World Bulletin / News Desk
Local authorities have been pushed to delay plans to demolish a new mosque in northwest China after a rare protest by hundreds of Muslims from the ethnic Hui group on Thursday.
The huge crowd gathered from noon until late in the night in the square outside the Weizhou Grand Mosque, an imposing white structure topped with nine onion-shaped domes, crescent moons and four towering minarets, according to images seen online.
The local county head went to the mosque about midnight and urged everyone to go home. He promised that the government would not touch the mosque until a reconstruction plan had been agreed upon by the townsmen, according to local sources.
The stand-off in the town of Weizhou in Tongxin County, in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, is the latest, and possibly largest, conflict in a recent campaign to rid the region of what Beijing regards as a worrying trend of Islamisation and Arabisation, as the ruling Communist Party doubles down to “Sinicise religion”.
According to a notice said to have been issued by the Weizhou government on August 3 and shared online, the mosque’s management committee had been given a deadline of Friday to demolish the building on the grounds it had not been granted the necessary planning and construction permits.
If the management committee failed to comply, the government would “forcefully demolish it according to the law”, the notice said.
But a source close to the Ningxia government said that after days of negotiation between the authorities and religious leaders, it had been agreed earlier on Thursday that the government would not demolish the mosque, but remove eight of its domes.
The offices of the Tongxin Party committee and local government could not be reached for comment.
Who are Hui People?
The Hui people are an East Asian ethnoreligious group predominantly composed of Han Chinese adherents of the Muslim faith found throughout China, mainly in the northwestern provinces of the country and the Zhongyuan region.
According to the 2011 census, China is home to approximately 10.5 million Hui people, the majority of whom are Chinese-speaking practitioners of Islam, though some may practise other religions. The 110,000 Dungan people of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are also considered part of the Hui ethnicity.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ağustos 2018, 17:42