Suppressing religious freedoms: Chinese imams forced to dance in Xinjiang region

Published: April 18, 2015
The imams were also forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul. PHOTO: ON ISLAM

The imams were also forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul. PHOTO: ON ISLAM

XINJIANG: In another attempt to suppress religious freedoms, China forced imams from its eastern Muslim majority Xinjiang region to dance in the street and swear to an oath that they would not teach religion to children. 

The imams were also forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul.

The Muslim imams were further forced to brandish the slogan that “our income comes from the CKP [Chinese Communist Party] not from Allah”.

Read: The Muslims of Xi’an, China

State Chinese news said the imams were gathering in a square in the name of civilization where they were forced to dance and chant out slogans in support of the state.

The slogans included statements glorifying the state over religion such as ‘peace of the country gives peace to the soul’.

Speeches were also given which directed youth to stay away from mosques and that prayer was harmful for their health. They were instead encouraged to dance.

Female teachers were instructed to teach children to stay away from religious education and made to swear an oath that they will keep children away from religion.

Read: Chinese court jails Muslims for 6 years for growing beard, wife gets two years for wearing a veil

Uighur Muslims are a Turkish-speaking minority of eight million in the northwestern Xinjiang region.

Also known as East Turkestan, the region has been autonomous since 1955 but continues to be the subject of massive security crackdowns by Chinese authorities.

Rights groups accuse Chinese authorities of religious repression against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang in the name of counter terrorism.

In August, the northern Xinjiang city of Karamay prohibited young men with beards and women in burqas or hijabs from boarding public buses.

Similarly, Xinjiang banned the practicing of religion in government buildings, as well as wearing clothes or logos associated with religious extremism, last November.

Last year, China banned Muslim students and government staff from observing fasts in the month of Ramadan, while encouraging locals to abstain from wearing veils.

Shocked by the outrageous incident, many took to social media to express their views.

This article originally appeared on OnIslam

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Waqar
    Apr 18, 2015 - 12:15PM

    so called Pakistan’s all weather friend !Recommend

  • blue
    Apr 18, 2015 - 12:41PM

    I have to comment. There is a reason, it is valid for why the Chinese are saying this. The masses just don’t understand. There is grave danger for China, they cannot afford to have religious manics or people being brainwashed. It is correct the Imams are paid by their country China and that is their country. Even in Islam it says you must obey the laws of the country where you reside. You have to be pragmatic. China cannot afford to have instability created by exogenous forces in that area where Uighurs live. The Uighurs are innocent and they just don’t understand, because they are relatively poor, exogenous factors can lead them astray. Recommend

  • abc
    Apr 18, 2015 - 1:58PM

    is there any Muslim country in the world that has enough spine to tell them this is unacceptable!!? Is this our “friend” country?Recommend

  • Mohan
    Apr 18, 2015 - 3:52PM

    No where Islam is suppressed as a religion to practice except China ,the all weather friend of Pakistan,but Pakistan cannot dare to raise these issues with china.Shame on Pakistan Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 18, 2015 - 4:03PM

    FOR GOD’S SAKE, CHINA!! After violence triggered by poverty amongst Afghan refugees, I fear Pakistan will soon have to worry about Chinese Muslim immigrants, too. We already have too many people here, divided by enough ethnicities as we are, we don’t need any more problems!Recommend

  • ghauriz
    Apr 18, 2015 - 4:52PM

    @mohan…..there are many countries where practising islam is suppressed…. Great example is your own country India…. Where hindu extremists even did forced conversions…..Recommend

  • woody
    Apr 18, 2015 - 6:28PM

    This kind of anti Muslim behavior has been going on for a long time – just not reported in Pakistan newspapers. The harsh truth is that your so called “best friend” doesn’t like Muslims – might be a wake up call to some.
    With Chinese leader heading towards Pakistan I wouldn’t be surprised that the Establishment has this article removed.Recommend

  • Ali Ahmed Lone
    Apr 18, 2015 - 7:05PM

    This is terrible! and yet Pakistan calls China its fine feathered friend?
    Just one question, how is communism beneficial to Muslims? Answer is, it is NOT. China is an anti religious buffoon, a communist gangster. Thing is, Asia is the world’s most messed up continent.Recommend

  • Adnan Ali
    Apr 19, 2015 - 12:50AM

    What exactly is the point to publish an old news (even the tweets are from Feb,15). Why was Tribune sleeping when this happened and now suddenly has been awakened when China is about to make heavy investments in Pakistan?Recommend

  • truthbetold
    Apr 19, 2015 - 2:42AM


    “there are many countries where practising islam is suppressed…. Great example is your own country India…. Where hindu extremists even did forced conversions…”

    What hypocrisy! Nowhere in the world including India where Muslims are repressed and prevented from practicing their faith as the Chinese do.

    You condone the brutal repression of Uighur Muslims to freely practice their faith. Indian Muslims, be they shia, sunni, sufi, ahmadi…- practice their faith freely in India. As for “forced” conversion in India by HIndus, it is a blatant lie and propaganda.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Apr 19, 2015 - 5:07AM

    Excellent. India and china have to become all weather friends to defeat the barbarians as we alone have the population and the drive to do it.Recommend

  • rk singh
    Apr 19, 2015 - 5:13AM

    still worship China? Pakistanis….Recommend

  • Rafiq Ali
    Apr 19, 2015 - 6:34AM

    It is actually a pragmatic step. It seems China is far ahead of others in terms of accepting the truth. The Imams should not turn against the country paying their salaries. Religion is opimum of the masses. Islam has a tendency to preach hatred and make people hateful. China has done the right thing.Recommend

  • observer
    Apr 19, 2015 - 10:00AM

    There you go. Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s sweeter than honey, taller than the Himalayas, deeper than the ocean soul brothers, the Chinese.Recommend

  • Appreciator
    Apr 19, 2015 - 7:01PM

    u published a quite old story but still this has to get a voice … i havent seen this in any pakistani media as a news to show unity with the muslims of xin jiangRecommend

  • Deepak
    Apr 20, 2015 - 2:14AM

    @truthbetold, You really don’t need to justify on this issue, Do you really expect him to be honest when it comes to minories in India and a theocracy called Pakistan? Recommend

  • Indian
    Apr 20, 2015 - 6:39AM

    That’s great. China is helping muslims to modernize. Pray to allah but trash all silly beliefs. China is real pragmatic thinker!Recommend

  • Milind
    Apr 20, 2015 - 8:20AM

    All Pakistani trolls who otherwise wax eloquent on perceived injustices against Muslims in India, will now be deafeningly silent…Recommend

  • shankar
    Apr 20, 2015 - 8:59AM


    Yes , and see the hullabaloo by Pakistan. Not a peep about China .
    China has trampled on the Sovereignty on Tibetans & abuses of human rights,
    Are Tibetans children of a lesser God than Kashmiris?Recommend

  • Ganesh
    Apr 20, 2015 - 12:23PM

    hahahahaaha muslims of India should take note of this.Recommend

  • Ganesh
    Apr 20, 2015 - 12:25PM

    Lies,lies and more Lies…hahahahahaRecommend

  • Al-Khalifa
    Apr 20, 2015 - 12:30PM

    Nothing surprising here. The Pakistani leadership (political + military + religious) dance to the tune of USA and Saudi. The imams are merely imitating the Pakistanis but dancing to a different tune and a different master ! Long live Pak-China friendship !!Recommend

  • Umer
    Apr 20, 2015 - 12:45PM

    Who needs religious brainwashing when you have political brainwashing.
    I’ve seen pathetic pseudo-intelligence and sophistry before but I actually feel sorry for your brain cells.
    Alhamdulillah that people can actually think for themselves.Recommend

  • jamor
    Apr 20, 2015 - 1:58PM

    The lengths you go to justify the suppression of Islam by China.The usual excuse of non state actors are responsible for problems in Xinjiang is trotted out again.Why doesnt apply to France where the burkha is banned.After all a Muslim has to obey the laws in the country of residenceRecommend

  • kaami
    Apr 20, 2015 - 5:32PM

    Pakistan as a state is not responsible for the Muslim affairs all around the world.
    We have enough of our own religious home grown problems to address first and than look elsewhere. Recommend

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