NewsGram Staff Writer
As the Muslim community across is observing the holy month of Ramadan, China, in a scandalous move, has banned the festival in parts of the far western Xinjiang district for Muslim inhabitants.
Xinjiang is home to Uighur Muslims, who have been asked not to fast during Ramadan.
Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims around the world, which involves fasting from dawn to dusk and offering prayers and reading the Quran for a month.
As per media reports, in some particular restive areas in Xinjiang, officials have been asked to give assurances, orally and in writing, “guaranteeing they have no faith, will not attend religious activities and will lead the way in not fasting over Ramadan”.
Other than putting a ban on fasting, China has also ordered halal restaurants to remain open during the day. Shops selling cigarettes and alcohol have also been asked either to continue their sale throughout the day or to remain shut down altogether.
Chinese authorities have often blamed Uighurs Muslims, whom they label as “religious extremists”, allegedly for being part of terrorist attacks in the recent years. But the group has always denied any kind of involvement in terrorist activities.
However China’s attempt to stoke religious sentiments might trigger further violence.
The Uighur leader, Dilxat Raxit, was reported as saying, “The faith of the Uighurs has been highly politicised and the increase in controls could cause sharp resistance.”
In January 2015, the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang province had passed a law, prohibiting residents from wearing burqas in public.
The state media reported that earlier in August 2014, another city in Xinjiang banned people wearing Islamic-style clothing and large beards from riding public buses during a provincial sporting event.