At the time of its inauguration, the membership of RISEAP was opened to Muslim organizations in countries that lie to the east of Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, and to the west of Hawaii. Malaysia and Indonesia were the only two countries within RISEAP that had a Muslim-majority population. The Muslims in all other RISEAP members countries live as minorities.

Undoubtedly, the Muslims in India and Sri Lanka were (and still are) a minority. So why were these countries not included within RISEAP? It was not an issue that was tabled for deliberation. One reason could have been the concern that it was important to keep the resources of RISEAP from being over-stretched. There was always the issue of financing to be kept in mind.

Even within the defined territorial perimeters of RISEAP, it is noticeable that the Muslims in countries like China, Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea have never applied for membership to join RISEAP. Admission of the Muslim organizations from China had proved difficult because Taiwan was already a founding member of RISEAP. The leaders of China’s Muslim organizations felt the need to demand that the membership of the Taiwanese Muslim organizations be revoked before they were prepared to consider membership in RISEAP. In response , the RISEAP leadership has consistently held the position that admission of China’s Muslim organizations must not be at the expense of the Taiwanese Muslim organizations . RISEAP, being a religious organization that encourages its members to maintain their spiritual bond with one another, should not have to play to the tune of China’s Governments.

Member map-17-17