Islam in Hong Kong

Muslims and Everyday Life in China’s World City


Paul O’Connor

ISBN : 978-988-8139-57-6

Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology Hong Kong Culture and Society

September 2012

232 pages, 6″ x 9″, 9 b&w illus.

  • HK$395.00

Also available in Paperback HK$220.00

More than a quarter of a million Muslims live and work in Hong Kong. Among them are descendants of families who have been in the city for generations, recent immigrants from around the world, and growing numbers of migrant workers. Islam in Hong Kong explores the lives of Muslims as ethnic and religious minorities in this unique post-colonial Chinese city. Drawing on interviews with Muslims of different origins, O’Connor builds a detailed picture of daily life through topical chapters on language, space, religious education, daily prayers, maintaining a halal diet in a Chinese environment, racism, and other subjects. Although the picture that emerges is complex and ambiguous, one striking conclusion is that Muslims in Hong Kong generally find acceptance as a community and do not consider themselves to be victimised because of their religion.

Paul O’Connor lectures in anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“An unexpected gem. An innovative book which explores the everyday lived reality of Muslim minorities in Hong Kong. The contemporary focus is framed by a fascinating history of South Asian Muslims which reaches back into the early 19th century. This beautifully wrought study sheds a great deal of light on a range of issues impacting Muslim minorities: from the extent of hybridity—adapting basketball spaces to cricket—to the challenge of eating halal in a culinary culture where pork is ubiquitous! Young Muslims in Hong Kong face racism and their inability to access Chinese language schools has huge implications for employment and social mobility. However, Islam is respected and they are not seen through a security lens. In all, a hopeful study.” —Philip Lewis, author of Islamic Britain and Young, British and Muslim

“There has long been a need for a book-length account of Muslims in Hong Kong; this readable and informative book admirably fills the void. Anyone interested in how Muslims make their lives and practice their faith in the Chinese city of Hong Kong should definitely read it.” —Gordon Mathews, author of Ghetto at the Center of the World: Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong

“In this insightful and fascinating book, O’Connor walks us through the bustling streets of Hong Kong, where space, civility, hope and freedom are created every day by the territory’s diverse Muslims. It provides a rare glimpse into an imperfect, but perhaps ‘good enough’ cosmopolitanism, lived in the schools, homes, shops and lives of ordinary people. Amidst the worry and panic about young Muslims in diaspora as either problems or victims, this is a refreshing and much-needed account of the valuable ways a global city deals with difference. An essential text for scholars and students of youth, diversity and contemporary multiculturalism.” —Anita Harris, author of Young People and Everyday Multiculturalism