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History of Taipei

    The basin in which the city of Taipei and its suburbs sit was the site of a great lake in prehistoric times, which slowly evolved

its present features as alluvial deposits filled the lake. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, Taipei Basin was originally the

ancestral homeland of plains-dwelling indigenous people. Ethnic Chinese people first visited Taiwan as early as the Yuan

dynasty. But it wasn't until the Ming dynasty that large numbers of ethnic Chinese permanently immigrated to Taiwan.

 

    In the 17th century, as European powers extended their domination to East Asia, parts of strategically positioned Taiwan were

first occupied by the Dutch and then by the Spanish. But in 1661, the Ming-dynasty patriot (and sometimes pirate) Zheng

Chenggong, a.k.a. Koxinga, forced the Dutch out of Taiwan and took control of the island. However, in 1683 his kingdom was

overrun by Qing-dynasty armed forces, and the island was placed under the direct rule of the Qing court the following year.

 

Geography/Population

    Taipei is nestled in a basin with mountains on all sides and covers an area of 271.79 square kilometers (27,179 hectares). The

city is divided into 12 districts. The population has reached to 2,627,138 (as of Nov. 2003), making it one of the most crowded

cities in the world. Two beautiful peaks, Mt. Datun and Mt. Qixing, both over 1,000m in height, form a dramatic backdrop to the

northeast of the city. The conical slopes of these former volcanoes now make up Yangmingshan National Park.

 

    To the southeast of Taipei lie the Songshan Hills and Qingshui Ravine, which form a natural protective barrier of lush woods.

The Dakekan and Xindian rivers are located to the southwest, while the Keelung River runs to the northeast. These three rivers

converge at the Danshui River, which then flows into the Taiwan Strait. [ more... ]

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Religion

Taipei grand mosque

Address: 62, Sec. 2, Xin Sheng South Rd., Taipei, R.O.C

Phone: +886-2-2392-7364 or +886-2-2321-9445

Fax: +886-2-2394-8390 or +886-2-2393-5283

 E-mail: contact@taipeimosque.org.tw
 

    This mosque is a historic site registered by Taipei City Government. With area about 3,300 square meters, the

construction of this mosque was completed in 1960. Being built according to Islamic religion and Arabic architecture,

this mosque has been the largest one in Taiwan. Numerous Muslims --- the great and the common, the foreign and the

local --- gather here every Friday 13:00-15:00.

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Islam in Taiwan

    The troops that Koxinga led to Taiwan in the mid-17th century included a number of Muslims. Some of them made Taiwan 

their permanent home, leaving historical traces which are still visible in Lukang and Tamsui, among other places. By the time of

Taiwan's retrocession to China in 1945, however, most of the descendants of these early Muslim soldiers no longer embraced

Islam; at best, only a few Islamic burial traditions were still observed.

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    Approximately 20,000 Muslims accompanied the central government to Taiwan in 1949; most were soldiers, civil servants, 

or food service workers. Two Muslim organizations reestablished themselves in Taiwan: the Chinese Muslim Association and the 

ChineseMuslim Youth League. Differences in everyday habits and customs--such as food and drink or religious ceremonies and

activitiesled to diminished contact between Muslims and Han Chinese in Taiwan during the 1950s. Believers in Islam depended to

a large extent on a liaison network that regularly met in a house on Lishui Street in Taipei. By the 1960s, realizing that return to

the mainland would not be likely in the immediate future, Muslims in Taiwan began to engage in permanent occupations.

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    Although there was still a considerable degree of interdependence in the ummah (Islamic community), Muslims began,

primarily out of professional need, to have increasingly frequent contact with Han Chinese. Limited by a non-Muslim environment,

Muslims in Taiwan today struggle to observe orthodox Islamic practices. Only a few Muslim women have adopted the traditional

veil; and a handful of halal butchers and restaurants prepare meat according to the strict Islamic food observances. The busy

urban lifestyle in the cities poses many constraints. For example, it is very difficult to attend Juma congregation, which falls on

Fridays. In addition, all prayers are conducted in Arabic, which means that every adherent must learn the language despite

cultural and linguistic constraints. Despite the Chinese Muslim Association's efforts to send Muslim students overseas to receive

formal Islamic education, and despite the ummah's retention of weekend classes, much work still needs to be done for the

scattered Muslim population to preserve their faith and identity in a non-Muslim environment. Thus, the Association has

developed a plan for "educating secular educators," and the Taipei City Bureau of Education has approved the Association's

proposal to hold Islamic courses for primary and secondary school teachers during summer vacations. Providing authentic

Islamic information to public school teachers is intended to eliminate stereotyping and misunderstanding.

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     A small population and limited funds have prevented Muslims in

Taiwan from establishing a madrasah (Islamic school). However, Dr.

Abdullah Ibn Saleh Al-Obaid, secretary-general of the Muslim World

League (MWL), gave his full support to the establishment of a

madrasa, during his Taiwan visit from May 30 to June 3, 2000. Like

all members of the international Muslim ummah, the Muslims on

Taiwan must observe their five basic duties, including the pilgrimage

to Mecca. On February 21, 2000, a total of 22 Muslims from Taiwan

 began their religious journey, and another 32 departed on March 10 at
 the invitation of King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz.
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    This unprecedented invitation to Taiwan also included 13 other countries: Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea,

Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam. Three Arabian-style mosques, constructed in

Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Lungkang, have joined Taipei's two mosques in meeting the needs of Muslim faithful.

 

    These three mosques cost a total of US$2.7 million, half of which was funded by overseas donations, predominantly from the

Middle East. In addition, a four-story apartment building financed by Muslims in the Tainan and Kaohsiung areas has been built

on a piece of donated land in Tainan to serve as a mosque. The Taipei Grand Mosque, on the verge of being demolished several

times because of disputes over land deeds, was recognized as a Taipei City religious heritage site in 1999 after being surveyed

by academics and scholars. The mosque will be protected on its present site. As of 1999, Taiwan was home to a Muslim

population of approximately 53,000, including 34 mullahs, six mosques, five libraries, and one publishing house with ten

publications. Many Indonesian workers also reside in Taiwan, around 52,000 by June 2000, and participate in the activities of the

local ummah.

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Halal Foods in Taipei

:: RESTAURANTS

SHIN SHIN RESTAURANT

Address: No. 9, Bau-Chiau Rd., Shin-Dian City, Taipei.

Phone: (02) 2703-8968

CHUNGKUO BEEF RESTAURANT

Address: No. 1, Alley 7, Lane 137, Yian-Chi St., Taipei.

Phone: (02) 27214771

KUNMING YUAN

Address: No. 26, Lane 81, Fushing North Rd., Taipei.

Phone:  (02) 27516676

BAMBOO HOUSE

Address: No. 3, Alley 10, Lane 244, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei.

Phone:  (02)23682527

PEIPING VEGETARIAN PASTRY

Address: No. 119, Sec. 1, Chin Shan South Rd., Taipei.

Phone:  (02)23962778

THAI FOOD HOUSE

Address: No. 18, Beining Rd., Taipei.

Phone: (02) 25790528

THAI EMPEROR RESTAURANT

Address: No. 7, Lane 244, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei.

Phone:  (02) 23681071

AI's BEEF NOODLES

Address: No. 41, Lane 223, Sec. 4, Jungshiau East Rd., Taipei.

Phone: (02) 27318550

ALI BABA'S INDIAN KITCHEN

Address: No.2, Nanjing West Rd., Taipei.

Phone.: (02)25677163

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:: MEATS

The purchase of halal beef, lamb and chicken meats and lunchbox are available in Taipei Mosque every Friday.

Halal Butcher's

Address: No. 14, Sec. 1, Hoping East Rd., Taipei.

Ph.: Day (02) 2363-6451 or 2363-0018

Night (02) 2363-1293 or 2321-3837

Ms. Haleema Mobile: 0935541418

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Links to Islamic Web Sites

Taipei grand mosque http://english.taipeimosque.org.tw/index.php

Kaohsiung Mosque http://www.masjid.org.tw

Light of Islam (Hong Kong) http://www.islam.org.hk/

 HONG KONG ISLAMIC YOUTH ASSOCIATION http://www.hkiya.f2s.com/main.htm

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