China Wages War on Mosques!

   The Chinese government has recently engaged in a policy called "Sinicization of Islam" and has made attempts to demolish numerous mosques in China. Just a few days ago, footage surfaced on social media showing Chinese police trying to demolish a mosque using construction machinery, despite the opposition of thousands of protesters. These videos, shared on social media, have been confirmed to be taken during the demolition of the minaret and dome of Najiaying Mosque in Tonghai County, Yuxi City, Yunnan Province on May 27th. On May 28th, local police announced that several individuals had been arrested for seriously disrupting social order in Tonghai County, and other individuals involved in the incident would be pardoned if they reported themselves to the authorities.
    On Saturday, May 27th, thousands of Chinese police attempted to demolish the minaret and green dome of Najiaying Mosque in Tonghai County, Yuxi City, Yunnan Province, using construction machinery. After hours of resistance from thousands of protesters, the police eventually retreated.
    In the afternoon of May 28th, news spread that a large number of people had been arrested by local authorities. In the evening, the law enforcement agencies in Tonghai County, where Najiaying Mosque is located, issued a statement. The police statement did not mention anything about the mosque or the reason for the protest, but only announced the initiation of an investigation into the incident, describing it as an event that "disrupted social order and threatened social life." Furthermore, it was declared that the organizers and participants of the event would be granted leniency if they reported themselves to the police by June 6th.
     In 2020, a court in Yunnan ruled that the dome and minarets of Najiaying Mosque were illegal and had to be removed. However, the demolition works commenced on May 27, 2023.
Najiaying Mosque, originally built in the 13th century, has undergone several reconstructions over the years. Most recently, in 2004, it was rebuilt with four minarets and a domed structure. In 2019, the mosque was designated as a cultural heritage site under the protection of Yunnan province.

The Danger Awaiting the Mosques in China

    The Islamic religion entered China in the middle of the 7th century. The first mosque in China was built during the Tang Dynasty (619-907) in the Guangzhou city of Guangdong province by Muslim traders who came to the region for trade purposes. According to the statistics provided by the Chinese Religious Affairs Administration in 2014, there were a total of 39,135 Islamic places of worship, including mosques, madrasas, and tombs, throughout China. In the Yunnan province, where the May 27 Mosque incident took place, there are 867 mosques, including the Kunming Nancheng Mosque, Najiaying Grand Mosque, Ludian Tuogu Mosque, Wenshan Mosque, and Zhaotong Baxian Temple.
     In 2016, Xi Jinping called for the Sinicization of Islam in China. In August, he delivered a speech emphasizing that religious and ethnic groups should "uphold the banner of Chinese unity" and prioritize Chinese culture over ethnic differences. Since 2017, the Chinese regime has made the decision to demolish numerous mosques.
      On August 10, 2018, the Chinese regime decided to demolish the rebuilt Weizhou Grand Mosque in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in western China, citing the lack of proper construction permits. The Weizhou Grand Mosque, which has a history of 600 years, was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
    Once again, in 2018, Chinese authorities in the Qinghai Province started demolishing the minarets and domes of mosques in the region under the slogan of "eliminating Saudi and Arab influence."
In 2020, they removed the dome of the Grand Mosque in the capital city of Yinchuan in the Ningxia Province and erased the Arabic inscriptions on its exterior walls.

The Situation of Mosques in East Turkistan

     The encounter between the people of East Turkistan and Islam, as well as their interaction with Muslims, took place during the Umayyad Period. There are controversial accounts regarding the first mosque built in the region and its construction date. However, it is a well-known fact that Islam gained momentum in East Turkistan after the Karakhanid ruler Sultan Satuk Bugrahan embraced the religion in 921.
     According to the statistics of the Chinese Administration of Religious Affairs in 2014, there are 24,100 mosques in East Turkistan, and within the Chinese colonial forces called "Bingtuan," there are 432 mosques.
     On September 24, 2020, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) published a report on the situation of mosques in East Turkistan. This report, supported by satellite imagery, revealed that approximately 16,000 mosques (65% of the total mosques) have been demolished or damaged since 2017 as a result of government policies. Among them, around 8,500 mosques have been completely destroyed, and through satellite imagery, it is evident that some of these locations have been turned into empty land. The remaining mosques have been desecrated by removing Islamic architectural features and symbols, and some of them have been adorned with signs saying "love the party, love the country" at their entrances. Furthermore, since 2017, 30% of significant sacred sites (shrines and tombs) have been extensively destroyed, and 28% have been damaged. Some historical Muslim cemeteries were destroyed under the government's pretext of relocating the graveyards.


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