New reports of repression against Muslim Uyghurs in China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang have emerged, as a woman was apparently detained for sharing praise for Allah on social media.
Exile group the World Uyghur Congress also told Taiwanese media that mosques in the Muslim-majority Hotan prefecture in Xinjiang have been ordered to replace a section of Friday prayers with the line “we give thanks to Chairman Xi [Jinping].”
The latest reports come after the restive region’s top legislative body announced a list of 50 “anti-extremism” regulations in late March.
Praise of Allah
On Sunday, police in the central Xinjiang city of Korla announced on their WeChat account that a woman had been detained for uploading a large amount of extremist religious content – in words and graphics – to the QQ social media platform.
“After questioning, the suspect admitted to the truth of uploading extremist religious words and graphics to the QQ space,” the statement read.
US-backed Radio Free Asia cited a Korla police officer as saying that the woman was detained because she uploaded a graphic containing praise for Allah.
The officer confirmed to RFA that sharing passages from the Quran and graphics praising Allah was banned.
The outlet also cited a receptionist at Korla’s Cyberspace Affairs Office – the government internet regulator – as saying: “The Quran is quite separatist – there is a corresponding punishment for [sharing] it.”
The receptionist declined to disclose the exact words and graphics that constituted “extremism” or “terrorism,” however, citing government confidentiality.
Changes to prayers
Also on Tuesday, the World Uyghur Congress told Taiwan’s Central News Agency that the local government in Hotan had begun enforcing changes to lines recited during weekly prayers on Friday – Islam’s holy day of the week.
According to photographs of documents provided by the group, the call to prayer across the prefecture was changed to: “We are the children of the motherland. The motherland is great.”
The Tasbih – a repeatedly uttered section of prayers such as “Allah is great” – has been changed to: “We give thanks to China. We give thanks to Chairman Xi.”
Violent attacks inspired by separatism or religion have occurred in Xinjiang, but authorities have also been accused of implementing repressive policies against the traditional Uyghur ethnic group.
Reports in recent weeks also claim that government has banned baby names with religious overtones such as Jihad, Imam and Medina.