Negotiating Religiosity in a Secular Society: A Study of Indonesian Muslim Female Migrant Workers in Hong Kong

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Imam Subchi
Asep Saepudin Jahar
Maila D. H. Rahiem
Asrorun Ni’am Sholeh


This study examined how Indonesian Muslim female migrant workers in Hong Kong, the majority of whom work in the domestic sector, negotiate their religiosity in a secular society. As a method of investigation, qualitative exploratory research was used. Observation and in-depth semi-structured interviews were used to collect data with eight Indonesian Muslim female workers in Hong Kong. The findings show that: 1) despite workplace restrictions, these workers adhered to their religious rites; 2) they utilized the most viable solutions to enable them to conduct their job obligations that were incompatible with their religion; 3) they established halaqas [religious study groups] in several mosques throughout Hong Kong and met regularly; and 4) the migrant workers gained strength from their faith, while the religious study groups greatly assisted them in overcoming and resolving life’s challenges. The researchers concluded that while it is critical for many workers to live according to their religion, many employers are unaware of their employees’ religion and religious values. There should be better dialogue and agreement on how workers and employers can negotiate their rights and obligations. In response to the study’s findings, several recommendations are made.


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Author Biography

Maila D. H. Rahiem, Faculty of Education, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, Indonesia

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