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From cross to crescent : the religious conversion of Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong

Authors Shaik Abdul Kader, Sithi Hawwa
Issue Date 2000
Summary The last decade has seen a sharp rise in the presence of female domestic workers from economically disadvantaged third world countries such Philippines, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand in economically advanced countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, the Middle East and Hong Kong. These women contribute to the economic development of labor sending countries through remittances of their hard earned income that support their devastated economies in paying off the national debts and the labor receiving countries through governing the task of social reproduction of the household that entitles the local women to take up paid work outside home. Migration however brings its own consequences. Apart from creating a severe brain drain in the host countries and it is accompanied by harsh public criticisms and physical and sexual abuse against migrant workers and imported or altered cultural and religious elements. This study aims examine the religious influences of Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong - especially their conversion from Christianity to Islam. Filipinas are known for their religiosity as many come from a devout Catholic background. As previous studies indicate Filipino migration has often strengthened their religious beliefs, but a small fraction of them are turning to Islam despite centuries of difficult Muslim-Christian relations in their home country. Religious conversion is found to result primarily from their romantic involvement or inter marriage with Pakistani men. The first part of the thesis analyses the conversion behavior in the light of the historic, socio-political and economic situation of their respective countries and religious and cultural expectations of their community. The second part focuses on the conversion processes that occur as a result of interplay between various social agents such as family, friends, network, employers and advocates. The positive and negative impacts of conversion on the women are explored.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2000
Language English
Format Thesis
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