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.
The United States last week voiced suspicion over Russia’s pursuit of new space weapons, including a mobile laser system to destroy satellites in space, and the launch of a new inspector satellite which was acting in an “abnormal” way.
Crash was not caused by hostile fire, coalition asserts
Bloc will now be tasked with drawing up country’s next government
Anti-Arab slogans were sprayed on walls of several Palestinian houses in Jerusalem
The U.S.-led coalition was formed in 2014 to fight Daesh in Iraq
Iraq's parliamentary vote results was the subject of bitter dispute amid widespread allegations of fraud
Iraq fought an 8-year war against Iran under the former regime of Saddam Hussein
Abbas says he rejects US mediation for Palestine-Israel peace talks
The military said it detected the lab in the town of Alcoyonqui, near the state capital Culiacan, and raided it on Thursday.
Israel closed Al Aqsa compound after a stabbing attempt near a mosque gate
Terrorists were ‘neutralized’ in Turkey's southeastern Hakkari province and northern Iraq’s Hakurk, Zap and Gara areas
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says training for combined patrols will start 'within 72 hours' in Turkey
Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council warns political ties with US will not be normalized
Call comes after Israeli police closed all of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates following an attempted knife attack
President says local politicians 'know a windfall when they see it;' asked for 'ridiculously high' sum
Credibility of US government with a president as 'erratic' as Trump is greatly diminished, says expert