China has banned the wearing of veils and long beards in public in a crackdown against religious extremism.
By Katie Mansfield
Express (01.04.2017) – http://bit.ly/2omIBpi – The new restrictions in the far western region of Xinjiang include a range of measures including outlawing religious marriage ceremonies and “using the name of Halal to meddle in the secular life of others”.
New legislation, passed by Xinjiang lawmakers and published on the region’s official news website, widens existing rules and comes into effect today.
Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur people who say they face discrimination.
Hundreds of people have died in recent years in the region with Beijing blaming the unrest on Islamist militants and separatists.
Rights groups say the violence is in response to government crackdowns which could push some Uighurs to extremism.
According to Reuters, workers in public spaces like stations and airports will be required to “dissuade” those who fully cover their bodies, including veiling their faces, from entering, and to report them to the police, the rules state.
It will be banned to “reject or refuse radio, television and other public facilities and services”, marrying using religious rather than legal procedures and “using the name of Halal to meddle in the secular life of others”.
The rules say: ”Parents should use good moral conduct to influence their children, educate them to revere science, pursue culture, uphold ethnic unity and refuse and oppose extremism.”
The document also bans not allowing children to attend regular school, not abiding by family planning policies, deliberately damaging legal documents and “abnormal growing of beards and naming of children to exaggerate religious fervour”.
A number of bans on select “extremist behaviours” had previously been introduced in some places in Xinjiang, including stopping people with head scarves, veils and long beards from boarding buses in at least one city.
The new rules expand the list and apply them to the whole region.
China officially guarantees freedom of religion, but authorities have issued a series of measures in the past few years to tackle what it sees as a rise in religious extremism.
The government strongly denies committing any abuses in Xinjiang and insists the legal, cultural and religious rights of Uighurs are fully protected.
While Uighurs have traditionally practiced a more relaxed form of Islam, the popularity of veils for women in particular has grown in recent years in what experts say is an expression of opposition to Chinese controls.
After a period of relative calm, there has been a rise in violence in recent months in the Xinjiang’s southern Uighur heartland and a large increase in security.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a “great wall of iron” to safeguard Xinjiang during the annual meeting of China’s parliament earlier this month.
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List of hundreds of documented cases of believers of various faiths in 20 countries: https://hrwf.eu/forb/forb-and-blasphemy-prisoners-list/