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Can an American convert who wears a headscarf (hijab) find a job in China


Julie7575
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Hi Everyone,

I'm an American girl who converted to Islam, and wears the Islamic headscarf (hijab). I would really like to teach English in China, but am wondering if wearing a headscarf will make it impossible / very difficult to find a job there. Does anyone have any ideas? I'm a native English speaker, of course, and have a BA in English as well as TEFL.

Thanks so much,

Julie

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I don't know for sure, but don't think it should hamper your job search. In areas that are predominantly Muslim, such as Ningxia Province, it should not attract any notice at all. Ditto for parts of neighboring Gansu.

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Assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that the bulk of school owners, administrators and student parents in Xinjiang are going to be Han Chinese, I'd expect more prejudice there than anywhere else in China.

Will you find a job - yes. Are you likely to get a lot of questions about your faith - definitely. Is it entirely possible that someone will object and complain - yes. How easy or difficult that is to deal with will probably depend on how reasonable the school is.

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How easy or difficult that is to deal with will probably depend on how reasonable the school is.

And of course the personal attitude. Someone with a 'minor' twitch like a headscarf is much easier to deal with and to accept then someone with a whole package of 'special' requests. I guess 5 prayers a day at the right time may be a far bigger issue, but then those can be quite easily hidden in a jobinterview.

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Is it really nonsense? People born 'with' a religion are often times, specially when they're educated, quite relaxed about it. They've inherited it from their parents/culture but, in my experience, are usually quite pragmatic don't stick to the rules religiously and are not inclined to preach and attempt to convert other people. People that choose to convert or call themselves 'born again' have in general a quite different attitude. The subset of these that I met isn't too big, and maybe I'm a bit too much influenced by one particular 'born again' jesus freak that has been a direct collegue for a few years but I'ld say they don't come recommended.

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I work at a private language school in Ningxia. We have some Hui students but I believe the majority are Han chinese. The Chinese staff and management are mostly Han.

We have hired a teacher for next semester who cannot work on Friday's because of his Muslim faith. Most of our hours are at the weekend with a few hours (potentially) each evening so it wasn't much of a problem.

I do not think wearing a head scarf would be a problem here, or many other schools elsewhere in China. You would most likely just get children asking you or your Chinese assistant teacher (if you have one) why you are wearing it.

Race, not religion, is probably the biggest issue in China for Foreign teachers looking to get hired.

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  • 2 months later...
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I visited China for work in 2010 and stayed in various cities including Nanjing, Tianjin, Beijing, Hangzhou, Schenzhen, Guanzhou etc. I could find Halal restaurants in most of the cities (usually have a green symbol on the outside), I even prayed at mosques in those cities (called Qing Zhen Si - pronounced ching jan sa). Chinese people, contrary to popular belief were accomodating of my beliefs, helped order food for me that did not contain haram, even helped finding mosques for me. Near the wall of China, they parked and waited till I finished my prayers. They asked questions but always with an open mind, and I was happy to explain Islamic principles to them. The oldest mosque in Guanzhou has a plaque on it, that shows how the Chinese Kings were welcoming of the earliest Muslims, in general that has been true throughout history although as anywhere else in the world conflicts have also happened in China. The greatest Chinese Admiral Zheng He was a Muslim. I hope Sister, you do visit China and learn about its unique culture.

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