Xinjiang Muslims Still Afraid to Fast in Ramadan

Xinjiang, MINA – Although restrictions on fasting during the holy month of Ramadan have eased in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in recent years, Muslims are still terrified of observing the fast of Ramadan.

According to local authorities, there is lingering fear for fear of being labeled “extremist” and flagged for detention, Free Asia Radio reported on Monday.

For years, Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslims in Xinjiang have been barred from observing the Ramadan fast due to religious restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. China in many cases prohibits civil servants, students and teachers from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

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In certain areas of Xinjiang, access to mosques is also more tightly controlled, while restaurants have been ordered to stay open. Retired Uyghurs are often forced to promise ahead of Ramadan that they will not fast or pray.

Residents were also told they could face penalties for fasting, including being sent to one of Xinjiang’s extensive network of internment camps.

Chinese authorities are believed to have detained up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities since April 2017.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, he said meetings about Ramadan were “always held” at police stations, the authorities were telling the public to “stay away from religious extremism.”

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But amid the propaganda work, he said, residents were also told that “people can fast if they want.” “They said it’s okay for people to practice religion in a legal place where religious activities are allowed,” he said, referring to government-approved places of worship. (T/R7/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)