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Among China’s various Muslim groups, the Hui stand out on the basis of their ethnicity, history and location, and are considered unlike the Turkic groups in Western territories. The Hui are not confined to a definite region but are present throughout China, and exist in continuous juxtaposition with other groups. For this reason, they determine their identity by simultaneous associations to an exogenous tradition that differentiates them from other Chinese groups, and to endogenous elements that situate them as inherently Chinese.

This position of the Hui at the intersection of two presumably mutually-exclusive cultural spheres, namely Muslim and Chinese, results in mode of identity-formation, which I call alibism, and in which identity is founded on the basis of perpetual deferment to an alternative location.


Hui, Islam in China, Identity formation

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