- Fatima is a young Muslim, or Hui, woman from Gansu Province and is distinguished from other female Chinese immigrants in Cairo by wearing the Muslim Hijab. She has been studying Arabic for the last two years at the language school of Al-Azhar University, in Cairo’s Abbasiya district. Abbasiya is one of the two areas in Cairo that could come closest to being a so called ‘Chinatown’. Most of the Chinese here are Muslim, predominantly from China’s north-west, studying Arabic at the world’s most famous Islamic university. Here you find the best examples of food from China’s north-western provinces, especially the typical noodles from the city of Lanzhou.
Fatima says immigration of Chinese Muslims to the Nile is often driven more strongly by the business opportunities that arise due to the burgeoning trade with the region, than by religious zeal. Similar to Fatima, most Chinese come to study, sometimes religious studies, but mostly Arabic, and they normally plan to go back to China to work.