Islam is not often associated with Cambodia, but has a long and significant history in the region. Islam was probably first introduced to Mainland Southeast Asia by Arab sea traders as early as the 7th century CE. In Cambodia, the religion became associated with two Muslim minority groups, the Malay, who immigrated for trade, and the Cham, who were escaping the southward movement of the Vietnamese.
Although never a dominant religion in Cambodia, it was not without influence. Malay Muslims dominated sea trade throughout the region during the 15th and 16th centuries and both Malay and Cham enjoyed increasing economic and political power in the Cambodian court into the mid-17th century. Their influence culminated in the conversion of the Cambodian king, Reameathipadei I (also spelled Ramathibodey I), to Islam in the early 1640s. He was the only Cambodian king to convert to Islam.
Very few Cambodian Muslims live in Long Beach. A much larger congregation is located in nearby Santa Ana. More information on Islam in Long Beach and Santa Ana will be added with time. We invite anyone who would like to contribute to this website to please contact us at the Historical Society of Long Beach, 562-424-2220, email: camchap.org.
Kersten, Carool (2006) Cambodia's Muslim King: Khmer and Dutch Sources on the Conversion of Reameathipadei I, 1642-1658. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 37(1):1-22.
Chandler (1992) A History of Cambodia. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.
Vickery, Michael (1977) Cambodia after Angkor, the Chronicular Evidence for the Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centures. UMI.