Linxia: For centuries, Linxia has been one of the main religious, cultural, and commercial centres of China’s Muslim community, earning itself the nickname of “the little Mecca of China”. However, the Muslims of Linxia fear eradication of Islam there. They fear a deliberate move to eradicate Islam. According to AFP, the ruling Community Party has banned minors under 16 from religious activity or study in Linxia.
According to reports, parents were told to ban extracurricular Quranic study as children could not focus on secular coursework.
Feeling extremely concerned over the situation a Muslim lady with tears rolling down her cheeks said, that they were very scared. She added ‘if it goes on like this after a generation or two our traditions will be gone.’
Calling it ‘religious extremism’ and ‘separatism’ the local authorities have severely curtailed the number of students over 16 officially allowed to study in each mosque and limited certification processes for new imams. The authorities asked mosques to display national flags and stop sounding the call to prayer to reduce ‘noise pollution’. Loudspeakers removed entirely from all 355 mosques in a neighbouring county.
Times of India has quoted an Imam as saying ‘they want to secularise Muslims, to cut off Islam at the roots, ‘these days, children are not allowed to believe in religion: only in Communism and the party.”
It has been reported that over 1000 boys have been banned from attending the mosque to study Quranic basics during summer & winter vacations.
Muslims of Xinjiang, another majority Muslim region in its far west also fear similar surveillance and repression.