Presently I am teaching a course on Islam in China, including the largest Muslim groups in China, the Chinese-speaking Hui people and the Turkic-speaking Uyghur people. I have two goals with this course: to broaden the students’ perspectives of what constitutes China, and also to broaden the students’ views on who in the world practices Islam.
My first encounters with Islam were actually in China. After I arrived in China in 1995 to study in Guangzhou, I, like many other Americans, was very impressed by the diversity of the metropolis. I found and began to frequent restaurants operated by Hui (many Hui run superb beef noodle shops) and Uyghurs (Uyghur food is very similar to the foods of Eurasia: nan flatbread, kebabs, and rice pilaf). Continue reading