Taiwanese Muslim: The History of Islam in Taiwan

Taiwanese Muslim: The History of Islam in Taiwan

Introduction of Taiwanese Muslim

The first Muslims are believed to have settled in Taiwan in 1683 along with Qing Dynasty. However, the majority assimilated into the mainstream culture and gradually stopped practicing Islam. The second was coming from Mainland China during the Civil War periods. Among them are also includes high ranking officers and ministers (Bao Kongxi etc). Their numbers are quite high and some of them still maintain Islam tradition until 2-3 generations after. See the complete story of Taiwanese Muslim here.

Taiwanese Muslim are commonly referred to as Hui Muslims who represented about 20,000 of the 60,000 soldiers from civil war who settled on the island. Based on a 2012 report from the PEW Research Center, Muslims now account for 0.2 percent of the overall population of 23 million people in Taiwan.

Today’s Challenges

International Islamic News Agency (IINA) reported that Dr. Abdul Wahhab Nurwalli, the Assistant Secretary-General of World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in June 2010 has revealed that because of the Muslims of Taiwan were ignored by their brethren; they had to revert to other religions, such as Buddhism. He stated that there are 50,000 Taiwanese Muslims, but most of them are not even aware that they are Muslims.

Taipei Grand Mosque

However, though the Muslim population is greatly limited, Taiwan ranked second in the world in the Religious Diversity Index, after Singapore, and it is a high tolerance place to live. The environment in Taiwan influences how young Taiwanese Muslim live because they are pushed to prioritize the culture rather than religion. Aljazeera report stated that ignorance about Islam stems from a general lack of interest, but is also evident in the perception that there is little to be gained from religion when success in Chinese’s culture is defined by hard work, wealth, and status. Thus, unaware Taiwanese of their Islamic faith represents on their culture, for instance believing to not eat pork because their ancestors to do so.

Recent Migration Wave

The majority of Taiwanese Muslim today is relatively recent converts. The arrival of Muslim foreigners plays a major role in the Taiwan’s Muslim society. Today there are more than 300,000 Muslim foreigners living in Taiwan for study, work, or marry with local Taiwanese. Their origins are from Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Philippines, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Jordan, and elsewhere, making the number of Muslims in Taiwan is growing rapidly.

NTUST International Muslim Student Association

With a recent wave of migration, a modern social and religious landscape is steadily forming in Taiwan. A mixture of Islam with Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism in Taiwan is slowly disappeared with the new Muslim way of living through the amount of foreigners who come to Taiwan and marry local Taiwanese, who then convert to Islam. Nevertheless, although the number of Muslims in Taiwan keeps increasing, the amount of Halal venues, foods, products, and financial institution in Taiwan are still low and difficult to find.

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