With a Muslim community of 300,000 people, the former British colony has the amenities for Muslim travellers in place, writes Hanna Hussein
Known as one of the world’s most densely populated city, Hong Kong is a melting pot of culture even though 93 per cent of its 7.4 million population are ethnic Chinese.
Little did I know that there’s a strong Mus-lim community of 300,000 people. And one third of them are locals.
There are more than five mosques in Hong Kong and a huge number of halal restaurants, which undoubtedly make Hong Kong a Muslim-friendly destination.
Islam was introduced in Hong Kong during the British colony in the early 19th century. The earliest Muslim settlers were soldiers from India brought in by the British.
Later after Hong Kong developed into an important harbour, more and more Muslim immigrants came in. The British government respected the rights of Muslim communities and allocated land for mosques.
This was when the autonomous territory got its first mosque — Jamia Mosque in 1849. The small mosque, built at the Mid-Level of the famous Shelley Street in Central Hong Kong, also known as the ladder street where you can go on the world’s longest escalators, was expanded in 1915. The rectangular light green mosque features many elements of Islamic architecture including arched main entrance and Arabic-style arched windows on all sides.
It’s a very humble mosque and is protected under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordi-nance by the Government of Hong Kong.
Muslim travellers will find it convenient as it is strategically located near Old Town Cen-tral where one can explore the hidden gems of Street Arts and do a little shopping after.
At Nathan Road in Kowloon stands the city’s second mosque and the largest. Kow-loon Mosque and Islamic Centre, built in 1896, is a stunning white mosque featuring four 11m high minarets which mark the cor-ners of the upper terrace and extensive use of white marble on both the paving and facade.
It holds three prayer halls and a commu-nity hall, madrasah school and a library. The main prayer hall on the first floor is spacious and can accommodate up to 1,000 people. The women’s prayer hall on the upper floor surrounded by a terrace has a smaller space.
According to Saeed Uddin, Honorary Secretary of the Incorporated Trustee of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong, the mosque is able to accommodate 3,500 people at a time and it’s usually full especially during Friday prayers.
In Ramadan, he says more than 2,000 Muslims come for the breaking of fast and the terawikh prayer — a special prayer only performed in the holy month, while up to 5,000 people attend the Eid’ Fitri prayer.
The mosque also frequently holds pro-grammes and classes on the teaching of Islam, the Quran as well as Arabic language. An intermediate course on Islam for non Muslims is also held regularly.
In 2005, the mosque went through a reno-vation project to add facilities including the management and imam’s office as well as a big kitchen.
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