Abstract

Based on a broader ethnographic study with Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh residents of Hong Kong, this article examines the role of minority religions, specifically Islam, in the 2019 Hong Kong protests. While the protests were dominated by the debates over the identities of Hong Kongers versus mainland Chinese, they also produced discussions over the positions and experiences of Hong Kong's “ethnic minorities,” many of whom are religious minorities. Often racialized and seen as outsiders by Han Hong Kongers, ethnoreligious minorities were reluctant to take sides out of worry for their livelihoods and fear of further marginalization. This sharply contrasts with the visibility of Christian communities in the protests. Christian leaders were publicly involved in prayer meetings and other forms of support for the protests, while the followers of minority religions either stayed away or organized prayer sessions in small, private settings. However, around October 2019, after a series of events described in this article, minorities either found themselves drawn into the protests or took the opportunity to participate to claim their Hong Konger identity. This held the potential to expand the political discourse and create a unified multicultural, multiracial identity of Hong Kongers. However, such aspirations were crushed against the walls of cultural-religious representation, and minorities felt that they remained misunderstood and unacknowledged as fellow citizens.

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