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Peace, harmony felt in Xinjiang Ramadan

(Xinhua)    08:39, July 17, 2015

URUMQI, July 16 -- As the Ramadan is nearing its end, researchers from Xinjiang academy of social sciences recently concluded a tour of the region to look into local Muslims' life during the holy month.

"It's been a very peaceful and harmonious Ramadan for Muslims. We should help the world understand the respect Chinese policies offer to ethnic minority groups and their religions," said Tomur Tursun, party secretary of the academy.

The government of the autonomous region made it clear before Ramadan that authorities should fully understand, respect and show consideration toward Islam, said Ma Pinyan, a researcher with the academy.

"Many shops around the mosques have been providing those who fast in the day with free fruit, desserts and meal," said Eli Hupur, another researcher with the academy who studies ethnic culture.

"The streets were busy even at midnight. On the brightly lit streets, we saw people on their way to visit their families and vendors selling fruit," he said.

Ramadan lasts from June 18 to July 18 this year. During this season of fasting and spiritual reflection, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink from sunrise to dusk. It is widely observed by Xinjiang's ethnic minorities including Hui, Uygur, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz.

Xinjiang has over 10 million Muslims and more than 20,000 mosques.

Abdurahman, Imam of a mosque in the regional capital of Urumqi, said, the mosque usually receives 1,200 visitors daily, but during Ramadan the number has risen to over 3,000.

"The government has given us enough protection and respect," he said adding that the local government carried out fire and epidemic prevention work ahead of Ramadan.

Muslims from outside China are also feeling the peace of Ramadan in Xinjiang. At the International Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a dozen Turkish businessmen are selling specialties such as food, clothing, accessories and carpets.

Cihan Aydogmus, 38, has lived in Xinjiang for more than 10 years. He owns two carpet factories, one in Istanbul and the other in Kashgar. He is married to a Uygur woman and has two children.

"My wife is fasting, but I am not since I have been too busy with my business. People here decide by themselves whether to fast and whether to go to the mosque based on their own situations, without interference from others," he said.

"It is untrue that Ramadan in Xinjiang has restrictions. What I see here is a free and easy atmosphere," he said.

"Ten years ago, the living conditions in Istanbul and Urumqi differed greatly, but now people in Urumqi are better off and life here is no different from that in Istanbul, so I have decided to continue seeking my fortune here," he added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Qian,Yao Chun)

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