Daily Trust

Bei­jing bans per­sonal pil­grim­ages to Mecca for Chi­nese Mus­lims

- Islamophobia · Religion · Society · Middle East News · Discrimination · Politics · Asian Politics · Human Rights · Beijing · Mecca · Communist Party of China · Saudi Arabia · F.C. Zenit St. Petersburg · Xinjiang · United States of America · Chinese Patriotic Islamic Association · United Front

China has in­tro­duced new rules ban­ning non-of­fi­cial pil­grim­ages to Mecca, a move ob­servers said was another at­tempt by the Com­mu­nist Party to con­trol re­li­gious af­fairs.

In rules is­sued on Monday for the Mus­lim pil­grim­age, known as the haj, the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for Re­li­gious Af­fairs said all such trips to Saudi Ara­bia must be ar­ranged by the Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion of China, an or­gan­i­sa­tion con­trolled by the party’s in­ter­na­tional out­reach arm, the United Front Work Depart­ment.

In­de­pen­dent per­sonal pil­grim­ages are not al­lowed.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion should ed­u­cate haj at­ten­dees on pa­tri­otic and safe be­hav­iour, strengthen the man­age­ment of at­ten­dees, and pre­vent the in­fil­tra­tion of re­li­gious ex­trem­ist think­ing and be­hav­iour that en­dan­gers na­tional se­cu­rity,” the ad­min­is­tra­tion said in the rules.

Bei­jing has come un­der heavy in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism for its sup­pres­sion of re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties in the far western re­gion of Xin­jiang.

Nury Turkel, a Uygur-Amer­i­can rights ad­vo­cate who serves on the US Com­mis­sion on In­ter­na­tional Re­li­gious Free­dom, said that ban­ning “il­le­gal hajs” and al­low­ing only of­fi­cial pil­grim­ages to Mecca had been a pol­icy since 2005 but the new rules now spec­i­fied how the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties would se­lect haj par­tic­i­pants.

Only pil­grims who are “pa­tri­otic”, “law-abid­ing”, have “good be­hav­iour” and can fund the trip on their own will be ap­proved, ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tion.

“The mea­sures im­pose a po­lit­i­cal test for Mus­lims who want to go on the pil­grim­age. It is highly likely that the gov­ern­ment dis­crim­i­nates against cer­tain Mus­lim groups be­cause of this po­lit­i­cal test – par­tic­u­larly Uygur Mus­lims, which is not a new phe­nom­e­non,” Turkel said.

Turkel said Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties had ha­rassed and even tor­tured Mus­lims who made in­de­pen­dent pil­grim­ages.

 ??  ?? Gov­er­nor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State (left) with the Na­tional Leader of JIBWIS, Sheikh Ab­dul­lahi Bala Lau, dur­ing the foun­da­tion lay­ing cer­e­mony of As­salam Global Uni­ver­sity in Hade­jia, Ji­gawa State
Gov­er­nor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State (left) with the Na­tional Leader of JIBWIS, Sheikh Ab­dul­lahi Bala Lau, dur­ing the foun­da­tion lay­ing cer­e­mony of As­salam Global Uni­ver­sity in Hade­jia, Ji­gawa State

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