ABSTRACT

How are Muslims "made" in China? This chapter suggests that while they are born at home (or in hospitals in urban areas) they may very well be made in the school. There are at least two types of schools for Muslims in China: state-sponsored and mosque-sponsored (the latter which sometimes receive state funding). As yet, there are few if any non-Muslim private schools in China to which Muslims have access, with the exception of wealthier urban Muslims. Although I and others have written extensively about Muslim minority identity and identification in China, few have addressed in particular the role of education and the transmission of Islamic knowledge in the "making" of Muslims in China. School socialization is taking an increasing role in the making of Muslims, in that the socialization provided by the family (and the mosque) is no longer adequate for full participation in a Han-dominated society. State schooling provides that bridge between family and Chinese society, but in the process confronts Islamicization, raises contradictions, and at the present often runs counter to the foundations of socialization provided by home and mosque. While there are at least 10 official Muslim nationalities in China, with extremely divergent histories and diverse identities, this chapter

suggests that through centralized, state-sponsored education and a tradition of fairly regularized Islamic education in China, the education of Muslims, both public and private or state-sponsored and Islamicinspired, are fairly systematized. I would argue that the systematization of the transmission of knowledge to Muslims in China has played a privileged role in influencing Muslim identities.2