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【移工伊斯蘭信仰在台灣之衝突與困境】Southeast Asian Muslim community still experience discrimination in Taiwan

【移工伊斯蘭信仰在台灣之衝突與困境】Southeast Asian  Muslim community  still experience discrimination  in Taiwan
Photo: Islamic women with hijab at Taipei Main Station, Shinichiro Hamazaki

作者:彭靖婷 (2024年03月18日)





目前移工人數多達 75 萬人,其中印尼移工更佔了其中的 27 萬人,為各國移工比例中最高。隨著台灣雇用更多的東南亞移工來照顧老年人口,讓雇主肯認並尊重他們帶來的文化多樣性是至關重要的事情。每個人都應有權利自由地信仰宗教,而且免於被歧視的恐懼。請讓我們共同呼籲台灣雇主:不僅要認識、還要尊重移工的宗教信仰。台灣應該營造一個包容和尊重的環境,以履行我們對人權的承諾,並確保所有移工,無論其背景如何,都可以獲得有尊嚴的和公平的對待。

As a result of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP), Taiwan is seeing an increase in the enrolment of Southeast Asian students choosing to study in the country. The NSP initiative has an emphasis on fostering student exchanges and positioning Taiwan as a global study destination for students and scholars from ASEAN nations. In addition, as Taiwan continues to develop faster than the neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, the number of migrant workers from the region seeking employment in Taiwan has also been steadily increasing. These students and workers live in Taiwan, with some individuals also bringing their Islamic faith with them, contributing to the embraced cultural diversity of Taiwan. However, people from the muslim community still face challenges while living in Taiwan, including instances of discrimination and islamophobia.

In particular, Indonesian and Malaysian women have voiced their grievances, recounting instances where they were asked to remove their hijab to secure employment and received discrimination due to their religious attire. 

Moreover, Muslim individuals in Taiwan often find themselves having to navigate societal norms that clash with their religious beliefs. For instance, Islam considers pigs to be unclean and untouchable animals, yet pork and lard are often used as fillings and flavouring in Taiwanese cuisine, such as soup dumplings, braised pork rice, and pork knuckle. There have been reports of Taiwanese employers not understanding or respecting Islamic beliefs, forcing their muslim employees to violate their halal values by consuming pork. 

In addition, The Labour Standards Act currently fails to extend its protections to domestic workers and caretakers, leaving them without the legal guarantee of a weekly rest day. This exclusion particularly affects Southeast Asian domestic workers -  who are subjected to gruelling work schedules without any respite - effectively depriving them of the chance to observe their religious practices due to employers denying them time off. Although the Ministry of Labor (MOL) asserts that domestic caregivers denied a weekly rest day for religious observance can file complaints with the ministry, many Southeast Asian Muslim migrant workers hesitate to do so for fear of jeopardising their employment status.

As Taiwan continues to invite more Southeast Asian students, and employ more migrant workers to give care to its ageing population, it’s imperative that employers acknowledge and respect the diversity of cultures they bring with them. Every individual should have the right to practise their religion freely without fear of discrimination. Let’s come together to call on Taiwanese employees to not only recognise but also honour the religious beliefs of their employees. By fostering an environment of inclusivity and respect, Taiwan can uphold its commitment to human rights and ensure that all students and workers, regardless of their background, are treated with dignity and fairness.