British Raj to China's Hong Kong: The rise of madrasas for ethnic Muslim youth

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Abstract

The madrasa, the Islamic institution of learning, has for centuries occupied a central role in the transmission of religious knowledge and the shaping of the identity of the global Muslim community (umma). This paper explores the sharp rise in the number of madrasas in contemporary Hong Kong. It examines, in particular, how South Asian Muslim youth, after receiving a modern education in a conventional day school, remain faithful to their religious tradition by spending their evenings at a madrasa studying and memorizing the Qur'an. Engaging with the stereotypical bias of Islamophobia and national security concerns regarding the ties of madrasas to Islamic terrorist movements over the last decade, this paper argues that the burgeoning South Asian madrasa networks have to be understood in the context of Hong Kong's tripartite Islamic traditions—South Asian Muslim, Chinese Hui Muslims, and Indonesian Muslims—and within each Muslim community's unique expression of Islamic piety. Furthermore, the paper also identifies factors contributing to the increase in madrasas in Hong Kong after the transition from British colonial rule to China's resumption of sovereign power in 1997. Copyright © 2014 Cambridge University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-432
JournalModern Asian Studies
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Citation

Ho, W.-Y. (2014). British Raj to China's Hong Kong: The rise of madrasas for ethnic Muslim youth. Modern Asian Studies, 48(2), 399-432.

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