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11:23, 02 August 2012 Thursday

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China bans Uighur Muslims from Ramadan fasting
China bans Uighur Muslims from Ramadan fasting
(File Photo)

China statement urged party leaders to bring "gifts" of food to local village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramadan.

World Bulletin / News Desk

China banned Muslim officials and students from fasting during Ramadan in Uighur region.

Guidance posted on numerous government websites called on Communist Party leaders to restrict Muslim religious activities during the holy month, including fasting and visiting mosques.

The government has banned any public religious activities by the region's Muslims, according to a spokesman for the Munich-based World Uighur Congress.

"They have set up Ramadan stability groups in every official department and organization, and they have to select people to serve on them," spokesman Dilxat Raxit said. "Officials from these departments have to go and stay in mosques, so as to carry out personal surveillance work in all localities."

Raxit said that mosques would be required to hold ideological meetings every Friday with Party officials, so as to monitor the mood of local Uyghurs.

"Forced eating"

East Turkestan where China officially calls "Xinjiang" is home to around nine million Uighurs, a Turkic speaking, Muslim people, many of whom accuse China's leaders of religious and political persecution.

A statement from Zonglang township in Xinjiang's Kashgar district said that "the county committee has issued comprehensive policies on maintaining social stability during the Ramadan period.

"It is forbidden for Communist Party cadres, civil officials (including those who have retired) and students to participate in Ramadan religious activities."

The statement, posted on the Xinjiang government website, urged party leaders to bring "gifts" of food to local village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramadan.

Similar orders on curbing Ramadan activities were posted on other local government websites, with the educational bureau of Wensu county urging schools to ensure that students do not enter mosques during Ramadan.

The orders to curb religious activities were sent out across the region at different times, some before the start of Ramadan and some afterwards.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious and charitable.

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