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In order to promote the discipline in Hong Kong, the Research Institute for the Humanities (RIH) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) came to an agreement with the Islamic Cultural Association (Hong Kong) on 31 July 2013. With sponsorship provided by the latter under the agreement, RIH launched the ‘Islamic Studies Initiative’ (ISI) on 13 September 2013. On 12 May 2015, ISI was approved by the management of the university to become the Centre for the Study of Islamic Culture (CSIC).

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4th Islamic Cultural Festival (26 Oct-2 Nov 2019)

Release time:2020-05-08 11:30:56

Fourth in a row, the Islamic Cultural Festival @ CUHK this year (2019) has grown both in scale and in variety. The guest of honour at the festival’s opening ceremony, Prof. Leung Mei Yee, Director of University General Education, considers the cultural bonanza “one of the key events that help to cultivate global citizenship on campus”. Prof. Leung describes its eight-day programme as “thoughtful, artistic and intellectually rich”. For the first time, the festival caught media attention and was featured in a prime-time TV programme.

Like last year, an Arabic Calligraphy Workshop took the lead in the series of events making up the Islamic Cultural Festival which was held from 26 October (Saturday) to 2 November (Saturday). The workshop was followed by a colorful Festivities Day which brought together many elements of Islamic culture for presentation to the CUHK community. This festive event was covered by the prime-time TV programme 港台电视31自在8点半. Then participants of the festival had an educational and delightful evening during the Halal Cuisine Workshop. The Friday Congregational Prayer at CUHK also became an occasion for intercultural understanding when the prayer was made open to observers. The rest of the programme included two talks (Peace and Justice from an Islamic Perspective; Islam and tolerance), a film screening (Reluctant Fundamentalist) & discussion session as well as a mosque tour.

The Halal Cuisine Workshop, a novelty this year, proved to be a thrilling experience. The participants first listened to a presentation on the concept of Halal food, posed questions about the subject and got answered while witnessing the preparation of a Turkish dish. Some international Halal dishes were then served, bringing the workshop to a climax. The event’s educational nature, cozy atmosphere and delicious food all combined to make it a remarkable occasion.

The Islamic Cultural Festival this year registered a record number of participants. The festival can be considered timely. A week before, Kowloon Mosque became news headline when it got sprayed with blue dye from the police’s water cannon when they tried to disperse protestors on Nathan Road. Both Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and Commissioner of Police visited the mosque to express apologies the next morning. As a result, Kowloon Mosque became the focus of attention in town. Occupying a prime location in a top commercial area, the mosque has long been arousing curiosity from local Chinese who consider it a mysterious place. In such circumstances, no wonder the mosque tour of the Islamic Cultural Festival witnessed an overwhelming response from the public. So much interest in the mosque and in Islamic culture as a whole was generated after the mosque incident that some social media platforms helped to publicize the festival on their own. It is hoped that the interest in Islamic culture would be maintained after the heightened time. Chance may be that the Islamic Cultural Festival has been recognized as a major avenue for locals to know about Islamic culture.

As in the past years, the Fourth Islamic Cultural Festival @ CUHK aimed to promote inter-cultural exchanges on campus, and enhance the understanding of Islamic culture among the CUHK community as well as the public. The festival is the yearly flagship activity organized by the Centre for the Study of Islamic Culture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

RTHK’s Coverage of the Festivities Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMJlgf_nel0