Mosques in China must raise national flag




China demanded all mosques to carry the national flag of China in a prominent place to "promote a spirit of patriotism" among Muslims, the country's top Islamic regulatory body has declared, as the Communist Party seeks to tighten its grip on religion.

The Islamic association has supported the move. Flags should be hung in a "prominent position" in all mosque courtyards, the China Islamic Association said in a letter published Saturday on its website.

The aim for mosques was to become "a solid platform for the study of the party and the country's laws and policies". The idea is that these houses of worship would be further utilised for developing among Muslims "an understanding of a common Chinese identity" with the majority Han.

The Chinese regime has been struggling with Islam and its ability to control the fundamentalist side of Islam. They hope that the display of the Chinese flag would instil nationalism as part of their ethos. This would "further strengthen the understanding of national and civic ideals, and promote a spirit of patriotism among Muslims of all ethnic groups", the circular said.

The Uyghur conflict

The struggle between the Chinese government and the Muslims of Xinjiang is an ongoing one.

China's Xinjiang province is far west and Kashgar is the biggest city west of China. In 2017 Xinjiang authorities started an exercise to remove all Korans published more than five years ago due to extremist content. This exercise banned 'illegal' publicity, religious activities, religious teaching, and items considered as tools of terrorism including flammable objects, and knives.

The Uyghur American Association is a representative body of the Uyghur in exile. In a recent statement, they said China's introduction of regulations criminalise religious practice and belief. The Uyghur Human Rights Project has asked China to respect international human rights standards on freedom of religion and to end the targeting of Uyghurs.

China has maintained that threats from domestic cults and radical Islam to dragging the country down. But groups have criticised Beijing for a broader pattern of harassment, detention and abuse.

According to DNL sources, officials have been high handed in neighbourhoods. The minority Muslim families are being forced to hand in religious items including the Koran and prayer mats.

Attacks by Muslims in China

In 2013 a radical Islamist group has claimed responsibility for an attack on Tiananmen Square. It had warned more such attacks and that set off alarm bells in the Chinese administration.

In 2015 Uighurs attacked a police checkpoint in the southern city of Kashgar and killed 18 police officers in a revenge for the government's crackdown on the holy Muslim month of fasting.

An audio clip surfaced recently that said, "O Chinese unbelievers, know that you have been fooling East Turkistan for the last sixty years, but now they have awakened," the organisation's leader Abdullah Mansour said in the clip.

One of the most famous universities in China Tsinghua also recently said that its website had been hacked by a group or person claiming to be linked to the militant organisation Islamic State.

Tsinghua is one of the top state universities in China and is involved in many defence and national security research projects.

China and religion

China has had an ongoing challenge with religion and religious groups. Communist ideology

Chinese communism had its own "classical" non-pluralistic period in the second half of the 20th century; then, in the early 1990s, it has began developing into a new form of a 21st century "sino-communism," merging in itself, as we will see, the elements of different political, ideological, and economic systems -- state capitalism, Confuciansim, and Maoist "Marxism" (as official ideology). (themontrealreview.com)

The idea that the Chinese communism is a synergy of old and new, an unusual "secular religion" that serves the power of political center in the tradition of old imperial China. (themontrealreview.com)


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