Religious freedom in Xinjiang incomparable in history: Islamic association president

(Xinhua) 15:21, May 18, 2021

BEIJING, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The current condition of religious freedom in Xinjiang is incomparable in history, President of the Islamic Association of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Abdureqip Tumulniyaz has said.

Abdureqip Tumulniyaz, also president of the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, made the remarks at a reception in Beijing on Thursday for Eid al-Fitr hosted by the People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"The Constitution of the People's Republic of China clearly states that Chinese citizens enjoy the freedom of religious belief," he said, adding that the customs and habits of Muslims such as food, festivals, weddings, funerals and etiquette are fully respected, and legal religious activities are carried out completely in accordance with an individual's wishes in Xinjiang.

He pointed out that the government also arranges medical staff to provide medical services in mosques such as handing out masks, taking temperature, distributing medicines among Muslims and regularly carrying out disinfection.

In the face of rumors such as the so-called "forced demolition of mosques" and "clerical personnel being persecuted," Abdureqip Tumulniyaz stressed that Xinjiang has a large number of mosques built in the 1980s and 1990s or even earlier which needed repair.

He said some mosques were originally adobe houses, some were too narrow and shabby, some were too dilapidated for religious activities during windy and rainy days. In addition, the layout of some mosques made it inconvenient for Muslims to carry out religious activities.

"In recent years, in response to the appeals and applications by Muslims, many local governments have addressed the problems well. Conditions of mosques in Xinjiang have generally improved," he said.

Public services such as water, electricity, heating, roads, telecommunications, television and health services have already covered mosques, which has greatly benefited Muslims, Abdureqip Tumulniyaz added.

The history and reality of Xinjiang have clearly shown that any attempt to distort religious facts in Xinjiang is futile, he said, adding that any conspiracy to destabilize Xinjiang, damage religious harmony, and undermine peace and contentment among all ethnic groups is doomed to fail.

Vladimir Norov, secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, also made a keynote speech at the reception.

Norov shared his experience of visiting Xinjiang from March 30 to April 2 this year. He visited religious and educational institutions, industrial and infrastructure facilities, learned about Xinjiang's history and talked with local people.

He said the common opinion among the visiting diplomats was that due to the high level of economic development in Xinjiang, the necessary social conditions for decent work and prosperous life for citizens of all ethnic groups were created.

In Urumqi, Aksu and Kashgar, the culture of the ethnic groups is preserved and developed, Norov said, adding that it is certainly clear and convincing that the Chinese central government and the government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are doing everything to preserve the culture of ethnic groups and further promote it.

(Web editor: Guo Wenrui, Liang Jun)


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