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Buddhism is the dominant religion among Cambodians; however a small percentage who came to the United States were Christian or Muslim.

Most Cambodians arriving in Long Beach between 1975 and the mid-1980s were Theravada Buddhists, one of the main branches of Buddhism found predominately in Southeast Asia. A small number of Cambodians were Christian or Muslim. Today, Long Beach is home to several Buddhist temples, or wats, that vary in terms of the congregations' ethnic background and the monks' observance of strict to more lenient practices. There is also a growing number of Cambodians practicing various forms of Christianity, which has led to churches in the area organizing specialized services and programs for Khmer-speaking members. Muslims are not numerous in Long Beach, however there is a Cambodian-Muslim Association located about 20 miles east of Long Beach in Santa Ana.


This section provides some historical and cultural background on the major religions present in Cambodia in 1975: Theravada Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, and Popular Religious traditions. The focus of this section is the recreation of Khmer Buddhist and Popular practices, and the growth of Christianity. Many more congregations and religious activities exist in Long Beach than are covered here. More will be added to this section over time.


Suggestions for further reading are provided at the end of each section. We invite anyone who would like to contribute documents, books, video, or photographs to the CamCHAP archive or website to please contact us at the Historical Society of Long Beach, 562-424-2220, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..