The Islamic Union of Hong Kong is a charitable and non-profit-making organisation founded about 100 years ago by Muslims from the Indian Subcontinent and the Malay Archipelago who settled in Hong Kong, largely to engage in trade and commerce with China. Since then, the Union has undergone many changes and in 1980 its Constitution was revised to fulfill the legal requirements for incorporation.
Its current members are of different nationalities and cultures, comprising mainly “local” Muslims, Chinese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, Kashmiri, Middle Eastern, Africans and Britons. Local Muslims are those whose ancestors who came to Hong Kong about 100 years ago and have settled down.
Some of the Union’s functions, as set out in the Constitution, are to improve the general welfare of Muslims in Hong Kong, promote and foster the practice of Islamic principles, and to spread, expound and propagate the truth of Islamic knowledge.
The Union is governed by the General Council, which comprises 15 volunteer members. Apart from the four Office-Bearers – Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer – other Council members do not hold any particular office but do perform specific duties. Elections are held annually and members are required to step down by rotation according to seniority of service after serving a three-year tenure. However, they are eligible for re-election.
General Council meetings are held regularly, on average once every six weeks. Special meetings may be convened as and when necessary.
Council members chair various committees dealing with Building Management, Canteen Monitoring, Da’wah, Education, Investment, Legal & Tax, Library, Medical, Membership, Publicity & Publications, Sports & Recreation, Information Technology, Welfare, and the Macau Mosque. There is also a Staff Supervisory Panel.
In 1976, Br. Osman Ramju Sadick, a former Chairman of the Union, returned to Allah (SWT) and bequeathed one quarter of his estate to the Union. Alhumdullilah! With prudent financial management, his endowment grew and earnings from investments are utilised to meet the Union’s operating expenses.
As a result of the generous endowment, facilities for Muslim activities were given a big boost with the construction of the first Islamic centre. Named after its benefactor, the Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre, where the Union has its headquarters, is situated at 40 Oi Kwan Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
The Centre also houses the Masjid Ammar, which the Union built under appointment by the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong (the Trustees), to which the Union is affiliated. Arising from this affiliation, members of the Union participate in the management of mosques and cemeteries in Hong Kong. Also, the Union manages the Centre under delegated authority from the Trustees.
The Centre includes an Islamic kindergarten on the ground floor, separate wudu or washing areas for men and women and an activities room on the first floor, and an air-conditioned mosque with two levels (one for men and the other for women) on the second floor and third floor, which can accommodate a total of 700 persons.
On the fourth floor is a classroom for Qur’anic and Arabic lessons and on the fifth floor are a Canteen which serves halal Cantonese cuisine and “dim sum” and two classrooms. On the sixth floor are a library, two study rooms, a room for seminars and other functions and four Council members’ offices. A conference room, a meeting room, a medical clinic, two Council members’ offices and general offices are on the seventh floor.
Classes and lectures are regularly held for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and training camps are held at which overseas scholars are invited to speak on Islam.
Other activities include Arabic and Qur’anic reading classes are also held for young children.
There is an Islamic kindergarten at the Centre, established in 1990 by the Union under delegated authority from the Trustees. Management responsibility for this kindergarten was transferred from the Union to the Trustees in 1996.
Also, usrah study groups, as well as outings and training camps are organised for the young.
The Union encourages Muslim students to improve their education by offering eight education funds from which scholarships and self-challenge awards are made to Muslim students not only in Hong Kong but elsewhere as well who have good academic achievements. Financial assistance is also granted to needy students.
Free tuition is provided to young children on subjects such as English, Chinese and Arithmetic.
The Library offers books on a wide range of subjects. Apart from Al-Qur’an, Al-Tawhid, Al-Fiqh, Shariah, there are memoirs and biographies of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and eminent Islamic writers and scholars.
Apart from Arabic, there are books and materials available in other languages, such as English, Urdu, Tamil, Korean, Japanese, Malay, Chinese, Indonesian and Tagalog. There are also books for children providing basic knowledge on Iman, Ibadah and Salat.
Publications on Islam are also reprinted periodically and distributed free of charge.
There are also computer facilities for E-mail and website access, as well as scanners, photocopier, printer and audio-visual facilities such as DVD, VCD, CD, TV and VCR.
The Medical Clinic includes a dispensary served by volunteer Muslim doctors and nurses. Apart from this service, paramedical facilities are provided in other areas, such as cardiograms. The clinic also arranges blood tests for members to check sugar contents.
Publicity & Publications
Under the Publicity & Publications Committee, the Union publishes on a quarterly basis, the “IU Newsletter”, as well as the Annual Report. The committee also handles enquires from the news media and arranges visits to the Centre for non-Muslims wishing to learn about Islam.
Muslims who are in need are not forgotten and fund-raising drives are frequently held, especially for victims of natural disasters. Donations received have been sent to more than 30 countries for distribution through relief agencies and Muslim organisations.
Periodical visits are made to homes for the elderly to assure them that they are not forgotten. Outings to scenic locations in Hong Kong and occasional excursions are also arranged for members to visit fellow Muslims on the Mainland.
Annual dinners to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha are held, as well as Mauloods to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Isra and Miraj, and Lailatul-Barat. Free Ifta dinners are also provided during the Holy Month of Ramadhan.
Activities outside Hong Kong
The Union also extends its work to Macau, 65 kilometres west of Hong Kong, which was sanctuary to a large Muslim population during the Second World War. Almost all of those Muslims returned to Hong Kong after the war, leaving about 150 Muslims in Macau.
There is a small mosque and cemetery managed by the Islamic Association of Macau (IAM). In order that IAM continues to look after the interests of Muslims there, as well as to propagate Islam, the Union provides it with an annual subsidy.
The Union has for some time been active in providing assistance, financial or otherwise, to our Muslim brethren on the Mainland. Such assistance is restricted to providing funds for relief work in cases of natural disasters, building or repairing mosques and schools, and digging wells in drought stricken regions.
The scope of activities, which increased after the sovereignty of Hong Kong reverted to China, now includes building roads, financially assisting victims of eye diseases to undergo sight regaining operations, as well as providing funds for Iftar and Qurbani services.
The Union also channels funds from other Islamic organisations towards assisting needy Muslims on the Mainland.
Insha’Allah! With the support of the community, this work will continue