- Based on IPAC’s monitoring of social media since mid-2015, as well as our interviews with several dozen Indonesian migrant workers and Muslim leaders in Hong Kong, these workers seem to have started out as nominal or non-devout Muslims and then undergone a rapid religious transformation while living abroad.
For some, the difficulties of a migrant’s life — principally dislocation and isolation — inspired a spiritual rebirth. They experienced a double form of alienation, from both home and religion. Some said that they had felt humiliated, for example, cooking pork for non-Muslim employers. “Could you imagine having to touch pork while wearing a niqab?” one of them told me, referring to the full-face veil.