Obscure International Cham Group Sends New Year Wishes

Though offering goodwill wishes to Chams worldwide on the oc­casion of the Champa New Year last week, the Delegation for Cham Na­tion’s Issues, which was form­ed in 2006 in Kompong Chhnang pro­vince but registered in Sweden in 2007, remains a little-known organization in Cambodia.

Questions e-mailed to the organization last week went unanswered and efforts to contact the organization’s Cambodian affiliate, the Cham National Federation of Cambodia, were unsuccessful.

But in a series of e-mails yesterday, the organization did provide several documents, one of which said the Cham delegation strives “to protect and promote the rights of the Cham people and help break their political and social marginalization.”

According to the organization, the delegation was formed during the first Cham Nation’s Confe­rence in Kompong Chhnang to rep­re­sent Chams around the world in matters as wide-ranging as economics and social problems.

Sos Kamry, mufti of Cambodia, confirmed yesterday that there had in fact been a meeting of Chams in 2007, but he knew little about it.

“I’d heard the Chams held a congress in Kompong Cham but I don’t know the details about that be­cause the congress was not very open,” he said yesterday. “I don’t know about this federation because they are not Cambodian Muslims and I am not a Cham.”

In addition to branches in Aus­tralia, Sweden and Cambodia, the Cham delegation has a Ministry of In­terior registration number, a mailing address in Phnom Penh and a phy­sical address in Kom­pong Chh­nang’s Kompong Tra­lach district where it works with Cham-language schools, Cham community learn­ing centers and a cultural center.

According to the delegation, the Cham Nation’s Conference is composed of Chams from Cambodia, Viet­nam, Thailand, Malaysia, Aus­tralia, Europe and the US.

 

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