaysia. A former British colony, George Town is a relatively new city located at a strategic trading junction between India, China, the Indonesian archipelago, and Australasia.21 One result has been a highly heterogeneous and diverse range of religious communities which provides many points of possible friction between them – from religious sites lying adjacent to each other with possible conflicts over access, to religious festivities coinciding both spatially and temporally. In addition, the post-independence constitution privileges Malay-Muslim status over those of other communities and this constitutes a constant source of grievance for the Indian and Chinese communities.22

As this project has discovered, one feature of divided cities is the lack of economic interdependence between the different sectors of the population which can lead to competition over resources and state allocations. George Town also displays such an absence of mutually supporting economic activities. Nevertheless, despite all these factors which seem to point to conflict, religious tension in George Town is, and has been for some time, minimal. Even during the serious Malay-Chinese riots in Kuala Lumpur in 1969, George Town remained relatively peaceful.23 This was more than curious and it was for this reason that I decided to include the city in my study. Understanding the components of this ostensibly harmonious situation might offer new insights to the conflict-strewn streets of Jerusalem, Banaras, and Lhasa. In fact, it was the contrasting example of George Town in this research which helped put into place some new components in understanding conflicts in holy cities.

In the first place, despite the large number of religious sites belonging to a wide range of faiths in George Town, these sites are not central to any of the major faiths. George Town as a traditional departure point for haj pilgrims, the location of the oldest church in southeast Asia, and the location of the largest reclining Buddha outside India is important to members of respective religious communities in Penang, but is not on a par with Jerusalem as the most important site in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, or with Banaras as the city of Shiva. This “peripheral” characteristic of its religious sites ensures that any disputes regarding religious sites do not resonate much beyond the city and can, therefore, be addressed by local religious leaders and politicians without external interference. Secondly, while religious and ethnic diversity provides ample scope for multiple points of friction, it also dilutes the flammability of those frictions. In effect, and in contrast to the other cities studied, there are no major binaries along ethnic or religious lines in George Town that would assist political mobilization around religious sites. Instead there is a weak “Us” and a weak “Them.” Thirdly, George Town is spared the presence of a powerful cadre of religious priests acting as a political force. The only clerical hierarchy that could possibly act in an assertive way is the Muslim hierarchy, but it is both fragmented by ethnicity and also has been absorbed into the federal and state government structures to the extent that it does not act independently of the state.

Fourthly, property ownership by religious communities in George Town is highly fragmented and does not drive residential or employment segregation along sectarian or ethnic lines.24 In Jerusalem, for example, property of the city owned by religious foundations of the three faiths and by the Israeli state has assisted in the maintenance of geographical areas in the city defined by the exclusive presence of one community at the expense of others. In George Town, the correlation between a fragmented pattern of landownership and the absence of communally-defined residential segregation is quite high. Fifthly, despite the existence of secessionist movements in Penang during the 1960s, and despite the demographic and political differences between George Town and the central federal government, the legitimacy of the Malaysian state itself is not contested in George Town. Where the legitimacy of the state is contested, religious sites become both symbols of community strength and also community assets that need to be protected against the encroachments of the state and the dominant community which supports it.

Finally, in some cities with religious conflicts, the interventions of external actors can be a mixed blessing. While they offer a measure of international scrutiny and protection, strong external interest can exacerbate and complicate tensions which without them could be resolved locally. The presence of the United Nations and of large cohorts of media and diplomatic personnel place an unwelcome spotlight on what are often minor disputes over access and behavior around religious sites. While George Town is striving to position itself as a regional city of some importance, the kinds of interventions from external actors it is receiving are unlikely to contribute to religious conflicts in the city.

Returning to the city of Jerusalem we can now see how some of the broader contextual factors play an important role to religious conflicts in addition to the key religious features and most egregious Flashpoints initially laid out in this article. Drawing comparisons with Banaras, Lhasa, and George Town we can see how a better understanding of the conflict in Jerusalem can be obtained when we also include questions regarding: the legitimacy of the authority of the Israeli state, the spatial distribution of property ownership, the homogeneity or otherwise, economic segregation of the population, and the role of external actors. In this way, one can see that resolving such conflicts is multi-faceted and multi-leveled. A simple formula addressing Flashpoints will not be enough and, indeed, each city will have a particular and complex dynamic which needs to be closely read before any intervention can take place. Better coordination between the religious and political authorities over access routes to holy sites, for example, is not a solution to the religious conflicts in Jerusalem. It needs a much broader approach.

Ultimately, this research project has helped me see is that the search for peace in the city in the current context is a search for fool’s gold. Unless the tectonic plates of the current balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians shift dramatically, there can be little change in the ongoing low-level conflict situation. The trajectory of ongoing low-level conflict is based upon the contextual factors identified above. It is a trajectory in which Israel gradually encroaches upon non-Jewish holy sites and the Palestinian population is either gradually squeezed out of the eastern part of the city or absorbed into it as second-class residents. At the same time, the conflict will continue because while Israel can advance its position in East Jerusalem with relative impunity, it is not able to take any more far-reaching steps. It is not able to act as ruthlessly as the Chinese government has done in Lhasa, for example, where the Tibetan Buddhist leadership, the religious institutions, and holy sites are controlled by the state. Israel is not yet able to by dismantle the religious institutions which constitute the Islamic and Christian presence and thus the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem. The contrasting prospect of Israel returning property it has acquired in East Jerusalem and recognizing Palestinian sovereignty there is, however, very remote. Such an impasse means it is highly unlikely that there will be any semblance of a negotiated agreement over the city and the conflict will continue for the foreseeable future.



1 See Power, Piety, and People: The Politics of Holy Cities in the 21st Century; the Fellowship was for three years and comprised five case studies: Jerusalem, Cordoba, Banaras, Lhasa and George Town, online at socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/politics/research/projects/powerpietyandpeople/ (accessed 24 May 2019).

2 Ron E. Hassner, War on Sacred Grounds (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013).

3 These themes are explored in greater detail by the author in Contested Holy Cities: The Urban Dimension of Religious Conflicts (London: Routledge, 2019) and Power, Piety and People: Holy Cities in the 21st Century (New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming).

4 Michael Dumper, Jerusalem Unbound: Geography, History, and the Future of the Holy City (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 231. The figure was supplied by an Israeli security advisor to the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality during discussions organized by the Canadian sponsored project, the Jerusalem Old City Initiative.

5 Dumper, Jerusalem Unbound, 116.

6 A small subdiscipline in urban studies has emerged to consider the impact of this kind of urban configuration on social and political relations in highly congested cities. See Caroline Melly, Bottleneck: Moving, Building, and Belonging in an African City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), cited in Kenny Schmitt, “Jerusalem’s Ramadan Fridays and the Bottleneck-Optic,” in Michael Dumper, Contested Holy Cities: The Urban Dimension of Religious Conflicts (London: Routledge, 2019), 102–3.

7 The Israeli government presented its proposals as ”preventive archaeology.” See Report of the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO, 28 February 2007, UNESCO, Report of the Technical Mission to the Old City of Jerusalem (27 February–2 March 2007), 12 March 2007, cited in Michael Dumper and Craig Larkin, “The Politics of Heritage and the Limitations of International Agency in Contested Cities: A Study of the Role of UNESCO in Jerusalem’s Old City,” Review of International Studies 38, no.1 (2012): 25–52; online at www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-international-studies/article/... (accessed 24 May 2019). See also Dumper, Jerusalem Unbound, 168–9.

8 See Tom Najem, Michael J. Molloy, Michael Bell, and John Bell, eds. Track Two Diplomacy and Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Old City Initiative (London: Routledge, 2017).

9 International Crisis Group , “Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade Reveals the Limits of Israeli Counter-terrorism,”14 May 2018, online at www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/israe... (accessed 24 May 2019); and International Crisis Group, “How to Preserve the Fragile Calm at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade,” Crisis Group Middle East Briefing, no.48 (April 2016), online at www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/israe... (accessed 24 May 2019).

10 See BBC Panorama, “A Train that Divides Jerusalem,” 8.30 pm, 20 July 2015, Producer: Adam Wishart, online at vimeo.com/136422517 (27 May 2019). See also discussion in Kenny Schmitt, “Living Islam in Jerusalem: Faith, Conflict and the Disruption of Religious Practice” (PhD diss., University of Exeter, 2018).

11 Diana L. Eck, Banaras: City of Light (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 23.

12 Sandra B. Freitag, “State and Community: Symbolic Popular Protests in Banaras’s Public Arenas” in Culture and Power in Banaras: Community, Performance, and Environment, 18001980, ed. Sandra B. Freitag (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992). See also Philippa Williams, Everyday Peace? Politics, Citizenships, and Muslim Lives in India (Oxford: Wiley, 2015), 109–37.

13 Williams, Everyday Peace?, 69; Mushirul Hasan, Legacy of a Divided Nation: India’s Muslims since Independence (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001), 301. Over the past twenty-five years, security has been deployed around the Vishweshwur Temple and Gyan Vapi Mosque at an annual cost, estimated in 2009, of 10 million rupees.

14 See Sharat Pradhan, “Ancient Varanasi Keeps Its Peace, Proves its Mettle,” Combating Communalism, 12, no. 114 (9 March 2006), online at www.sabrang.com/cc/archive/2006/mar06/varanasi/media1.html (accessed 24 May 2019).

15 Prinyanka Upadhyay, Communal Peace in India: Lessons from Multicultural Banaras, in Religion and Security in South and Central Asia, ed. K. Warikoo (London: Routledge 2010), 90.

16 Andrew Martin Fischer, “‘Population Invasion’ versus Urban Exclusion in the Tibetan Areas of Western China,” Population and Development Review 34, no. 4 (December 2008): 632. See also Emily Yeh, Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013), 99.

17 John Powers, The Buddha Party: How the People’s Republic of China Works to Define and Control Tibetan Buddhism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 163ff.

18 Bradley Mayhew and Robert Kelly, Tibet (Singapore: Lonely Planet Publications, 2015), 262. The authors are referring to the TAR only. A study by the Tibetan government in exile reported on the destruction of 6,254 monasteries and nunneries in all Tibetan areas.

19 Jose Ignacio Cabezon, “State Control of Tibetan Buddhist Monasticism in the People’s Republic of China,” in Chinese Religiosities: Affliction of Modernity and State Formation, ed. Mayfair Mei-hui Yang (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 284.

20 Robert Barnett, Lhasa: Streets with Memories (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010); and Mayhew and Kelly, Tibet, 262. See the recollections of a tulku, or reincarnated llama, Dr. Lobsang Tensing, who was present at the scene, in Mikel Dunham, Buddha’s Warriors: The Story of the CIA-backed Tibetan Freedom Fighters, the Chinese Invasion, and the Ultimate Fall of Tibet(London: Penguin Books, 2004), 401–3.

21 An overview of the historiography of early Penang can be found in Judith A. Nagata, “Heritage as History: Plural Narratives on Penang Malays,” Asia Research Institute, Working Paper Series no. 173, online at www.ari.nus.edu.sg/wps/wps12_173.pdf (accessed 24 May 2019). See Francis Hutchinson, “Situating Penang in Asia and Malaysia,” in Catching the Wind: Penang in a Rising Asia, ed. Francis Hutchinson and J. Saravanamuttu (Singapore: Institute of South East Asian Studies, 2013).

22 United States Department of State, Report on International Religious Freedom.

23 J. Saravanamuttu, Conflict and Compromise in Inter-Religious Issues in Malaysia, Israel Journal of Conflict Resolution: 1, no. 1 (Spring 2009), online at pconfl.biu.ac.il/files/pconfl/shared/final_full_text_0.pdf#page=89 (accessed 24 May 2019).

24 Lim Chee Han “The Housing Market in Penang Today,” Penang Monthly (January 2015): 68–69.