China Bans Ramadan In Its Heavily Muslim North-West

China Bans Ramadan In Its Heavily Muslim North-West

Egypt's prestigious Islamic institute Al-Azhar

As Muslims worldwide observe the holy month of Ramadan, muslims in the Xinjiang area of North-West China have been banned from observing the Islamic holy month.

To further enforce the ban, parties and served food in the area, especially in schools, saying religion should be prevented from public institutions

China, whose ruling party is atheist, sees religion as a threat to one-party rule.

Washington Post reports:

Students and civil servants in China’s Muslim northwest, where Beijing is enforcing a security crackdown following deadly unrest, have been ordered to avoid taking part in traditional fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Statements posted Wednesday on websites of schools, government agencies and local party organizations in the Xinjiang region said the ban was aimed at protecting students’ wellbeing and preventing use of schools and government offices to promote religion. Statements on the websites of local party organizations said members of the officially atheist ruling party also should avoid fasting.

“No teacher can participate in religious activities, instill religious thoughts in students or coerce students into religious activities,” said a statement on the website of the No. 3 Grade School in Ruoqiang County in Xinjiang.

Similar bans have been imposed in the past on fasting for Ramadan, which began at sundown Saturday. But this year is unusually sensitive because Xinjiang is under tight security following attacks that the government blames on Muslim extremists with foreign terrorist ties.

Violence has escalated in recent years in Xinjiang. The ruling party blames violent extremists that it says want independence, while members of the region’s Uighur ethnic group complain that discrimination and restrictions on religion, such as a ban on taking children to mosques, are fueling anger at the ethnic Han Chinese majority.

An attack on May 22 in the regional capital of Urumqi by four people who threw bombs in a vegetable market killed 43 people. On June 22, police in Kashgar in the far west said they killed 13 assailants who drove into a police building and set off explosives, injuring three officers. Authorities have blamed two other attacks at train stations in Urumqi and in China’s southwest on Muslim extremists.

 

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