chapter  7
Secular nation/imaginary ummah
Chinese Muslims in the national public sphere and transnational imaginary
Pages 25

This chapter illustrates how the type of transnational identity and universalist morality Islam offers can help to provide individuals with the self-confidence to imagine possibilities beyond continued dependence on a single ruling party or culturally particular ideology. It explores the relationship between Chinese Muslims and the Chinese state, including their predominant acceptance of the need for one-party rule as well as their sense of cultural distance from Uygurs and lack of sympathy for political separatism. The chapter introduces two examples of influential elements in Chinese Islam that may pose challenges to the party's control: an international businessman who advocates democracy and Islam-inspired human rights and a young man who has acquired an Islamic education and sympathy for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Mr. Han is a graduate of Qinghai Nationalities University in Xining and believes that both secular and religious education is important.