US Muslims Demand End of China's Ramadan Ban in Xinjiang
Washington - Deploring increasing restrictions on practicing Islam in China's
Xinjiang region, a leading American Muslim group has sent a letter to the
Chinese president urging him to end all state-sanctioned denial of religious
freedom targeting Muslims.
"The ability of Muslims in Xinjiang to freely practice their faith is
allegedly being obstructed by local authorities who routinely attempt to ban
fasting during Ramadan under a state campaign to suppress Islamic religious
practices and local Muslim traditions," Nihad Awad, National Executive
Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), wrote in a
letter to President Xi Jinping.
"The Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to those who practice
Islam. As a signatory to the United Nations Charter, the United Nation
universal declaration of human rights and the United Nations international
convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, the
People's Republic of China is responsible for ensuring that Muslims in
Xinjiang and across greater China are entitled to equal protection under the
law against any state discrimination and against any incitement to
discrimination," the letter said.
"These acts of state religious suppression also reportedly include harassing
Muslim men who grow beards and women who wear Islamic attire.
"It is also reported that Muslims under the age of 18 are
prohibited from practicing their religion and that authorities impose heavy
fines on families whose children study the Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, or
fast during Ramadan."
"The American Muslim community and CAIR respectfully urge the People's
Republic of China to uphold its own laws and international conventions by
removing all barriers to religious freedom for the Muslims in Xinjiang, for
Muslims throughout China and for the rights of all other people of faith in
CAIR also requested a meeting between the Chinese ambassador in Washington,
D.C., and representatives of the American Muslim community and other concerned
parties to discuss the issue of religious freedom.
Every year, Chinese authorities have repeatedly imposed restrictions on Uighur
Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang every Ramadan.
Earlier in December, China banned the wearing of Islamic veiled robes in
public in Urumqi, the capital of the province of Xinjiang.
Uighur Muslims are a Turkish-speaking minority of eight million in the
northwestern Xinjiang region.