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Title: Cultural resonance & spiritual capital : the role of religion in framing Malaysia's humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis
Authors: Muhammad Idaffi Othman
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science::International relations
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: The practice of humanitarianism is often dominated and discussed via the prism of Western secularism. Albeit increasingly, the significant role that factors like religion can play in framing humanitarianism is often cold-shouldered and hence, relatively less explored. This paper examines the role of religion in framing news outputs pertaining to humanitarian crisis, and the framing of the humanitarian practice itself. These two kinds of framing, collectively referred to as “the dual framing of humanitarianism”, are examined using the case study of the Rohingya refugee crisis and Malaysia’s response to it. First, this paper explains the motivations of amalgamating the two disparate elements – faith and humanitarianism – from the macro perspective. Second, it proves that religion (i.e: Islam) has had a vital role in Malaysia’s foreign policy, particularly in its humanitarian response towards the Rohingya displaced communities who sought refuge in parts of Malaysia. Third, it delves into the motivations of framing news outputs about the Rohingya refugee crisis via a religious frame through expounding on the intersections of agenda-setting theory, framing theory and priming theory. These effects of the religious framing of news outputs pertaining the Rohingya refugee crisis is referred to in this paper as “cultural resonance”. Fourth, it probes into the motivations of framing the humanitarian practice via a religious frame by positing that religion can be a form of “spiritual capital”. Humanitarian actors can capitalize on religion as one, religion can be a potent source of value construction, two, religion has a large capacity for resilience and recovery of the displaced community, and three, when seen as one transnational community of believers, can be a potent force of humanitarian assistance mobiliser. This paper also posits that the dual religious framing of the Rohingya refugee crisis can work abreast to produce optimal humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. Finally, this paper briefly discusses the challenges that may arise from using religion as frames.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Theses

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