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China's Ramadan Restrictions

Click here to read this post in Arabic.

We're used to seeing the two major preoccupations of U.S. foreign policy - China and the Islamic world - in relation to ourselves, but this Ramadan offered a stark reminder of how they interact with each other.

Ramadan is the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer, during which Muslims are meant to reach out to the poorer members of their community.

However, Chinese authorities did their best to clamp down on Ramadan celebrations among several of its Muslim minority ethnic groups, particularly the Uighurs, a group of Turkic descent whose members make up the majority of the population of China's northwestern Xinjiang province.

Government employees and members of the Communist party were barred from fasting, wearing veils or growing beards. In some areas the authorities have barred restaurants from opening late at night.

The Chinese government usually implements relatively strict religious controls during Ramadan in Xinjiang province, where there's been a long-standing, low-level Muslim insurgency for decades, but restrictions were unusually broad this year. August saw a dramatic spike in violence on the eve of the Olympics. Sixteen police officers were killed in a spate of suicide bombings and shootings in Xinjiang province.

We're used to seeing extreme reactions across the Islamic world to perceived threats to the Muslim community, so why the relative silence on Chinese oppression? Granted, Xinjiang province isn't exactly on the lips of Muslims in the Islamic heartlands - it's a remote region, and the Chinese authorities are keen to keep it marginalized. But Muslim silence also reflects how many in the Islamic world currently view China, and here there are some salient points of comparison with the U.S.

China doesn't come with the same degree of ideological baggage, such as spreading democracy or fighting terrorism. While China may be repressing Muslims in Xinjiang beyond its boundaries China's politburo is not demanding that the Muslim world change its ideological identity, its government or its treatment of women to suit the country's interests.

China is also foraging in such backwaters of the Islamic world for energy as Yemen, Sudan and Chad. I took a flight to Yemen last year in which the plane was filled with Chinese businessmen looking for oil deals in the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The handful of Americans on the flight were whisked away from the airport under armed escort - the Chinese took local buses and mini-cabs into town.

While Chinese businessmen operate in such countries that are far from the eyes of the mainstream Arab media in the Gulf and the Levant, Muslim attitudes to China are unlikely to change. When they do, inevitably, turn to the oil-rich heartlands like Iraq and Saudi Arabia, China may well be exposed to the same distrust of foreign meddling with which the Americans are charged. Then abuses like the ones that have taken place in Xinjiang over the past month may well garner the full scrutiny that they deserve.

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Comments (17)

abhab Author Profile Page:

Asizk challenges:

"Give me the name and address of one Muslim woman who was killed for not wearing Hijab."

Police charge father accused of hijab murder
By Guillaume Lavallee in Toronto
December 13, 2007 09:05am
Article from: Agence France-Presse

THE devout Muslim father of a 16-year-old Canadian girl, whose friends say was killed for not wearing a hijab, was charged today with second-degree murder.
Aqsa Parvez died on Monday night in hospital after being attacked in her home in a suburb of Toronto.

The girl's friends said Aqsa, who came to Canada from Pakistan with her family, frequently clashed with them over her reluctance to wear a traditional Islamic headscarf, or hijab.

"She would tell us how her dad would always yell at her and how he wanted her to be someone else," her friend Natalie Rance, 14, said.
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5glUR187-NFNc9PLh9YkGUEr8I_Ug
http://kafircanada.blogspot.com/2007/12/murdered-for-not-wearing-hijab.html


Sidney3 Author Profile Page:

Islam and Communism: Both intolerant, violent and failed ideologies. They deserve each other. Only the Chinese and Ruskies can keep the Islamists under control; otherwise Muslims know how to tweak the democracies to spread the violent jihad.

asizk Author Profile Page:

abhab,
Give me the name and address of one Muslim woman who was killed for not wearing Hijab.

I can give u the address of half a million Muslim women who were murdered by the USA, as well as two million others turned into refugees (inside and outside their occupied country under false pretnese).

Because u think u are an idiot then I must give u the address of these 2.5 million women murdered,maimed and disposessed refugees:Iraq-have u ever heared of it?

Millions of women are abused in all kinds of ways in America-is this also because they are not wearing Hijab?????

There is absolutely no perscribed punishment in Islam for women not wearing Hijab-if there is any such provison in Islamic Law then please point it out to us "idiots."

Hijab is a statement of modesty-that simple- which is perscribed and encourged by the Quran and the Sunnah-and is by far preferable to women walking around half naked in the west and in some muslim societies-and I don't deny any of them their right to do so if they so wished.

Pls don't repeat your simplistic lies-reades are not that naive and certainly not "Idiots."

Peter34 Author Profile Page:

simplesimon33 Author Profile Page:

It is not just Islamic world that is relatively silent on China’s Ramadan restrictions. Even western news media does not criticize China’s restrictions on Islamic religious practices but the same news media will be up in arms if India was to do the same.
==============================

Because India is the world's largest "democratic" country,it is not supposed to yet it did make,unfortunately, so many outrageous religious oppressions and violence against Muslims.

abhab Author Profile Page:

Asizk says:

“If u think Muslims mistreat women then u must be living on Mars-just because some Muslim women wear modest clothing by their own free choice does not mean they are oppressed.”

If so why then men had been killing their daughters for not wearing that shroud you call Hijab? The problem with you and those who think like you is you take us for idiots.

simplesimon33 Author Profile Page:

It is not just Islamic world that is relatively silent on China’s Ramadan restrictions. Even western news media does not criticize China’s restrictions on Islamic religious practices but the same news media will be up in arms if India was to do the same.

asizk Author Profile Page:

It is laughable that the author says:" China's politburo is not demanding that the Muslim world change its ideological identity, its government or its treatment of women to suit the country's interests." That is profoundly ignorant.

There is no "Muslim World." There are 1.5 billion Muslims who live in a severly fragmented world of over fifty statlets under brutal oppressive dictatorships esentially protected and nurtured by the West-mostly the USA.These statlets have over fifty different idologies and policies and they all oppress their populations which is helpless to free itself-how can it worry about the Muslims held hostage by China.

This helpless "Muslim World" was not able to stop the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by in and by Europe,or free Palestine from jewish occupation, free Iraq and Afghanistan from the Bush occupation, free Somalia from American sponsered Ethiopian occupation...and the list goes on and on...So where is this "Muslim World" of yours.

If u think Muslims mistreat women then u must be living on Mars-just because some Muslim women wear modest clothing by their own free choice does not mean they are oppressed.Westrners tend to contest and condmen any culture other than theirs:Muslim cultures are different and the USA is the last one to help them because it is an occupying imperial power itself.

scepticus1 Author Profile Page:

Is it the reason, Chinese business men are not molested but the American one has to whisked away in private vehicles, that China is not going to bug countries like Iraq or Saudi but to smaller one like Chad and Yemen? The Western merchants have been cheating the poor African and such other countries by giving worthless things like glass beads for diamonds. So they may be vary of a Wesstern business man while Chinese merchants have been more honest in the trading practices and the Arabs and Africans have more confidence in them.

evilmang0 Author Profile Page:

This author strikes me as intellectually lazy.
Yes it points out the symptoms of repression but did not venture down to its cause. He rightly points out that the CCP is non-idealogical when it comes to religion, even though the political party itself is officially atheist. Given so, then it stands that the restrictions it does is for some practical purpose, given it's not ideological?
But he says nothing. Disappointing.

applychinesevisa Author Profile Page:

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eddy3 Author Profile Page:

TO jailkkhosla,
Apply yhe same policy to US, stop invading other countries and mixing in their internal affairs (your history id full of examples). Stay home and muslims will sty in theirs...Or is it right just for you to travel the rest of the world...

jailkkhosla Author Profile Page:

Instead of trying to reform Islam, the USA should ban the entry of all Muslims to our country. That way Islamic terrorism will be curtailed with few dollars spent. Even if just Pakistanis and Saudi Arabians along with Bangladeshis and Indonesians were banned, 90% of the terrorist threat would vanish.

thmak Author Profile Page:

Religious practice must not interfere with the functioning of the society or be the way government functions. Citing religious freedom is the same as citing religious oppression. Freedom of one is the suppression of the other. Abusing religious freedom should also not be allowed. In some country, religion permeats the whole society but not others. If religion tries to permeat, this is religious hegenomy or imperialism or colonisation. Religion is a more advanced institution of witchcraft that had dominated primitive society. These kind of witchcraft societies do not exist today. So will religion in the future.

Peter34 Author Profile Page:

U.S show the world the fickleness and the atrocity,the nature of an empire.On the one hand, they lecture "Democracy"as long as it is to its interest and convenience,but on the other, it smears feces on Muslim prisoners and use "smart" bomb to blow Muslim civilian off in a wholesale while repressing Muslim voice in the Western mainstream media. How to compare China with this imperial U.S?

Only U.S send its wrongdoing president to the court would the world believe American are not duplicity talker.Otherwise,no body doubt American only serve its own interest instead of universal democracy.Yet for the time being,we listen to American doublespeak and some Muslim have to butter U.S up for survival or gain American favor out of fear,fear.

yeolds Author Profile Page:

Deshar:

Your views of freedom in USa versus other palces with respect to Muslims could be right[not being Muslim, nor a resident of USA I do not have experience to agree or disagree], however, there is a small matter that the USa is involved in 3 wars against Muslim Nations [Somalia, Iraq and Afganistan] while threatening two others constantly {Pakistan and Iran], while China is uninvolved in any anti=-Muslim wars.
Having cognize of USa oil exploitation actions in various unhdeveloped countries [Bolivia, Eqator, Chad, Lybia, Angola, Caspian Sea areaa, etc] the socio/ethincal behavoir of Uncle sam is not something you wish to write about.

If you are unwilling to criticiza all exploiters, then you do not have a right to criticize only one.

abhab Author Profile Page:

China is racing to catch up with the economies of the West. This is the reason it is frantically looking for new oil sources. This also explains why it is clamping down on Ramadan’s fasting of some of its citizens; fasting during daylight and eating and celebrating during the night hours. The net result of such an activity is loss of productivity. This is the last thing a developing nations should be doing, yet ironically it is those same ones who are following the practice religiously. They concede that their type of fasting does not help their economies, but dismiss this illogical practice by saying “ The infidels have this world, but we will have the hereafter world.”

Deshar Author Profile Page:

What an interesting piece. This writer as with many other westerners assume the Muslim world to only constitute the Arab world. The Arabs constitute less than 15% of the entire Muslim population world wide.

Majority beyond the Arab world have a positive view of the west. I for one will choose the US over China any day. Muslims have more freedom in the US than most countries even in so-called Islamic countries.

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