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Muslims in China Banned from Celebrating Ramadan
The 1.2 Million Muslims in Xianjing are currently not allowed to celebrate the religious holiday of Ramadan. The Chinese government, which identifies as atheist, reportedly made an announcement on websites for state schools, government agencies and local parties, saying,
“No teacher may participate in religious activities, instill religious thoughts in students, or coerce students into religious activities.
“Students shall not participate in religious activities; they shall not study scripts or read poems at script and choir classes; they shall not wear any religious emblems; and no parent or others can force students to have religious beliefs or partake in religious activities,” the statement said.
Restaurants in heavily populated Muslim areas that normally close in the daytime during Ramadan are being forced to stay open. Shops have also been threatened with closure if they do not continue selling alcohol and cigarettes throughout the holy month.
China has demanded all parents in Muslim areas pledge that they will not force their children to fast. Last Ramadan, 3 Muslim students testified that their professors forced them to eat.
Until recently, China has not had much to say in regard to Islam and fighting radical Islam. Some incidents have changed that. During the beginning of 2014’s Ramadan, violence broke out in Muslim-populated Xinjiang in an open-air vegetable market.The terrorist attack left 43 dead. At the end of last year’s Ramadan, 13 radical Islamists were killed in a clash with Chinese police. Violent attacks at a train station in Urumqi were also blamed on Muslim extremists.
Based on isolated incidents of violence, it appears the Chinese government is demonizing Muslims in a way similar to how they are scapegoated in the U.S. media. It is punishing over a million people in a collective push against radical Islam. One can only hope the same sort of violence will not occur this time around.