Muslims observe Ramadan freely in Xinjiang
Improved conditions in mosques in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have better accommodated the needs of people of the Muslim faith in terms of religious services during the holy month of Ramadan this year, religious leaders said.
Memet Juma, a religious leader at the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar city, said on Tuesday that all religious activities at the mosque were held smoothly and peacefully during Ramadan, or the month of fasting, which concluded on May 3 this year.
"Facilities at the mosque have been greatly improved. All prayer halls have been kept clean and are equipped with air conditioning and heating so Muslims can pray comfortably. The followers are all very pleased. Also, religious activities at Id Kah were held without any interference as they are protected by the law," Memet said during an online event introducing the protection of freedom of religious beliefs in Xinjiang.
Abudulrekep Tumniaz, president of the Xinjiang Islamic Association, said that it's up to the people to decide if they want to pray at mosques or at home during Ramadan. Their choices are fully respected and their needs for religious services can be fully satisfied.
Zumrat Obul of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Xinjiang Regional Committee, said at the event that the regional government has been helping to renovate religious facilities that are in disrepair, some of which have been expanded or relocated depending on the will of the followers.
While continuing to step up efforts to protect legal religious activities, the region will also continue to fight religious extremism, something that has been effectively curbed in recent years, Zumrat said.
"Religious extremism instigates hatred between believers and nonbelievers, sabotages ethnic unity and damages the core interests of Muslims in Xinjiang. We've seen religious extremists twisting the doctrines of Islam and turning people, especially young people, into terrorists who kill innocent people," Zumrat said.
She added that curbing the penetration of religious extremism in accordance with the law is in the best interests of the country, the public and those of the Muslim faith.