Mosques demolished, texts censored; China oppresses Muslims in Xinjiang

The Chinese government’s repression of the Islamic faith, especially against the Uyghur Muslim community in Xinjiang, has led to widespread international criticism and condemnation over allegations of human rights abuses and cultural genocide.

A recent investigation by Britain’s Sky News has exposed China’s escalating control over Islamic practices in the country. The report highlights the increasing restrictions and surveillance imposed on Muslims, especially in areas with significant Muslim populations. A striking scene in the report shows a local Muslim leader standing alone in the courtyard of a small mosque in a cold, dusty region of central China.

“Religion is dying,” he laments, highlighting the severe restrictions imposed by the Chinese government on religious activities. The report details intensive efforts by Chinese authorities to monitor and restrict Islamic practices, including demolishing mosques, banning religious attire and censoring Islamic texts. This crackdown is part of a broader campaign to align religious practices with state ideology and suppress any dissent.

Chinese authorities have implemented several measures to curb the practice of Islam: demolishing mosques, banning religious attire and censoring Islamic texts

Numerous mosques have been demolished, especially those that do not meet government architectural standards or are considered too conspicuous. Traditional Islamic clothing, such as headscarves and long beards, is banned in certain regions. The government has censored Islamic texts and removed any content seen as promoting extremism or dissent. This includes changing the Quran and other religious literature to align with the state’s narrative.

This is part of an effort to assimilate Muslims into the broader Han Chinese culture. The report also highlights the extensive surveillance network that monitors Muslim communities. High-tech surveillance systems, including facial recognition cameras, are widespread in areas such as Xinjiang, which has a significant Uyghur Muslim population. These systems track the movements and behavior of individuals to ensure strict compliance with government regulations.

The restrictions have permeated all aspects of the daily lives of Muslims in China. Religious education for children is heavily regulated, which has led to the closure of many religious schools. In addition, community leaders and imams are required to attend government-run re-education programs to ensure they spread state-approved messages, the Sky News report said.

The international community has reacted with concern to China’s treatment of its Muslim population. Human rights organizations have condemned these actions and called for greater transparency and respect for religious freedoms. However, the Chinese government states that these measures are necessary to combat extremism and safeguard national security.

Image source: Foreign Policy

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