The CHAMS, or CHAM PEOPLE (Cham : Urang Campa, Vietnamese : người
Chăm or người Chàm, Khmer : ជនជាតិចាម), are an
ethnic group of Austronesian origin in
Southeast Asia . Their
contemporary population, a diaspora is concentrated between the
Kampong Cham Province in
Phan Rang–Tháp Chàm , Phan
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City and
An Giang Province in Southern
An additional 4,000
Chams live in
Thailand , who had
Rama I 's reign. Recent immigrants are mainly students
and workers, who preferably seek work and education in the southern
Islamic Pattani , Narathiwat , Yala , and Songkhla provinces. Cham
people represent the core of the
Muslim communities in both Cambodia
From the 2nd to the mid-15th century the
Champa , a
contiguous territory of independent principalities in central and
southern Vietnam. They spoke the
Cham language , a Malayo-Polynesian
language of the Austronesian language family .
Chams and Malays are
the only sizable
Austronesian peoples , that had settled in Iron Age
Southeast Asia among the more ancient Austroasiatic
* 1 History
* 1.1 Vietnamese invasion
* 1.2 Encounter with
* 1.3 Religious history and change
* 1.4 Advent of the Vietnamese period
* 1.5 21st century
* 2 Culture
* 3 Martial art
* 4 Religion
* 5 Notable
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 7.1 Bibliography
* 8 External links
Historical extent of the Kingdom of
Champa (in green) around
1100 CE Depiction of fighting Cham naval soldier against the
Khmer, stone relief at the
Austronesian origin, patterns and chronology of migration remain
debated and it is assumed, that the
Cham people arrived in peninsular
Southeast Asia via
Borneo . As mainland
Southeast Asia had been
populated on land routes by members of the Austroasiatic language
family , such as the
Mon people and the
Khmer people around 5,000
years ago, the
Chams were accomplished seafarers belonging to the
Austronesian marine migrants, that from 4,000 years BP populated and
soon dominated maritime
Southeast Asia . Earliest known records of
Cham presence in
Indochina date back to the second century CE.
Maritime trade was the essence of a prosperous economy as population
centers around the river outlets along the coast controlled the
import/export of continental Southeast Asia. Acquisition of territory
has not been the subject of concern. The size of
Champa was during its
heyday in the 9th and 10th century not substantially larger than
during the formative period.
Cham folklore includes a tradition of a creation myth in which the
founder of the first Cham polity was a certain
Lady Po Nagar . Coming
from humble peasant origin somewhere in the Dai An Mountains, Khánh
Hòa Province , spirits assisted her as she traveled to
China on a
floating log of sandalwood where she married a man of royalty with
whom she had two children. She eventually returned to
Champa "did many
good deeds in helping the sick and the poor" and "a temple was erected
in her honor" as people venerate her as their patroness.
Champa principalities underwent like countless other political
Southeast Asia the process of Indianisation , who since
the early common era as a result of centuries of socio-economic
interaction adopted and introduced cultural and institutional elements
of pre-Islamic India. From the 8th century onward trade and shipping
of India came to be increasingly controlled by Muslims from such
regions as Gujarat. Islamic ideas became a part of the vast tide of
exchange, treading the same path as
Cham people picked up these ideas by the 11th century. This
can be seen in the architecture of Cham temples, which shares
similarities with the one of the Angkor Temples. Ad-Dimashqi writes in
1325, "the country of Champa... is inhabited by Muslims and idolaters.
Muslim religion came there during the time of Caliph
Ali , many Muslims who were expelled by the Umayyads and by Hajjaj
, fled there".
Daoyi Zhilüe records that at Cham ports, Cham women were married
by Chinese merchants to whom they frequently came back to after
trading voyages. A Chinese merchant from
Quanzhou , Wang Yuanmao,
traded extensively with
Champa and married a Cham princess.
In the 12th century, the Cham fought a series of wars with the Khmer
Empire to the west. In 1177, the Cham and their allies launched an
attack from the lake
Tonlé Sap and managed to sack the Khmer capital.
In 1181, however, they were defeated by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII
Between the rise of the
Khmer Empire around 800 and the Vietnamese
people 's territorial push south from
Jiaozhi and, later, Đại
Champa began to shrink. In the
Cham–Vietnamese War (1471) ,
Champa suffered serious defeats at the hands of the Vietnamese, in
which 120,000 people were either captured or killed, and the kingdom
was reduced to a small enclave near
Nha Trang with many
ENCOUNTER WITH ISLAM
A number of Cham also fled across the sea to Malay Peninsula and as
early as the 15th century, a Cham colony was established in
Sunni Islam there as the
Malacca Sultanate was
Muslim since 1414. The King of
Champa then became an ally
Johor Sultanate ; in 1594,
Champa sent its military forces to
fight alongside Johor against the Portuguese occupation of
Between 1607 and 1676, one of the
Champa kings converted to
became a dominant feature of Cham society. The
Chams also adopted the
Jawi alphabet .
Historical records in
Indonesia showed the influence of Queen
Muslim Princess from the Kingdom of
toward her husband, Kertawijaya, the Seventh King of
, so that the royal family of the
Majapahit Empire eventually
converted to Islam, which finally lead to the conversion to
the entire region.
Chams Princess tomb can be found in
the site of the capital of the
Majapahit Empire . In Babad Tanah Jawi
, it is said that the king of
Brawijaya V has a wife named Dewi
Anarawati (or Dewi Dwarawati), a
Muslim daughter of the King of Champa
Chams had trade and close cultural ties with the maritime
Srivijaya , and
Majapahit then in the
Malay Archipelago .
Another significant figure from
Champa in the history of
Indonesia is Raden Rakhmat (Prince Rahmat) who's also known as Sunan
Ampel , one of
Wali Sanga (Nine Saints), who spread
Java . He
is considered as a focal point of the
Wali Sanga , because several of
them were actually his descendants and/or his students. His father is
Maulana Malik Ibrahim also known as Ibrahim as-Samarkandy ("Ibrahim
Asmarakandi" to Javanese ears), and his mother is Dewi Candrawulan, a
Champa (Chams) who's also the sister of Queen Dwarawati.
Sunan Ampel was born in
Champa in 1401 CE. He came to
Java in 1443 CE,
in order to visit his aunt Queen Dwarawati, a princess of
married to Kertawijaya (
Brawijaya V), the King of
Majapahit Empire .
Local legend says that he built the Great
Mosque of Demak (Masjid
Agung Demak ) in 1479 CE, but other legends attribute that work to
Sunan Kalijaga .
Sunan Ampel died in Demak in 1481 CE, but is buried
Ampel Mosque at
Surabaya , East
The Cham were matrilineal and inheritance passed through the mother.
Because of this, in 1499 the Vietnamese enacted a law banning marriage
between Cham women and Vietnamese men, regardless of class. (Tạ 1988
, p. 137) The Vietnamese also issued instructions in the capital to
Chams within the vicinity. More attacks by the Vietnamese
continued and in 1693 the
Champa Kingdom's territory was integrated as
part of Vietnamese territory.
Ming dynasty in
China fell, several thousand Chinese
refugees fled south and extensively settled on Cham lands and in
Cambodia. Most of these Chinese were young males, and they took Cham
women as wives. Their children identified more with Chinese culture.
This migration occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Vietnam War , a sizeable number of
Chams migrated to
Peninsular Malaysia, where they were granted sanctuary by the
Malaysian government out of sympathy for fellow
Muslim brothers; most
of them have now assimilated with Malay cultures.
RELIGIOUS HISTORY AND CHANGE
Chams participated in defeating the Spanish invasion of
Cambodian king Cau Bana Cand Ramadhipati launched the
Cambodian–Dutch War to expel the Dutch. The Vietnamese Nguyen Lords
toppled Ibrahim from power to restore Buddhist rule.
Vietnam invaded and conquered
Cambodia granted refuge
to Cham Muslims escaping from Vietnamese conquest.
Cham who migrated to
Sulu were Orang Dampuan.
in commerce with each other which resulted in merchant
Sulu where they were known as Orang Dampuan from the 10th-13th
centuries. The Orang Dampuan were slaughtered by envious native Sulu
Buranuns due to the wealth of the Orang Dampuan. The Buranun were
then subjected to retaliatory slaughter by the Orang Dampuan.
Harmonious commerce between
Sulu and the Orang Dampuan was later
restored. The Yakans were descendants of the Taguima-based Orang
Dampuan who came to
Sulu from Champa.
Sulu received civilization in
its Indic form from the Orang Dampuan.
The trade in
Vietnamese ceramics was damaged due to the plummet in
trade by Cham merchants after the 1471 Vietnamese invasion of
Vietnam's export of ceramics was also damaged by its internal civil
war, the Portuguese and Spanish entry into the region and the
Portuguese conquest of
Malacca which caused an upset in the trading
system, while the carracks ships in the
Malacca to Macao trade run by
the Portuguese docked at Brunei due to good relations between the
Portuguese and Brunei after the Chinese permitted Macao to be leased
to the Portuguese.
ADVENT OF THE VIETNAMESE PERIOD
In the 1700s and 1800s Cambodian based
Chams settled in
Further expansion by the Vietnamese in 1720 resulted in the total
annexation of the
Champa kingdom and dissolution by the 19th century
Minh Mạng . In response, the last
king, Pô Chien, gathered his people in the hinterland and fled south
Cambodia , while those along the coast migrated to Trengganu
Malaysia ). A small group fled northward to the Chinese island of
Hainan where they are known today as the Utsuls . Their refuge in
Cambodia where the king and his people settled and were scattered in
communities across the
Mekong Basin . Those who remained in the Nha
Trang, Phan Rang, Phan Rí, and
Phan Thiết provinces of central
Vietnam were absorbed into the Vietnamese polity. Cham provinces were
seized by the Nguyen Lords.
In 1832 the Vietnamese Emperor Minh Mang annexed the last Champa
Kingdom. This resulted in the Cham
Muslim leader Katip Suma, who was
Kelantan , declaring a
Jihad against the Vietnamese.
The Vietnamese coercively fed lizard and pig meat to Cham Muslims and
cow meat to Cham Hindus against their will to punish them and
assimilate them to Vietnamese culture. Flag of the FLC – Front
de Libération du Champa, which was active during the
In the 1960s various movements emerged calling for the creation of a
separate Cham state in Vietnam. The Liberation Front of
– Le Front pour la Libération de Cham) and the Front de Libération
des Hauts plateaux dominated. The latter group sought greater alliance
with other hilltribe minorities.
Initially known as "Front des Petits Peuples" from 1946 to 1960, the
group later took the designation "Front de Libération des Hauts
plateaux" and joined, with the FLC, the "Front unifié pour la
Libération des Races opprimées" (
FULRO ) at some point in the 1960s.
Since the late 1970s, there is no serious Cham secessionist movement
or political activity in
Vietnam or Cambodia.
The Cham community suffered a major blow during the
Khmer Rouge rule
Cambodia . The
Khmer Rouge targeted ethnic minorities like Chinese
, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese and Cham people, with the Chinese suffering
the biggest death toll (over 200,000) among the ethnic minorities,
followed by the Cham, and then the Thai. The Cham suffered the biggest
death toll overall. Around 100,000 Cham out of a total Cham population
of 250,000 died in the genocide.
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Muslim Cham girl in
Châu Đốc Map of the
distribution of the Cham in southeast Asia today
The majority of Cham in
Vietnam (also known as the Eastern Cham) are
Hindu while their Cambodian counterparts are largely
Muslim . A
small number of the Eastern Cham also follow
Islam and to a lesser
Buddhism . A number emigrated to
France in the late
1960s during the
Vietnam War .
The majority (88%) of
Chams who reside in
Cambodia are Muslim, as
Hainan . The isolation of Cham Muslims in central
Vietnam resulted in an increased syncretism with
Buddhism until recent
restoration of contacts with other global
Muslim communities in
Malaysia has some Cham immigrants and the link between the
the Malaysian state of
Kelantan is an old one. The Malaysian
constitution recognises the Cham rights to Malaysian citizenship and
Bumiputra status, and the Cham communities in
Malaysia and along
the Mekong River in
Vietnam continue to have strong interactions.
Around 98,971 Cham are estimated to live in Vietnam.
Acehnese people of
Indonesia , are the
descendants of Cham refugees who fled after defeat by the Vietnamese
polity in the 15th century.
According to a National Geographic article published by journalist
Adam Bray, Vietnamese government fears that evidence of
influence over the disputed area in the South
China Sea would bring
attention to human rights violations and killings of ethnic minorities
Vietnam such as in the 2001 and 2004 uprisings, and lead to the
issue of Cham autonomy being brought into the dispute, since the
Cham people in a war in 1832 , and the Vietnamese
continue to destroy evidence of Cham culture and artefacts left
behind, plundering or building on top of Cham temples, building farms
over them, banning Cham religious practices, and omitting references
to the destroyed Cham capital of Song Luy in the 1832 invasion in
history books and tourist guides. The situation of Cham compared to
ethnic Vietnamese is substandard, lacking water and electricity and
living in houses made out of mud. The Cham activist organisation
"International Office of Champa" republished Bray's article on their
website Cham Today. Cham Muslims in
villages in An Giang province (An Phú , Châu Phú , Châu Thành
district , Tân Châu town ). A mosque in Da Phuoc village , An
Phu district , An Giang province.
The Cham in
Vietnam are officially recognised by the Vietnamese
government as one of 54 ethnic groups. However, according to the Cham
adovcacy group International Office of
Champa (IOC-Champa) and Cham
Muslim activist Khaleelah Porome, both Hindu and
experienced religious and ethnic persecution and restrictions on their
faith under the current Vietnamese government, with the Vietnamese
state confisticating Cham property and forbidding Cham from observing
their religious beliefs. Hindu temples were turned into tourist sites
against the wishes of the Cham Hindus. In 2010 and 2013 several
incidents occurred in Thành Tín and Phươc Nhơn villages where
Cham were murdered by Vietnamese. In 2012, Vietnamese police in Chau
Giang village stormed into a Cham Mosque, stole the electric
generator. Cham Muslims in the Mekong Delta have also been
economically marginalised, with ethnic Vietnamese settling on land
previously owned by
Cham people with state support.
A Cambodian Cham
Muslim dissident, Hassan A Kasem, a former military
helicopter pilot who was both persecuted and imprisoned by the Khmer
Rouge and fought against Vietnamese invasion, denounced
trying to position itself as the saviour of
Cambodia from Khmer Rouge
rule and wrote that
Vietnam has deceived the west into thinking of it
as a "magnanimous liberator" when it invaded
Cambodia and ousted the
Khmer Rouge when in fact
Vietnam used the war to benefit its own
interests such subjecting Cambodian financial assets and national
treasures to pillaging and theft, settling border disputes to its own
advantage, trying to destroy Cambodian nationalist feeling against
Vietnam, benefiting from the mostly Khmer on Khmer violence by the
Khmer Rouge and setting up its own Communist puppet government to rule
Cambodia People's Party (CPP) with Vietnamese soldiers
secretly remaining behind in
Vietnam to prop up the puppet government
and Vietnamese officials pretending to be Khmer continuing to direct
the government as their puppet. The Cham activist organisation
"International Office of Champa" republished Hassan's article on their
website Cham Today.
The Cham Suleiman Idres Bin called for independence of
Vietnam and advocated for international intervention similar as to how
East Timor independence was implemented by the United Nations.
Muslim human rights activist Musa Porome and his daughter
Khaleelah Porome live in America and advocate for Cham rights against
the Vietnamese government.
An attempt at
Salafist expansion among the Cham in
Vietnam has been
halted by Vietnamese government controls, however, the loss of the
Chams has been to be benefit of
Tablighi Jamaat .
The Cham shielded and always observed their girls attentively,
placing great importance on their virginity. A Cham saying said "As
well leave a man alone with a girl, as an elephant in a field of
The Cham Muslims view the karoeh (also spelled KAROH) ceremony for
girls as very significant. This symbolic ceremony marks the passage of
a girl from infancy to puberty (the marriageable age), and usually
takes place when the girl is aged fifteen and has completed her
development. If it has not taken place, the girl cannot marry since
she is "tabung". After the ceremony is done the girl can marry.
Circumcision to the Cham was less significant than karoeh.
The Cham culture is diverse and rich because of the combination of
indigenous cultural elements (plains culture, maritime culture, and
mountain culture) and foreign cultural features (Indian cultures and
religions such as Buddhism; early Han Chinese influences; Islam) (Phan
Xuan Bien et al. 1991:376). The blend of indigenous and foreign
elements in Cham culture is a result of ecological, social, and
historical conditions. The influences of various Indian cultures
produced similarities among many groups in
Southeast Asia such as the
Cham, who traded or communicated with polities on the Indian
subcontinent. However, the indigenous elements also allow for cultural
distinctions. As an example, Brahmanism became the Ahier religion,
while other aspects of influence were changed, to adapt to local Ahier
characteristics and environment. The blending of various cultures has
produced its own unique form through the prolific production of
sculptures and architecture only seen at the
Champa temple tower
Champa temples provide a wealth of information about Cham
history, art, and construction techniques, through analysis and
interpretation of architecture, styles, and inscriptions.
In the legend (tambo) of
Minangkabau people (West
Sumatra ), there is
a figure of a warrior who holds the title of Harimau Campo or "Tiger
Champa ", in addition to other names. Harimau Campo along with
Datuak Suri Dirajo (
Padang Panjang ), Kambiang Utan (
Thailand ), and Anjiang Mualim (
formulate the concept of Minangkabau Martial Art called
Silek or Silat
Silat Minangkabau ). Kambiang Utan, Kuciang Siam, and Anjiang
Mualim are equally in status with Harimau Campo, they are immigrants
from foreign lands to the Minangkabau region in former times. Until
the present time, the name of Harimau Campo still touted in the
sasaran silek (padepokan silat / silat training grounds) at
Minangkabau as one of the bases of their martial arts movements,
including In the famous Indonesian Action Movie:
Merantau , The Raid:
Redemption , and
The Raid 2 .
Southeast Asia The temples at Mỹ Sơn
are one of the holiest of Cham sites The Cham decorated their
temples with stone reliefs depicting the gods such as garuda fighting
the nāga (12th-13th century CE)
The first recorded religion of the
Champa was a form of Shaiva
Hinduism , brought by sea from India.
Hinduism was the predominant
religion among the
Cham people until sixteenth century. Numerous
temples dedicated to
Shiva were constructed in the central part of
what is now Vietnam. The jewel of such temple is
Mỹ Sơn . It is
often compared with other historical temple complexes in Southeast
Asia, such as
Java in Indonesia,
Angkor Wat of Cambodia,
Bagan of Myanmar and Ayutthaya of Thailand. As of 1999,
Mỹ Sơn has
been recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Muslim merchants of Arab and of Persian origin stopped along the
Vietnam coast en route to China,
Islam began to influence the
civilisation. The exact date that
Islam came to
Champa is unknown, but
grave markers dating to the 11th century have been found. It is
generally assumed that
Islam came to mainland
Southeast Asia much
later than its arrival in
China during the
Tang dynasty (618–907)
and that Arab traders in the region came into direct contact only with
the Cham and not others.
A syncretic form of
Islam that blends indigenous practices of
matriarchy, ancestor veneration and
Hinduism is practised by the Cham
Bani, who predominantly live in Vietnam's Bình Thuận and Ninh
Thuận Provinces . The Cham Bani worship in thang magik, the main
communal setting for rituals. They also celebrate the month of
Ramadan ), during which ancestors are called to return home
for veneration, and the acar (priests) stay at the thang magik for one
month and adhere to a vegetarian diet.
However, a small band of Chams, who called themselves Kaum Jumaat,
follow a localised adaptation of Islamic theology, according to which
they pray only on Fridays and celebrate
Ramadan for only three days.
However, some members of this group have joined the larger
community in their practices of
Islam in recent years. One of the
factors for this change is the influence by members of their family
who have gone abroad to study Islam.
The approximately 60,000 Cham Hindus do not have a strict caste
system, although previously they may have been divided between the
Nagavamshi Kshatriya and the
Brahmin castes, the latter of which
would have represented a small minority of the population. Hindu
temples are known as Bimong in Cham language, but are commonly
referred to as tháp "stupa ", in Vietnamese. The priests are divided
into three levels, where the highest rank are known as Po Adhia or Po
Sá, followed by Po Tapáh and the junior priests Po Paséh. In Ninh
Thuận, where many of the Cham in
Vietnam reside, Cham Balamon (Hindu
Cham) number 44,000 while Cham Bani (
Muslim Cham) number close to
31,000. Out of the 34 Cham villages in Ninh Thuận, 23 are Balamon
Hindu, while 11 are Bani or Muslim. In Binh Thuan province, Balamon
number close to 25,000 and Bani Cham around 10,000. There are four
pure Cham villages and nin mixed villages in Bình Thuận Province.
Les Kosem - Cham separatist leader in
* Musa Porome - Cham rights activist
* P\'an-Lo T\'ou-Ts\'iuan
Amu Nhan expert on Cham music
* Chế Bồng Nga , the last strong king of Champa
Chế Linh , Vietnamese singer
* Dang Nang Tho , sculptor and director of Cham Cultural Center,
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* ^ Philip Taylor (2007). Cham Muslims of the Mekong Delta: place
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* ^ Taylor, Philip (December 2006). "Economy in Motion: Cham Muslim
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well leave a man alone with a girl,' runs their proverb, 'as an
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more important ceremony than circumcision is celebrated by these
Muslim Cham when their daughters reach the age of about fifteen. It is
called karoeh ( closing, closure). Until her karoeh has taken place, a
girl is tabung, and cannot think of marriage or its equivalent.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to CHAM PEOPLE .
* Britannica Cham people
* Mitsraym, Islam. Cham Muslims: Liberate Not Expatriate.
OnIslam.net. 15 September 2012. Retrieved: 26 February