The government's attempt to clamp down on religious expression has backfired among Uyghurs. Umar Farooq
Al-Jazeera - 05 Jul 2014
Kashgar, China - Chinese
authorities have imposed restrictions on Uighur Muslims during the month
of Ramadan, banning government employees and school children from
fasting, in what rights groups say has become an annual attempt at systematically erasing the region's Islamic identity.
Chinese authorities have justified the ban on fasting
by saying it is meant to protect the health of students, and
restrictions on religious practices by government officials are meant to
ensure the state does not support any particular faith.
Yet in Kashgar, in Xinjiang province, China's westernmost city,
close to the border with Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, Uighur Muslims say
the restrictions have backfired. Not only have locals become more
observant of Islamic practices, but many have found ways to flaunt
Chinese laws restricting everything from who may attend the mosque, to
which copies of the Quran are read.