China asks Muslims to oppose religious extremism, reject foreign influence

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SHAFAQNA – China has asked its Muslim population to “resolutely oppose religious extremism” and adhere to the concept of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” while practicing their religion.

The statement came from Wang Zuo’an, chief of the state administration for religious affairs, at the 10th National Congress of Chinese Muslims. Wang indicated that the government was worried about foreign influence over Muslims in China at a time when major acts of terrorism were being carried out by terrorists in different parts of the world.

Wang also expressed concern about new mosques being in Muslim populated areas were copying designs from shrines in foreign countries instead of relying on Chinese traditions in mosque building. New mosques should demonstrate Chinese characteristics and national features, he said.

China’s Communist officials have often said that Muslim fundamentalism, which has overseas influence, is responsible for the growth of terrorism in Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan.

The government would disallow any attempt by Muslim religious groups to interfere in the process of governance, Wang said. Any “religious interference” in the fields of politics, justice and education is “intolerable”, the official media said on Sunday quoting from Wang’s speech.

China has been apprehensive about the rise of Muslim fundamentalism in Pakistan, which borders the western Chinese region of Xinjiang that has a vast Muslim population. Communist leaders have earlier indicated that terror camps in Pakistan have supplied arms and other forms of support to separatists in Xinjiang who occasionally indulge in grave violence.

Wang’s statement came two days after a government order asking people with passports in Xinjiang to hand over the documents to local police stations for “examination and management”.
“Anyone who needs the passport must apply to the police station,” the Beijing based Global Times quoted an anonymous police officer in Aksu prefecture of Xinjiang.
The government has also been worried that some Muslims from the province would join the jihadists from Islamic State in Syria and other places, informed sources said.
In his speech, Wang also asked the Islamic Association of China (IAC) should encourge the Islamic clergy to foster the concept of socialism with Chinese characteristics and actively carry out friendly exchange with foreign countries, Wang said.

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