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China’s crackdown on Islam goes nationwide

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Photo credit: SupChina illustration

For China’s Muslims, these are the darkest days in decades. Just a few months ago, that statement might have been limited to Uyghur Muslims, of whom a million or more are currently held in concentration camps in China’s Xinjiang region in an apparent effort to crush their culture and completely reorganize their society.

But now, the crackdown on Islam has spread far beyond Xinjiang, to the heartland province of Henan, according to reporting by Emily Feng at NPR:

  • In Ningxia, home to many Hui Muslims — who “have long prided themselves on assimilation” — “virtually every mosque…has been denuded of its domes.” Islamic schools have also been shuttered, and religious community leaders have been imprisoned.
  • “We are afraid we will become the next Xinjiang,” one Hui man told Feng.
  • In Henan Province, as well as Ningxia, Imams “must now attend monthly training sessions that can last for days,” where they are taught Communist ideology and must pass exams in order to renew their license each year.
  • “Hui women…say they are no longer allowed to wear the head-to-toe black abaya customary to Saudi women.”

Emily Feng’s sources confirm earlier reporting by the New York Times, which described a trend of mosque demolitions and fear among China’s 10 million Hui Muslims, and by the Washington Post, which found a “purge of ideas, symbols, culture, products — anything deemed not Chinese.”

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