The Muslims of Kathmandu : a study of religious identity in a Hindu Kingdom
This is a study of religious identity in Kathmandu, Nepal. The aim is to establish the circumstances and conditions that define religious identity and the contexts in which it is expressed. Religious identity operates on various levels. At the macro-level, the Muslims are defined by the state as a marginal group. At the same time, the Hindu state has also shown itself to be tolerant of Muslims: the Hindu state not only intervened in communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims but also showed its support for Muslims at a time of crisis, which then affirmed the loyalty of the Muslims to the state. However, the acquiescent attitude of the Muslims towards the Hindus does not hide the subtle attempts to differentiate themselves from the Hindus, and their response and resistance to Islamic reform clearly show that their secular interests are closely linked to their religious ones. Finally, this thesis also shows that religious identity is changeable. It presents case studies of religious conversion from one religion to another, from one sect to another or from one level of commitment to another.