Jihad between Taipei and Mecca: A Liberating Force for Racialized ”Ethnic Minority”

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 4:10 PM
Columbia 12 (Washington Hilton)
Hyeju Janice Jeong, Duke University
This paper examines evocations of "jihad" amongst Chinese Muslim (Hui) religious and political notables situated in between Saudi Arabia and Taiwan in the early years of the Cold War. Jihad in wartime is conventionally associated with militaristic agendas legitimatized by a particular interpretation of religious doctrine, fueled by grievances of a marginalized social strata. On the contrary, for the privileged, so-called "ethnic minority" Chinese Muslims who traversed between Taipei and Mecca through the pilgrimage in the aftermath of the Communist victory in mainland China, appeals to jihad served to bring together the two countries allied with the U.S. block, and to further strengthen interpersonal, religious and diplomatic relations between the two. The paper thus situates the language of anti-communist jihad, which simultaneously accompanied notions of solidarity, in the context of broader Sino-Islamic networks constituted by circulations of persons, capital, texts and diplomatic goodwill between Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. It further posits that as the PRC reaches out to countries in Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East through its nascent One Belt One Road project, it is in dire need of an overarching ideology of alliance beyond that defined by negativism (i.e. anti-imperial or anti-communist), which encompasses Muslim societies both within and outside its borderlines.
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