Dubai: Chinese Muslims are thriving in Dubai and are finding the city a good place to practice their faith, an official said on Sunday.
Around 30 members of the Chinese Muslim community living in International City gathered and joined around 1,200 of their Muslim brothers in ending their fast in an iftar hosted by the Chinese Business Council, supported by the Chinese Consulate-General and Emirates Red Crescent on Sunday.
Currently, there are more than 200,000 Chinese expatriates living in the UAE and some 95 per cent of them are based in Dubai and the numbers continue to increase, Tan Li, Acting Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai, said. Aside from this, Li believes that the number of Chinese Muslims in Dubai is also on the rise.
The number of Chinese Muslims in Dubai is increasing because Dubai is a very international city. It’s openness to other cultures is [a good thing]. Everybody can find his or her place here. Everybody is happy to be here.
“I don’t have the exact number but Chinese Muslims like to live here [Dubai] because they share similar Islamic culture. So Dubai is the best choice for them to do business and it’s easier for them when it comes to fasting and observing Islamic activities,” Li told Gulf News.
“The number of Chinese Muslims in Dubai is also increasing because Dubai is a very international city. It’s openness to other cultures is [a good thing]. Everybody can find his or her place here. Everybody is happy to be here. Chinese Muslims like to visit here, find a job here and live here,” she added.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Dubai increased by 12 per cent in 2018 at 875,000 compared to 2017, making China the fourth biggest source of tourists for Dubai.
Among those who considers Dubai as a preferred place to live is restaurateur Yun Shan Ma, a Chinese expatriate who was born into a Muslim family back home.
“That is true. I like it here in Dubai although my family is in China,” he said. “And I know two Chinese friends who have moved here and recently converted to Islam.”
Sporting a kandoura as he joined his brothers for iftar, Mohammad Wang said: “Dubai has a good and welcoming environment to foreign workers, including us Chinese. It is true that it is easier to spend Ramadan here in Dubai because the whole city celebrates Ramadan and are considerate to people who are fasting. There are also many mosques so it’s easier for us to go for prayers every day.”
Li said the consulate is hosting a separate iftar at the end of the month exclusively for Chinese Muslims as part of the consulate’s efforts to celebrate the Year of Tolerance with them.
Meanwhile, Zhou Guangyao, Secretary-General of the Chinese Business Council (CBC) in the UAE, said around 100 volunteers from 13 major Chinese companies based in the region contributed to the iftar.
“All Chinese companies in the UAE are more than willing to contribute to the local community. Ramadan is a good opportunity for loving, sharing, caring for each other,” Guangyao said.
“It is heart-warming to witness the gratefulness expressed by our brothers towards our initiative. This is the second year we have conducted this charitable Iftar as a token of appreciation by developing Chinese companies based in the region and we aim to continue doing so annually.”