China seeks to limit fasting during Ramadan in Muslim Xinjiang

DPA Beijing | Updated on July 03, 2014

Several schools and Government agencies in China’s western region of Xinjiang have banned the areas’ Muslims from fasting during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan.

A number of facilities have published notices online warning people not to give up eating and drinking during the Muslim fasting month, while students have reported on social networks on Wednesday that teachers have forced them to drink water in public.

Xinjiang, a hotbed of conflict between Muslim Uighurs and ethnic Han Chinese, has about 8 million Uighurs out of a total population of 21.8 million people.

Many Uighurs complain of cultural and religious repression and say that ethnic Han Chinese migrants enjoy the main benefits of development in the oil-rich but economically backward region.

In past months, several attacks have occurred in which dozens of civilians have been killed. Chinese authorities have held Islamist fundamentalists and Uighur separatists responsible.

Since 2013, around 300 people have died in clashes between Uighurs and security forces, according to human rights groups.

More than a billion Muslims across the world observe Ramadan as an integral part of their faith. It is said by Islamic scholars to be the month in which God began revealing the Koran to the prophet Mohammed. Fasting during daylight hours in this month is one of the five basic pillars of the Islamic faith.

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Published on July 02, 2014
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