Muslims feel the long arm of Beijing – Mark Magnier

Mark Magnier reports for the LA Times on government pressures on Muslim Uighurs in Province:

Powered by a good set of lungs and lots of practice, the cleric belts out the afternoon call to prayer. Despite his best efforts, the chant is all but drowned out by the din of a single-stroke tractor engine and a passing bus.

Beijing bars mullahs from using loudspeakers, one of dozens of rules critics say are designed to mute ’s voice in China, particularly among the Uighur minority here in the far-western region of Xinjiang, which the government considers a separatist threat.

Signs and banners at mosque entrances in Hotan, Kashgar and other western cities make it clear who is boss.

“Completely abide by the Communist Party’s religious policy,” reads an oversized banner straddling the gate of Hotan’s Imam Asim tomb, half a mile over desert dunes from the nearest road. “Actively lead religion toward a just socialist society.” [Full text]

See photos of Xinjiang by Jenny Chu.

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