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Islam in Fiji: Continuity, Adaptation and Change during the Indenture and Post-Indenture Periods

Ali, Zakia and Buksh, Shazna and Angez, Afshana (2016) Islam in Fiji: Continuity, Adaptation and Change during the Indenture and Post-Indenture Periods. In: Indentured Muslims in the Diaspora; Identity and Belonging of Minority Groups in Plural Societies. Manohar, New Delhi, pp. 275-300. ISBN ISBN-13: 978-93-5098-131-3

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Abstract

Compiling information for this chapter on the Muslim diaspora in Fiji was very challenging. The first Muslims to arrive in Fiji came through the indenture system. However, despite the fact that they have been in Fiji for 135 years, there is a paucity of literature and scholarly research on this topic. Very little has been published on the experiences of the Muslim diaspora during the indenture period which lasted from 1879 to 1916, or their attempts to retain their Muslim identity after the abolition of the indenture system. With the demise of most of those who could provide the historical data, this chapter draws on three sources of information: (1) secondary information published on indentured labourers and free Indians after the end of the indenture period, (2) unstructured interviews conducted with Muslims in Fiji between December 2013 and February 2014 and (3) re-analysis of the interviews with indentured labourers that were published by Ahmed Ali (1979) to identify how Muslims practised Islam during the indenture period. The key question this chapter addresses is: How did the Muslims of Fiji retain their identity in their new environment during and after indenture? The experience of Girmit (Indenture period) was one of great hardship and suffering, leaving people broken; yet, they managed to maintain their distinct identities while integrating and forming relationships beyond caste and religion. During the indenture period, there was an amalgamation of some cultural practices of Muslims and Hindus which resulted in similar ceremonies relating to births, deaths and weddings.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DU Oceania (South Seas)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Shazna Buksh
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2016 11:04
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2016 11:04
URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/9396
UNSPECIFIED

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