Thursday, April 19, 2012

Invited Seminar: Islam and Everyday Life in Hong Kong

Paul James O’CONNOR
“Islam and Everyday Life in Hong Kong: Religious Practice, Ethnicity, and Belonging"
13 April 2012

Having conducted his fieldwork of Islamic practice in Hong Kong, Paul James O' Conner focuses on the everyday life of various Muslim groups. His presentation is organized in three parts: 1). A brief introduction of Islam; 2). The significance of everyday life; 3). Religious practice. The third part contains rich information of history, demography, ethnicity, sense of belonging, and Halal foodways among Muslims in Hong Kong.

For O' Conner, the most interesting point lies in the great variation of those Muslims' social backgrounds and life experiences. He then outlined five categories as follows: the South Asians (mainly Indians and Pakistanis), the Chinese (mainly Hui and Uygur), the Indonesians (mainly female domestic helpers), the Africans (some are asylum seekers), and the Middle Easters (mostly business persons). In addition, O' Conner provided five case studies of individual life experiences to illustrate the variation and complexity of being a Muslim in Hong Kong, in which some important issues were addressed such as prejudice, freedom, and Halal foodways. Overall, this talk is very informative in providing a picture of diverse Islamic world in Hong Kong. Also, it provoked some interesting discussions, especially the practice of homosexuality among Indonesian female Muslims.

WU, Huanyu
PhD Student

The book by Paul James O’CONNOR on Islam and Hong Kong will be published by HKU Press in Autumn 2012. To know more about his research, please visit his blog

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