Is­lam in China flour­ish­ing

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

JAVED AKHTAR ISLAMABAD—Is­lam in China is flour­ish­ing and Chi­nese Mus­lims are en­joy­ing com­plete re­li­gious free­dom.

The pre­vail­ing Chi­nese laws pro­tect nor­mal re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties. All nor­mal re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing at­tend­ing re­li­gious ser­vices, fast­ing, wor­ship­ing Bud­dha, pray­ing, preach­ing, recit­ing scrip­tures, burn­ing in­cense, at­tend­ing Mass, be­ing bap­tized or or­dained, ob­serv­ing ex­treme unc­tion, hold­ing memo­rial cer­e­monies, and cel­e­brat­ing re­li­gious fes­ti­vals, that be­liev­ers con­duct at venues for re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties or in their own homes in ac­cor­dance with cus­tom­ary re­li­gious prac­tices, are ex­clu­sive af­fairs of re­li­gious groups and the be­liev­ers them­selves.

Th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties are pro­tected by law, and no or­ga­ni­za­tion or in­di­vid­ual may in­ter­fere with them. To en­sure suc­cess­ful pil­grim­ages for be­liev­ers in Is­lam, the largest Mus­lims’ pop­u­lated re­gion Xin­jiang adopts a pol­icy of or­ga­nized and planned pil­grim­ages.

Since 1996 the Xin­jiang govern­ment has ar­ranged char­ter flights ev­ery year to take be­liev­ers in Is­lam to Mecca in Saudi Ara­bia. The Xin­jiang govern­ment funds med­i­cal care and in­ter­pre­ta­tion for pil­grims, and of­fers other ser­vices to en­sure safe and or­derly pil­grim­ages.

Cit­i­zens’ re­li­gious feel­ings and needs are fully re­spected. Dur­ing the holy Is­lamic month of Ra­madan whether to close or open ha­lal (Mus­lim food) restau­rants is com­pletely de­ter­mined by the own­ers them­selves with­out in­ter­fer­ence. There are mosques with a tra­di­tion of hav­ing if­tar (the evening meal when Mus­lims end their daily Ra­madan fast at sun­set) and a num­ber of re­li­gious be­liev­ers pro­vide free if­tar to fast­ing peo­ple. Lo­cal gov­ern­ments en­sure that all re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing Ra­madan go on in an or­derly man­ner. On July 3, 2015, dur­ing Ra­madan, a 6.5-mag­ni­tude earth­quake oc­curred in Hotan Pre­fec­ture. The govern­ment car­ried out res­cue work while at the same time promptly set­ting up tem­po­rary sites to en­sure prayer, fast­ing and other nor­mal re­li­gious life for re­li­gious be­liev­ers in the dis­as­ter-hit ar­eas. On the evening of July 17 (the eve of Eid al-Fitr, fes­ti­val of break­ing of the fast), prin­ci­pal Party and govern­ment lead­ers of Xin­jiang had if­tar with Is­lamic per­son­ages and Mus­lim rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all eth­nic groups to wel­come Eid alFitr, at­tract­ing wide at­ten­tion and praise from all sec­tors of so­ci­ety.

The cus­toms of re­li­gious be­liev­ers are fully re­spected. State laws, in­clud­ing the Law on Re­gional Eth­nic Au­ton­omy, Crim­i­nal Law, Gen­eral Prin­ci­ples of the Civil Law, Ed­u­ca­tion Law, La­bor Law, and Advertising Law, and lo­cal reg­u­la­tions, in­clud­ing the Reg­u­la­tions of the Xin­jiang Uygur Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion on Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Mus­lim Food and the Reg­u­la­tions of Xin­jiang Uygur Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion on the Work of Eth­nic Unity and Progress con­tain spe­cific pro­vi­sions on the pro­tec­tion of re­li­gious cus­toms, in­clud­ing pro­duc­tion, pro­cess­ing, stor­age, dis­tri­bu­tion and sell­ing of ha­lal food, sup­ply of spe­cial food, set­ting up of ha­lal restau­rants and ha­lal can­teens. Dur­ing the Spring Fes­ti­val, Eid al-Adha (Cor­ban Fes­ti­val), Eid alFitr and other ma­jor tra­di­tional fes­ti­vals, all eth­nic groups can en­joy statu­tory hol­i­days and be sup­plied with spe­cial food­stuffs. Spe­cial ceme­tery ar­eas are al­lo­cated for some eth­nicmi­nor­ity groups who tra­di­tion­ally bury their dead in the ground. Tra­di­tional prac­tices of a re­li­gious na­ture, such as nam­ing a child, fu­neral pray, burial, and hold­ing Nazer (memo­rial ac­tiv­i­ties), are re­spected.

Re­li­gious and cul­tural her­itages are ef­fec­tively pro­tected. A to­tal of 109 re­li­gious and cul­tural sites in Xin­jiang, in­clud­ing Id Kah Mosque in Kash­gar, Shengyou La­masery in Zhaosu and the Kizil Grot­toes, have been des­ig­nated as cul­tural relics sites un­der the pro­tec­tion of the au­ton­o­mous re­gion and the state. Among the 109 sites, 46 are key cul­tural relics sites un­der the pro­tec­tion of the state, and 63 are un­der the pro­tec­tion of the au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

The cen­tral govern­ment has al­lo­cated spe­cial funds to ren­o­vate cul­tural relic pro­tec­tion sites at the state and au­ton­o­mous-re­gion lev­els, in­clud­ing the Id Kah Mosque in Kash­gar, Bay­tulla Mosque in Yin­ing, Jia­man Mosque in Hotan, Yang­hang Mosque in Urumqi and the Tomb of the Fra­grant Im­pe­rial Con­cu­bine (Apak Hoja Maz­zar) in Kash­gar. to fa­cil­i­tate the is­suance of visas for Ukrainian fans who are plan­ning to visit the Euro­pean Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship in France”, the of­fi­cial state­ment said late Mon­day.

About 10 fans gath­ered out­side the French em­bassy in Kiev Mon­day in protest against de­lays in get­ting the visas. The tour­na­ment starts Fri­day.—APP

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