Category Archives: Islam

“Beijing Rejects Death Claims”

What a surprise- the government claims that it totally didn’t kill those minorities! RFA reports:

Chinese authorities have dismissed reports of deaths in clashes last week between Hui Muslims and police over the demolition of a mosque in northwestern Ningxia region as Beijing came under rare criticism from a key global Islamic group over the violence.

According to a Hong Kong-based rights group, hundreds of Muslims in Ningxia’s Taoshan village clashed with police in a bid to prevent the demolition work, and the ensuing violence caused several deaths.

Hundreds of residents in Taoshan village confronted police armed with tear gas, truncheons and knives, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.

An official who answered the phone at the Tongxin county government, which oversees Taoshan village, denied that any deaths had occurred, however.

“No, nobody died,” the official said in an interview on Tuesday.

The group said the violence between local Muslims and roughly 1,000 armed officers began after police declared a newly built mosque to be illegal, and moved in to demolish it.

One Taoshan resident told Reuters he was away at the time of the clash, but that his relatives in the town believed five people had been killed.

The resident, Jin Haitao, said villagers believed the dead included two elderly women, a young man and two people from nearby areas.

Residents of nearby areas complained that telephone links with Taoshan had been cut, making it impossible to verify what had happened.

Jin told Hong Kong’s Cable Television that local Hui Muslims had spent more than 8 million yuan (U.S. $1.27 million) on the mosque, only to have it torn down by the authorities.

“They told us that the mosque was illegal, and they said our gathering was an illegal activity,” Jin said.

“They beat us with police batons and bayonets, and the villagers gave no resistance.”

The violence drew rare criticism on Wednesday from the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

“The [OIC] spokesman expresses his deep concern over reports of a clash between local villagers and police resulting in numerous casualties and the destruction of a Mosque in Taoshan village … in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China,” the Saudi Arabia-based group said in a statement on its website.

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Filed under ethnic conflict, forced demolition, Islam

“Four Uyghurs Arrested for Attending Koran Study Group in Urumqi”

Looks like Beijing is still mad about the attacks and protests last summer:

Four Uyghur men were arrested last Saturday in their apartment in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, for “engaging in illegal religious activity.” The local police confirmed the arrests to Radio Free Asia but refused to give any details. An overseas Uyghur organization said that a “Hundred Day Crackdown” was launched in Aksu last week and so far 11 people have been arrested, including women, and that more than 20 people were fined for engaging in religious activities.

The authorities regard any study of the Koran done outside government-approved venues to be “illegal activity.” On Wednesday, Dilshat, the spokesperson of the German-based World Uyghur Congress, told Radio Free Asia that at least four young Uyghurs were arrested recently in Urumqi for engaging in religious activities. He said, “On the 26th, Urumqi police burst into Room 602, Unit 7, Building 2, on South Road in Dalan Town and arrested four people, accusing them of illegal scripture exposition and being engaged in religious activities. Police beat and insulted them, confiscated some religious publications, and are holding them at the police station on Minghua Street.” When our journalist called the police station, the police confirmed the arrests but refused to say how the case was being handled.

As a warning, the authorities are fining people who study the Koran, Dilshat said, and so far 23 people have been given fines of 2,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan. He said, “The Department of Public Health in the Yutian district of Hetian county issued a notice to investigate Uyghurs who wear veils. They even set up a special task group to detain and investigate serious offenders.” He also said that 27 retired Uyghurs officials in Hetian county were required to sign a statement pledging that they, as well as their spouses, children, relatives and friends, would no longer participate in religious activities. The Land Resources Bureau of Moyu county issued a notice forbidding officials and employees, as well as their families and relatives, to wear veils and other clothing with strong religious connotations, or to engage in any illegal religious activities.

The authorities’ main goal in the “Hundred Day” crackdown is to deter people from “engaging in illegal religious activities.” A Xinjiang resident surnamed Li said, “Aksu and Kashgar are in south Xinjiang and have high concentrations of Uyghur population – controls have always been tight. The definition set by the Aksu administrative offices of what constitutes religious freedom stems from the Communist Party; it’s not based on what the Constitution says about religious freedom.” Dilshat thinks that the government’s intention is very clear. He said, “The crackdown is clearly [meant to be] a provocation to the religious faith of the Uyghur people. The government wants to achieve its goal of controlling the area by suppressing religious activities and systematically persecuting the Uyghur people. I believe various forms of resistance will occur.” Winter has already set in in Xinjiang, but the authorities are not letting their guard down at all, according to Mr. Li. He said “It’s getting cold here. Right now we are mostly seeing a lot of vehicles patrolling the neighborhoods. There are a lot of police cars, SWAT unit vehicles and large trucks on the streets, while the number of beat cops has decreased somewhat.”

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Filed under ethnic conflict, intimidation, Islam, Xinjiang

‘For China’s Muslim schools, a balancing act”

An interesting article from The Hindu about Islamic education in Ningxia:

For the Ningxia Islamic College’s 420 students, lessons can often be confusing.

During their morning classes, the students, all from China’s 10 million-strong Hui Muslim minority group, recite verses from the Koran and study Arabic.

When afternoon lessons resume, after prayers, their teachers shift tack: the students pore over Chinese textbooks on Socialist theory, learning about capital, labour and Communist Party philosophy.

In the Islamic college in Yinchuan, teachers said their priority was to ensure that students placed “patriotism over religion”. “Love your country, love religion,” reads a sign at the entrance of the college.

“The country comes first, and then your religion. That is our message,” said Mr. Ma.

China’s five “autonomous regions”, which include Ningxia, Xinjiang and Tibet, are home to most of the 55 minority ethnic groups. They are allowed to set up their own education systems under the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law.

In practice, policies are set by Beijing and directed by local Communist Party secretaries, who hold more power than their government counterparts, said teachers and officials in both regions.

In most primary and middle schools in Ningxia, Huis do not study the Koran or learn Arabic. “We are only allowed Koran study once we are in college,” said one Hui student at the Yinchuan college.

All this meddling, despite the fact that the Hui are extremely well-integrated with Chinese society.

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Filed under education, Islam, religion