In Xinjiang region, the Chinese government has banned Muslims from observing Ramadan, a traditional month long period of fasting and spiritual reflection.
“Authorities encouraged Uighurs to eat free meals, and inspected homes to check whether families were observing the fast” said by the spokesperson of exiled World Uyghur Congress.
World Uyghur Congress is a group which promotes democracy, human rights and freedom for the indigenous Uyghur (Uighur) people.
Further as reported, many government agencies and agencies have posted the notices of ban on their websites which aiming to prevent the people to promote religion (Its not promoting but observing the faith). Similar bans were being imposed on fasting in the past as well but this year, it is unusually tighter than previous attempts as Xinjiang is under tight security following attacks that the government blames on Muslim extremists with foreign terrorist ties, according to the Associated Press.
Such continuous attempts turned the situation into violent clashes between Uighurs and ethnic Chinese which has risen in recent years. In such violence in July 2009, killed nearly 200 people in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi.
The commercial affairs bureau of Turfan, an oasis city in the Taklamakan Desert, said on its website as quoted
“civil servants and students cannot take part in fasting and other religious activities,” according to the South China Morning Post.
The state-run Bozhou Radio and TV University had notified the ban which would be enforced as quoted
“on party members, teachers, and young people from taking part in Ramadan activities.”
“We remind everyone that they are not permitted to observe a Ramadan fast,” it added.
Xinjiang is an “autonomous” region in northwestern China, also as known as East Turkestan, which is inhabited by the Uighur who demands for total independence from Beijing. According to a 2002 census (the latest available) conducted by China, the Uighur, a racially distinct Muslim minority with their own language with about 10.2 million Uighurs in living for years in Xinjiang. They say that they have often been subjected to racial and religious discrimination by the Chinese government.
“China taking these kind of coercive measures, restricting the faith of Uighur, will create more conflict,” Dilxadi Rexiti, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, said.
“We call on China to ensure religious freedom for Uighur and stop political repression of Ramadan.” spokesperson said
IOI Comment : A continuous attempt is made to disconnect the Muslims from observing the faith. Promoting and observing is different. Promoting (spreading) can be restricted if other’s communities has got the same restrictions but observing a faith within a wall becomes a minimum social or human right.