Beijing: Stating that they are enjoying complete freedom in the country and are observing Ramadan fasts like others in the World, Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region denied there are restrictions in the region by the government during the holy month of fasting.
There are around 20 million Muslims in China, including some foreign residents. But, China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is home to the country’s largest Muslim population.
Talking to the media they said they began observing the holy month with traditional enthusiasm from Saturday when majority of the Muslims in the world greeted Ramadan.
“We enjoy competing for freedom in observing religious rites in the month, said Imam Abu Hanif, head of a Central mosque in Urumqi while talking with correspondent Javed Akhtar on the telephone. The Chinese government facilitates us to do so", Ha Shaolin, head of the Islamic Association of South China’s Hainan Province, said.
Ramadan is widely observed by many of China’s ethnic minorities, including Hui, Uygur, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik, and Kyrgyz, reports Chinese media. There are thousands of mosques in China, mostly in Xinjiang region which make special arrangements for ‘Salat and Taraweeh’ during the month.
Ha Shaolin took his pre-dawn meal (suhoor) together with relatives on the first day of Ramadan.
“Ramadan is not just about fasting,” he said. “More importantly, Muslims should remember to love others and be grateful during the holy month.”
An Uyghur woman named Khadija said that the central government has given us enough protection and respect and it is untrue that Ramadan in Xinjiang has restrictions, her family has always observed an easy and comfortable environment here.
Last year, the State Council Information Office published a white paper titled Freedom of Religious Belief in Xinjiang which has totally rejected the false and unauthenticated claims of the West about restrictions on Muslims community regarding fasting and other Islamic rituals.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has a very clear approach and vision on freedom of religion in the country as he has called on authorities to fully implement the Party’s policy of religious freedom, manage religious affairs in line with laws, retain the principle of religious independence and self-administration, and help religions adapt to the socialist society.
Religious activities in China are growing with a passage of time. Overall there are about 35,000 mosques and more than 50,000 teaching faculties in various parts of the country. Accordingly, the number of Islamic clergies has increased to 28,000, Pakistan Observer reported.
The majority of Muslims are living in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region where there are about 24,100 mosques and 30,000 teaching faculties, which work freely to promote the teaching of Quran and Sunnah without any kind of restriction.
The Chinese Muslims are also facilitated by the government to visit Makkah to perform Haj.