‘Musilin’ (穆斯林) means Muslim in Chinese. This project records young people moving from China to Egypt to study, and understand Islam. They are Muslim - but they do not know much about this religion. Once in Egypt they discover it through the study of Arabic, the Koran, and through life in Cairo. Over the last year, I spent time inquiring within this hidden world, documenting their daily life as young foreigners with struggles between religion, culture, and genders’ divide.
I decided to tell this story through the experience of Ding Lan (Fatima is her Muslim name), a 22 year old young woman that I met in Cairo. Young Chinese Muslims like Ding Lan come for Al Azhar, the highest Islamic Institution, worldwide known and free. They are Huizu (a Muslim minority in China), from regions as Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia or Henan. They are between 20 and 25 years old, as average and live in two specific areas in Cairo: Abbasseya and Nasr City. After Cairo, I followed Ding Lan back to her home in China in Henan province. There, I searched for the Muslim elements in her life and cultural background to understand her choice to move to Egypt. Through her eyes and my documentation, I aim to show Islam in all its cultural diversities.
View more work by Giulia Marchi here.