29 April, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastav
China didn’t allow the Uyghur Muslims to offer prayers in Mosques during Eid-ul-Fitr holiday in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
In a fresh revelation, Chinese authorities prohibited most Uyghurs from worshipping in mosques or even in their houses over the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday in various districts of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA). The report cited residents and police as the source.
People aged 60 and up were allowed to pray in a local mosque under heavy police surveillance during Eid, which fell on April 20-21 this year, according to reports. Since 2017, China has limited or prohibited ethnic customs and religious ceremonies among the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in an effort to combat “religious extremism.”
During Eid, authorities in Xinjiang patrolled city streets and searched homes to prevent people from praying secretly inside their homes, as per the RFA information.
According to an administrative employee from Yarkowruk town in Akesu Prefecture, one mosque is open for Eid prayers.
No Uyghurs under the age of 60 were allowed to pray in mosques on Eid-Ul-Fitr
“Our police officers went to the mosque to watch the people. I don’t know if people needed permission to go to the mosque because I did not go there,” an employee said.
According to a police official at the local station, only a single mosque was open for Eid prayers in Bulung town, Bay county, and only citizens over the age of 60 were allowed to go in and pray.
The officer told that the government issued a notice prohibiting persons under the age of 60 from praying on the Eid holiday.
About a dozen Uyghur elders attended Eid prayers in a mosque while three police officers and many auxiliary police personnel observed and wrote down the Uyghurs’ names, the officer from town’s police station stated.
All individuals falling under the age group of under-60 were told not to go to the mosque for prayers. “The mosque was open yesterday, and we went there to surveil people,” said the police officer.
A woman from a residential neighbourhood in Kashgar Prefecture’s Maralbexi county said neither of her neighbours or relatives participated in Eid prayers or related festivities.
“The mosque was not open,” she said to RFA. “My husband is a policeman, and he went to work on Eid. There was no Eid-ul-Fitr prayer here. It was quiet.”