The Chams, or Cham people (Cham: Urang Campa,[4] Vietnamese: người Chăm or người Chàm, Khmer: ជនជាតិចាម), are an ethnic group of Austronesian origin in Southeast Asia. Their contemporary population is concentrated between the Kampong Cham Province in Cambodia and Phan Rang–Tháp Chàm, Phan Thiết, Ho Chi Minh City, and An Giang Province in Southern Vietnam. Including the diaspora, their total is about 400,000. An additional 4,000 Chams live in Bangkok, Thailand, who had migrated during 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. A large Cham diaspora also established in Malaysia following the turbulence during the Pol Pot regime, where they were quickly assimilated with the local Malay population. Cham people represent the core of the Muslim communities in both Cambodia and Vietnam.[5][6][7]

From the 2nd to the mid-15th century the Chams populated 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 mainland Southeast Asia among the more ancient Austroasiatic inhabitants.[8]

Urang Campa
Danses Cham
Cham women performing a traditional dance in Nha Trang, Vietnam
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 United States3,000
Cham, Vietnamese, Khmer, Malay
Predominantly Sunni Islam (Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Hainan, China), Hinduism (Vietnam), Buddhism and Animism
Related ethnic groups
Other Austronesian peoples
(especially Jarai, Rade, Acehnese)


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 Bayon

Austronesian origin, patterns and chronology of migration remain debated and it is assumed, that the Cham people arrived in peninsular Southeast Asia via Borneo.[9][10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13][14]

Cham folklore includes the creation of a 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.[15][16]

The Champa principalities underwent like countless other political entities of 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 Hinduism and Buddhism centuries before. 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. The Muslim religion came there during the time of Caliph Uthman... and Ali, many Muslims who were expelled by the Umayyads and by Hajjaj, fled there".

The Daoyi Zhilüe records that at Cham ports, Cham women were often married to Chinese merchants, who frequently came back to them after trading voyages.[17][18][19] A Chinese merchant from Quanzhou, Wang Yuanmao, traded extensively with Champa and married a Cham princess.[20]

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.

Vietnamese invasion

Between the rise of the Khmer Empire around 800 and the Vietnamese people's territorial push south from Jiaozhi and, later, Đại Việt, Champa began to shrink. At a disadvantage against Vietnam's army of 300,000 troops, the Chams 100,000 were no match. [21]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 Chams fleeing to Cambodia.[22][23] Champa was no longer a threat to Vietnam, and some were even enslaved by their victors. [24]

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 Malacca. The Chams encountered Sunni Islam there as the Malacca Sultanate was officially Muslim since 1414. The King of Champa then became an ally of the Johor Sultanate; in 1594, Champa sent its military forces to fight alongside Johor against the Portuguese occupation of Malacca.[23] Between 1607 and 1676, one of the Champa kings converted to Islam and it became a dominant feature of Cham society. The Chams also adopted the Jawi alphabet.[25]

Historical records in Indonesia showed the influence of Queen Dwarawati, a Muslim Princess from the Kingdom of Champa (Chams), toward her husband, Kertawijaya, the Seventh King of Majapahit Empire, so that the royal family of the Majapahit Empire eventually converted to Islam, which finally lead to the conversion to Islam of the entire region.[26][27][28] Chams Princess tomb can be found in Trowulan, the site of the capital of the Majapahit Empire.[29] 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).[26][27][28] Chams had trade and close cultural ties with the maritime kingdom of Srivijaya, and Majapahit then in the Malay Archipelago.

Another significant figure from Champa in the history of Islam in Indonesia is Raden Rakhmat (Prince Rahmat) who's also known as Sunan Ampel, one of Wali Sanga (Nine Saints), who spread Islam in 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 princess of 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 Champa who married to Kertawijaya (Brawijaya V), the King of Majapahit Empire.[26][27][28] 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 in Ampel Mosque at Surabaya, East Java.[30]

The Cham were matrilineal and inheritance passed through the mother.[31] Because of this, in 1499 the Vietnamese enacted a law banning marriage between Cham women and Vietnamese men, regardless of class.[32](Tạ 1988, p. 137)[33][34][35] The Vietnamese also issued instructions in the capital to kill all Chams within the vicinity.[36] More attacks by the Vietnamese continued and in 1693 the Champa Kingdom's territory was integrated as part of Vietnamese territory.[37]

When the Ming dynasty in China fell, several thousand Chinese refugees fled south and extensively settled on Cham lands and in Cambodia.[38] 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.[39]

During the 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.[37]

Religious history and change

Chams participated in defeating the Spanish invasion of Cambodia.

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.

After Vietnam invaded and conquered Champa, Cambodia granted refuge to Cham Muslims escaping from Vietnamese conquest.[40]

Cham who migrated to Sulu were Orang Dampuan.[41] Champa and Sulu engaged in commerce with each other which resulted in merchant Chams settling in 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.[42] The Buranun were then subjected to retaliatory slaughter by the Orang Dampuan. Harmonious commerce between Sulu and the Orang Dampuan was later restored.[43] The Yakans were descendants of the Taguima-based Orang Dampuan who came to Sulu from Champa.[41] Sulu received civilization in its Indic form from the Orang Dampuan.[44]

The trade in Vietnamese ceramics was damaged due to the plummet in trade by Cham merchants after the 1471 Vietnamese invasion of Champa.[45] 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.[46]

Advent of the Vietnamese period

In the 1700s and 1800s Cambodian based Chams settled in Bangkok.[47]

Further expansion by the Vietnamese in 1720 resulted in the total annexation of the Champa kingdom and dissolution by the 19th century Vietnamese Emperor, Minh Mạng. In response, the last Champa Muslim king, Pô Chien, gathered his people in the hinterland and fled south to 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.[48]

In 1832 the Vietnamese Emperor Minh Mang annexed the last Champa Kingdom. This resulted in the Cham Muslim leader Katip Suma, who was educated in Kelantan, declaring a Jihad against the Vietnamese.[49][50][51][52] 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.[53]

Bandera Front Alliberament Cham
Flag of the FLC – Front de Libération du Champa, which was active during the Vietnam War

In the 1960s various movements emerged calling for the creation of a separate Cham state in Vietnam. The Liberation Front of Champa (FLC – 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 of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge targeted ethnic minorities like Chinese, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese and Cham people, with the Chinese suffering the biggest figure of over 200,000 fled or died among the ethnic minorities, followed by the Cham, and then the Thai, though the Cham suffered the largest death toll in proportion to their population. Around 100,000 Cham out of a total Cham population of 250,000 died in the genocide.[54]

21st century

Cham Girl - Chau Doc - Vietnam
Young Muslim Cham girl in Châu Đốc
Cham People in Vietnam and Cambodia
Map of the distribution of the Cham in southeast Asia today

According to a National Geographic article published by journalist Adam Bray, Vietnamese government fears that evidence of Champa's influence over the disputed area in the South China Sea would bring attention to human rights violations and killings of ethnic minorities in Vietnam such as in the 2001 and 2004 uprisings, and lead to the issue of Cham autonomy being brought into the dispute, since the Vietnamese conquered 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.[55] The Cham activist organisation "International Office of Champa" republished Bray's article on their website Cham Today.[56]

Cham Muslims Cambodian
Cham Muslims in Cambodia
Mosque near Chau Doc, Vietnam
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 Muslim Chams have 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.[57] 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.[58]

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 Vietnam as 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, the Cambodia People's Party (CPP) with Vietnamese soldiers secretly remaining behind in Cambodia to prop up the puppet government and Vietnamese officials pretending to be Khmer continuing to direct the government as their puppet.[59] The Cham activist organisation "International Office of Champa" republished Hassan's article on their website Cham Today.[60]

An attempt at Salafist expansion among the Cham in Vietnam has been halted by Vietnamese government controls, however, the loss of the Salafis among Chams has been to be benefit of Tablighi Jamaat.[61]

The Muslim Acehnese people of Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, are the descendants of Cham refugees who fled after defeat by the Vietnamese polity in the 15th century.[4][62]


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 sugarcane."[63]

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.[64] 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.[65]. It is not practiced, only symbolic and performed with a toy wooden knife.

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 sites. The Champa temples provide a wealth of information about Cham history, art, and construction techniques, through analysis and interpretation of architecture, styles, and inscriptions.


"Relations between the Hanoi government and ethnic minorities are sensitive. In 2001 and 2004 massive human rights protests by hill tribes resulted in deaths and mass imprisonments. For some time after that, the Central Highlands were sealed off to foreigners."


Martial art

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 of Champa", in addition to other names. Harimau Campo along with Datuak Suri Dirajo (Padang Panjang), Kambiang Utan (Cambodia), Kuciang Siam (Siam or Thailand), and Anjiang Mualim (Gujarat) formulate the concept of Minangkabau Martial Art called Silek or Silat (Pencak 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,[67][68] including In the famous Indonesian Action Movie: Merantau, The Raid: Redemption, and The Raid 2.


My Son tower2
The temples at Mỹ Sơn are one of the holiest of Cham sites
National Museum of Vietnamese History18
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 Borobudur of 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.

As 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; however, grave markers have been found that date it to the 11th century. 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.[69] The Cham Bani worship in thang magik, the main communal setting for rituals.[69] They also celebrate the month of Ramuwan (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.[69]

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 Muslim Cham 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 [70] and the Brahmin castes, the latter of which would have represented a small minority of the population.[71] 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.[72] In Binh Thuan province, Balamon number close to 25,000 and Bani Cham around 10,000. There are four pure Cham villages and nine mixed villages in Bình Thuận Province.[73]

The majority of Cham in Vietnam (also known as the Eastern Cham) are Hindu while their Cambodian counterparts are largely Muslim.[74][75] A small number of the Eastern Cham also follow Islam and to a lesser degree Mahayana Buddhism. A number emigrated to France in the late 1960s during the Vietnam War.

Notable Chams

  • Les Kosem - Cham separatist leader in FULRO
  • 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
  • Ahmad Tony - Cham Extreme Razor Scooter Champion
  • Chế Linh, Vietnamese singer
  • Dang Nang Tho, sculptor and director of Cham Cultural Center, Phan Rang, Ninh Thuan Province
  • Inrasara (Mr Phu Tram), poet & author
  • Osman Hasan, Cambodian secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training

Data tables

Admixture analysis of the two populations from southern Vietnam.
Admixed populations Parental populations
MSEA1 (n = 890) WISEA2 (n = 983)
Cham (n = 59) 0.62405
0.629437 ± 0.256634
0.370563 ± 0.256634
Vietnamese (n = 70) 0.842972
0.839953 ± 0.56035
0.160047 ± 0.56035
admixture coefficient;
bootstrap average and standard deviation of the admixture coefficient were obtained by bootstrap with 1000 replications.
1 MSEA: Mainland Southeast Asia
2 WISEA: western island Southeast Asia
Source: Table 2, Page 7, He Jun-dong et al. (2012)[76]

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  53. ^ Choi Byung Wook (2004). Southern Vietnam Under the Reign of Minh Mạng (1820-1841): Central Policies and Local Response. SEAP Publications. pp. 141–. ISBN 978-0-87727-138-3.
  54. ^ The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective - Google Boeken. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  55. ^ Bray, Adam (16 June 2014). "The Cham: Descendants of Ancient Rulers of South China Sea Watch Maritime Dispute From Sidelines". National Geographic News. National Geographic. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  56. ^ Bray, Adam. "The Cham: Descendants of Ancient Rulers of South China Sea Watch Maritime Dispute From Sidelines". IOC-Champa. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015.
  57. ^ "Mission to Vietnam Advocacy Day (Vietnamese-American Meet up 2013) in the U.S. Capitol. A UPR report By IOC-Campa". 2013-09-14. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
  58. ^ Taylor, Philip (December 2006). "Economy in Motion: Cham Muslim Traders in the Mekong Delta" (PDF). The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology. The Australian National University. 7 (3): 238. doi:10.1080/14442210600965174. ISSN 1444-2213. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  59. ^ Kasem, Hassan A (9 October 2013). "Vietnam's hidden hand in Cambodia's impasse". Asia Times.
  60. ^ Kasem, Hassan A. "Vietnam's hidden hand in Cambodia's impasse". IOC-Champa. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015.
  61. ^ Féo, Agnès De. "Les musulmans de Châu Đốc (Vietnam) à l'épreuve du salafisme". Recherches en sciences sociales sur l'Asie du Sud-Est. moussons: 359–372.
  62. ^ Reid, Anthony (2006). Verandah of violence: the background to the Aceh problem. NUS Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-9971-69-331-2.
  63. ^ (the University of Michigan)Alan Houghton Brodrick (1942). Little China: the Annamese lands. Oxford university press. p. 264. Retrieved 28 November 2011. The Cham women have a high reputation for chastity, and, at any rate, they are closely watched and guarded. 'As well leave a man alone with a girl,' runs their proverb, 'as an elephant in a field of sugarcane.' There are, indeed, traces of matriarchate in the Cham customs, and women play an important part in their religious life. At her first menstruation a Cham girl goes into the
  64. ^ Special Operations Research Office. "Selected Groups in the Republic of Vietnam - The Cham". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  65. ^ (the University of Michigan)Henri Parmentier; Paul Mus; Etienne Aymonier (2001). Cham sculpture of the Tourane Museum, Da Nang, Vietnam: religious ceremonies and superstitions of Champa. White Lotus Press. p. 52. ISBN 974-7534-70-3. Retrieved 28 November 2011. A much 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.
  66. ^
  67. ^ Thesis: Seni Silat Melayu by Abd Rahman Ismail (USM 2005 matter 188)
  68. ^ Mid Jamal (1986). Filsafat dan Silsilah Aliran-Aliran Silat Minangkabau (Philosophy and Genealogy of Silat Minangkabau. CV. Tropic - Bukittinggi. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
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  70. ^ India's interaction with Southeast Asia, Volume 1, Part 3 By Govind Chandra Pande, Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy, and Culture, Centre for Studies in Civilizations (Delhi, India) p.231,252
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  72. ^ Interview with High Priest or Po Adhia of Ninh Thuan province and his assistant, 23 December 2011
  73. ^ Interview with priest or Po Guru near Ma Lam town, and the director of Binh Thuan Cham Cultural Center, Bac Binh district, 22 December 2011
  74. ^ "Cham - Introduction, Location, Language, Folklore, Religion, Major holidays, Rites of passage, Relationships, Living conditions". Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  75. ^ The Garland handbook of Southeast Asian music By Terry E. Miller, Sean Williams. p. 326
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External links

4th "Ali Demi" Battalion

The 4th "Ali Demi" Battalion (Albanian: Batallioni IV "Ali Demi", Greek: Δ' Τάγμα "Αλή Ντέμη") was a battalion under the 15th Regiment of Greek People's Liberation Army, founded during the Second World War. It comprised both from Cham Albanians and Greeks, of the region of Epirus and was established in May 1944.However, according to some historians, during the World War II occupation the majority of the elites of the Cham community had become corrupted by the occupying forces and the atmosphere against the local Greeks who had suffered under Germans, Italians and Chams, led to an explosive polarization which would have constrained any motivation for joint Greek-Cham resistance.

An Phú District

An Phú is a district of An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam on the border with Cambodia. An Phú juts out at the western edge of Vietnam into Cambodia. As of 2003 the district had a population of 178,613. The district covers an area of 226 km². The district capital lies at An Phú town.

Anti-Fascist Committee of Cham Immigrants

The Anti-Fascist Committee of Cham Immigrants was an organization created by Cham Albanians, when they were expelled from Greece, with the help of the newly established communist government of Albania. It was established, during the first wave of refugees, and it aimed to make Greece allow, the returning of Chams in their homes. They organized two congresses, adopted a memorandum and sent delegates in Greece and in European allies. After three years activity, the organization did not manage, neither to re-allocate Chams in Chameria, nor to internationalize the Cham issue. Greece did not acknowledge that EDES had expelled Chams, saying that they fled and that they could return, although this was impossible. The international community did not respond to Chams plea, but they acknowledged the humanitarion disaster. Since 1947, the Committee was charged with the normalization of living situations of Cham refugees in Albania. In 1951, Chams were forcibely given the Albanian citizenship and the Committee was disbanded. The Cham issue would regain momentum only in 1991, when the communist regime collapsed, and the National Political Association "Çamëria" was established.


Chaams is an Indian film actor who has appeared in Tamil language films. His birth name is Swaminathan. He has predominantly appeared in supporting roles, notably in Crazy Mohan dramas and playing one of the several leads in Palaivana Solai (2009) and Onbadhule Guru (2013).He has also appeared with G. Karthikeyan in TamizhThirai channel comedy show.

Cham Albanian collaboration with the Axis

During the Axis occupation of Greece between 1941 and 1944, large parts of the Albanian minority in the Thesprotia prefecture in Epirus, northwestern Greece, known as Chams (Albanian: Çamë, Greek: Τσάμηδες, Tsamides) collaborated with the occupation forces. Fascist Italian as well as Nazi German propaganda promised that the region would be awarded to Albania (then in personal union with Italy) after the end of the war. As a result of this pro-Albanian approach, many Muslim Chams actively supported the Axis operations and committed a number of crimes against the local population both in Greece and Albania. Apart from the formation of a local administration and armed security battalions, a paramilitary organization named Këshilla and a resistance paramilitary group called Balli Kombetar Cam were operating in the region, manned by local Muslim Chams. The results were devastating: many Greek as well as Albanian citizens lost their lives and a great number of villages was burned and destroyed. With the retreat of the Axis forces from Greece in 1944, most of the Cham population fled to Albania and revenge attacks against the remaining Chams were carried out by Greek guerrillas and villagers. When the war ended, special courts on collaboration sentenced 2,106 Chams to death in absentia. However, the war crimes remained unpunished since the criminals had already fled abroad. According to German historian Norbert Frei, the Muslim Cham minority is regarded as the "fourth occupation force" in Greece due to the collaborationist and criminal activities that large parts of the minority committed. According to the Lieutenant Colonel Palmer of the British Military Mission in Albania 2,000-3,000 collaborated in an organized manner, while a report of Pan-Epirotic EAM-Commission names 3,200 Cham collaborators that belonged to the Dino clan.

Cham Albanians

Cham Albanians, or Chams (Albanian: Çamë, Greek: Τσάμηδες Tsámidhes), are a sub-group of Albanians who originally resided in the western part of the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece, an area known among Albanians as Chameria. The Chams have their own peculiar cultural identity, which is a mixture of Albanian and Greek influences as well as many specifically Cham elements. The Chams were at the forefront of helping establish an Albanian national identity and played an important role in starting the renaissance of the Albanian culture in the 19th century. The Chams speak their own dialect of the Albanian language, which is a southern, Tosk Albanian dialect, considered one of the two most conservative dialects, the other being Arvanitika.

Following the Italian occupation of Albania in 1939, the Chams became a prominent propaganda tool for the Italians and irredentist elements among them became more vocal. As a result, on the eve of the Greco-Italian War, Greek authorities deported the adult male Cham population to internment camps. After the occupation of Greece, large parts of the Muslim Cham population collaborated with Italian and German forces. This fueled resentment among the local Greek population and in the aftermath of World War II the entire Muslim Cham population had to flee to Albania. Most Chams settled in Albania, while others formed émigré communities in Turkey and the United States, and today their descendants continue to live in these countries. Since the fall of Communism in Albania, Chams have campaigned for right of return to Greece and restoration of confiscated properties.

Cham issue

The Cham issue refers to a controversy which has been raised by Albania since the 1990s over the repatriation of the Cham Albanians, who were expelled from the Greek region of Epirus between 1944 and 1945, at the end of World War II, citing the collaboration of the majority of them with the occupying forces of the Axis powers. While Albania presses for the issue to be re-opened, Greece considers the matter closed. However, it was agreed to create a bilateral commission, only about the property issue, as a technical problem. The commission was set up in 1999, but has not yet functioned.


Chameria (Albanian: Çamëria; Greek: Τσαμουριά Tsamouriá; Turkish: Çamlık) is a term used today mostly by Albanians for parts of the coastal region of Epirus in southern Albania and the historical Greek region of Epirus, traditionally associated with an Albanian speaking population called Chams. Apart from geographical usages, in contemporary times within Albania the toponym has also acquired irredentist connotations. During the interwar period, the toponym was in common use and the official name of the area above the Acheron river in all Greek state documents. Today it is obsolete in Greek, surviving in some old folk songs. Most of what is called Chameria is divided between the Greek regional units of Thesprotia and Preveza, the southern extremity of Albania's Sarandë District and some villages in eastern Ioannina regional unit. As the Greek toponyms Epirus and Thesprotia have been established for the region since antiquity, and given the negative sentiments towards Albanian irredentism, the term is not used by the locals on the Greek side of the border.

Chameria Human Rights Association

Note: this page is about the association in the US, for the Cham Albanian association in Albania, see the National Political Association "Çamëria"The Chameria Human Rights Association (Albanian: Shoqëria për të drejtat e Njeriut, Çamëria) is a non-governmental organization, based in Washington, DC, United States, which protects and lobbies for the rights of Cham Albanians.

Democratic Foundation of Chameria

The Democratic Foundation of Chameria (Albanian: Fondacioni Demokratik Çamëria, Dutch: Democratische Stichting Cameria) was founded in 2006 in Hague, Netherlands and aims to resolve the issues created by the expulsion of Cham Albanians. Every year it organizes protests outside the International Court of Justice, where it intends to bring the Cham issue, if the governments of both countries will not find a solution.

Expulsion of Cham Albanians

The expulsion of Cham Albanians from Greece was the forced migration of thousands of Cham Albanians from parts of the Greek region of western Epirus after the Second World War to Albania, at the hands of elements of the Greek Resistance; the National Republican Greek League (EDES) (1944) and EDES veteran resistance fighters (1945).In the late Ottoman period, tensions between the Muslim Chams and the local Greek Orthodox Christian population emerged through communal conflicts that continued during the Balkan Wars, when part of the historic region of Epirus, then under Ottoman rule, became part of Greece. During the First Balkan War, a majority of Cham Albanians, though at first reluctant, sided with the Ottoman forces against the Greek forces and formed irregular armed units and burned Christian Orthodox-inhabited settlements, with only few Albanian beys willing to accept Greek rule in the region. As a response to this activity Greek guerilla units were organized in the region. After the Balkan wars and during the interwar period, the Muslim Chams were not integrated into the Greek state, which adopted policies that aimed to drive them out of their territory, partly through their inclusion in the Greek-Turkish population exchange, although this was not realized because of objections by Italy's fascist regime. Furthermore, the attempted settlement of Greek refugees from Asia Minor within the area and bouts of open state repression in the 1920s and 1930s, in particular by the authoritarian Metaxas regime, led to tensions between the Cham minority and the Greek state. Meanwhile, Fascist Italian propaganda initiated in 1939 an aggressive pro-Albanian campaign for the annexation of the Greek region and the creation of a Greater Albanian state. As such with the onset of the Second World War, a majority of the Muslim Cham population collaborated with the Axis troops, either by providing them with indirect support (guides, local connections, informants etc.) or by being recruited as Axis troops and armed irregulars. The latter cases were responsible for atrocities against the local Greek populace. Overall, the Muslim Chams were sympathetic to Axis forces during the war and benefited from the Axis occupation of Greece. Armed Cham collaborator units actively participated in Nazi operations that resulted in the murder of more than 1,200 Greek villagers between July and September 1943, and, in January 1944, in the murder of 600 people on the Albanian side of the border. There were also moderate elements within the Muslim Cham community who opposed hatred of their Greek neighbors. A limited number of Muslim Chams enlisted in Albanian and Greek resistance units in the last stages of World War II.Collaboration with the Axis fueled resentment by the Greek side and in the aftermath of World War II, most of the Muslim Cham community had to flee to Albania. In the process between 200 and 300 Chams were massacred by EDES forces in various settlements, while 1,200 were murdered in total. Some Albanian sources increase this number to c. 2,000. In 1945-1946, a special collaborator's court in Greece condemned a total of 2,109 Cham Albanians in absentia for collaboration with the Axis powers and war crimes. The estimated number of Cham Albanians expelled from Epirus to Albania and Turkey varies: figures include 14,000, 19,000, 20,000 and 25,000. According to Cham reports this number should be raised to c. 35,000. Atrocities were not encouraged by the EDES leadership and the British mission, but both were unable to prevent them. Several local Greek notables promised safe passage and offered to host all those Chams who would abandon the Nazi side.Moreover, according to Albanian sources an additional 2,500 Muslim Cham refugees lost their lives through starvation and epidemics on their way to Albania. After the members of the community settled in Albania, the People's Republic of Albania did not treat them as victims but took a very distrustful view towards them and proceeded with arrests and exiles. The Cham Albanians were labelled as "reactionaries" and suffered a certain degree of persecution within Albania, probably because they were Greek citizens, their elites were traditionally rich landlords, they had collaborated with the Axis forces and they had been involved in anti-communist activities.

Kampong Cham Province

Kampong Cham (Khmer: ខេត្តកំពង់ចាម, IPA: [kɑmpɔːŋ caːm], "Port of the Chams") is a province (khaet) of Cambodia located on the central lowlands of the Mekong River. It borders the provinces of Kampong Chhnang to the west, Kampong Thom and Kratié to the north, Tbong Khmum to the east, and Prey Veng and Kandal to the south. Kampong Cham was officially divided into two provinces on 31 December 2013 in what was seen by many as a political move by the ruling party. All land west of the Mekong remained Kampong Cham while land east of the river became Tbong Khmum province. Prior to this division, Kampong Cham extended eastward to the international border with Vietnam, was the eleventh largest province in Cambodia, and with a population of 1,680,694, was the most populous province in Cambodia. Its capital and largest city is Kampong Cham.


Mdoukha (Arabic: مدوخا‎) is a village and municipality situated 72 kilometres (45 mi) east of Beirut in the Rashaya District, Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon. The village's population is Sunni. A significant majority of the population are also Lebanese Canadians, of which 60% live in London, Ontario. Mdoukha is one of the most beautiful villages in the Rachaya District of Lebanon. It lies in the Beqaa Valley, about 15 Km northwest of Mount Hermon, 70 Km from the capital Beirut and lies 1150 m above sea level. Villages that surround Mdoukha are Kherbet Rouha , Ayn Araab, , Al-Berih, Bakka , Al-Rafid and Kfardenis.

Mdoukha has a few natural and historic destinations. For example, on top of Mdoukha's tallest mountain, there is a castle that dates back 8000 years ago; it is said that there is gold under the castle and is waiting for someone to claim it. Also there is place where endless ground water is spewing out and it is safe and clean to drink.

Villages that surround Mdoukha are: Kherbet Rouha, Ayn Araab, Al-Berih, Bekka, Al-Rafid and Kafardenis. Mdoukha's population is approximately 3300 people. With modern architecture and the building of new homes, Mdoukha has never lost its historical image represented by the old houses. Mdoukha's family names include: Abdo , Abdulhamid , Abdulkarim , Assaf, Birani , Borhot , Chahbar , Chams , Hage , Hammoud , Jambein , Meddoui , Merhi , Moussa, Elnazali , Omar , Soufan , Zabian and Youssef .

Milan Chams

Milan Chams is a director of Nepali films. He has also and produced the film Paschatap.

Napoleon Zervas

Napoleon Zervas (Greek: Ναπολέων Ζέρβας; May 17, 1891 – December 10, 1957) was a Greek general and resistance leader during World War II. He organized and led the National Republican Greek League (EDES), the second most significant (after EAM), in terms of size and activity, resistance organization against the Axis Occupation of Greece.

National Political Association "Çamëria"

Note: this page is about the association in Albania, for the Cham Albanian association in the US, see Chameria Human Rights Association

The National Political Association "Çamëria" (in Albanian: Shoqëria Politike Atdhetare "Çamëria"), a pressure group advocating the return of the Chams to Greece, receipt of compensation and greater freedom for the Orthodox Chams in Greece, was founded on 10 January 1991.This association holds a number of activities every year, with the help of the Party for Justice and Integration, as well as other organizations. Every year, on 27 June, is organized in Konispol the Cham March, remembering the expulsions of Cham Albanians.

Shams al-Baroudi

Shams al-Muluk Gamil al-Baroudi (Arabic: شمس الملوك جميل البارودي‎) is a retired Egyptian actress who was active in Egyptian films and also Lebanese films during the 1960s and 1970s. Lisa Anderson of the Chicago Tribune described her as "one of the most beautiful and glamorous of Egypt's actresses".

Tosk Albanian

Tosk (Albanian: toskë/toskërisht) is the southern dialect group of the Albanian language, spoken by the ethnographic group known as Tosks. The line of demarcation between Tosk and Gheg (the northern dialect) is the Shkumbin River. Tosk is the basis of the standard Albanian language.

Major Tosk-speaking groups include the Myzeqars of Myzeqe, Labs of Labëria and Chams of Çamëria. The Arvanites of Greece and Arbëreshë of Italy are descendants of Tosk-speaking settlers, as are the original inhabitants of Mandritsa in Bulgaria. In North Macedonia, there were approximately 3000 speakers in the early 1980s.


The Tsamikos (Greek: Τσάμικος, Tsamikos) or Kleftikos (Greek: Κλέφτικος) is a popular traditional folk dance of Greece, done to music of 3/4 meter.

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