Uighurs chafe under religious restrictions

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XINJIANG (Arrahmah.com) – Intensifying massive crackdown on Uighurs in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province, a Chinese government local governor is clamping down on Muslims’ religious activities ranging from mandatory daily prayers to traditional burial rites.

“Religious restrictions have been tightened,” an Uyghur teacher told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

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“It is especially since vice governor Haki was appointed to oversee religious affairs that these kind of restrictions were doubled.”

Taking office two years ago in Ghulja County in Xinjiang’s Ili autonomous prefecture, Vice governor Haki has been cracking down on religious activities.

Prompting a “Cultural Revolution-style self-criticism,” he has imposed severe restrictions on daily prayers, Qur’an recitation and religious activities.

“Activities like reciting the Qur’an, which were normally held at home without any problems, are restricted now,” the teacher said. “Nowadays, not only do you have to have permission from the government to hold such kinds of events, but also you have to hold them in the mosques.”

Even more, the teacher said that special officials had been appointed to make a blacklist of men under the age of 50 who grow beards, women who wear face-veil and youths known to have attended mosque before the age of 18. “There are now police who stand in front of mosques, checking people who enter for Friday prayers,” the teacher said.

The religious freedom abuses against Muslims includes prohibiting teachers, professors, university students, and other government employees from observing Ramadan fasting, engaging in daily prayers, distributing religious materials, and wearing headscarf. Minors under the age of 18 continue to be denied access to some mosques and religious education. (banan/onislam/arrahmah.com)

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