Sacralizing The Works, Engaging Inter-Cultural Relations: Stories Of Indonesian Female Muslim Workers In Hong Kong

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Alhamdulillah (thanks to God), I made my hijrah (literally migration, from sinful to righteously pious -better- Muslim). I had intended to do so for years, but finally made it since last year. It’s been a year now,” said a niqab-ed Indonesian female Muslim worker in her monthly religious gathering at victoria Park of Hong Kong, in October 28th, 2018. This report will discuss Hong Kong as a “battle life” destination for hundreds of thousands of female Muslim women of Indonesia. It will explore dimensions of humans’ interests of economy, religion, traditions, politics and so forth that were all forged in the exercises of female subjectivity, and specifically focus on narratives of Indonesian female Muslim workers that significantly accounted religion for engagements in the battle life.

 

This report was based on data collected through two visits to Hong Kong for direct observations and interviews in 2018 and 2019, and followed with series of online interviews. Informants consisted of tens of female Muslim workers affiliating to various associations: religious, regional, ethnic, and even political. 

 

It will argue that despite economic interests dominated their considerations to engage the battle life, religion/Islam was inherently underlying the workers’ engagements, including in inter-cultural relations. Locating their religiosity in multifaceted Islam, the female workers represented “the religious of the grassroot” through which they, including those who made hijrah, perceived Hong Kong as their “host-home”.

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