HomeOpEdKuonaxiehai’er Mosque in Xinjiang

Kuonaxiehai’er Mosque in Xinjiang

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Maimaiti Maimaitimin

Kuonaxiehai’er Mosque was built in 1905, over 110 years ago. With the acceleration of urbanization, the Mosque was renovated after local Muslims’ appeal. The Mosque now covers 7,200 square meters of land area with more than 3,000 square meters of construction area, the service hall alone occupying more than 2,000 square meters. Facilities in the mosque are well established. It has not only basic necessities such as tap water, electricity, paved road, telecommunication and broadcasting, and televisions, but also provides medical service, air conditioner, fire-fighting facilities, drinking water equipment, cleansing rooms, and flush toilets. These facilities have brought great conveniences to local religious people. For the daily five prayers, the gathering on Juma day, and on Eid al-Fitr and Corban, neighboring Muslims would come to the Mosque praying.

In Xinjiang, people enjoy equal political, economic, social, and cultural rights in accordance with the law. It’s entirely their own choice to have or not have religious beliefs. All the normal activities in line with religious practices including pray, fasting, and celebrating religious festivals are protected by law, whether they are conducted in avenues for religious activities or at their dwellings.

There are various channels for Muslims to acquire knowledge on Islam. We can study in mosques, religious institutes or acquire knowledge through reading religious classics, magazines and study online. From 2013 to 2018, I systematically studied the Koran citing, holy teachings and Islamic doctrines in Xinjiang Islamic Institute. Whenever I hold a Juma gathering, or Eid al-Fitr and Corban festival, I would disseminate Islamic knowledge to local Muslims.

Some overseas people say that “religious personnel whom the government doesn’t approve of are being detained in Xinjiang”. This is sheer stigmatization and slandering of Xinjiang. As far as I know, the so-called “religious personnel detained by government” are not religious teaching staff at all. They are in fact criminals spreading religious extremism, engaging in splitting and violent terrorist activities under the guise of Islam. They have committed serious crimes by taking advantage of Muslims’ plain affection for the religion. They propagate extremist thoughts, wantonly distort Islamic doctrines and teachings, negate all the secular ideas and modern achievements, advocate “Jihad Martyrs will enter heaven”, persecute the so-called “heretics” and “traitors of religion”. Some of the upright religious staff are isolated, even persecuted by them. The extremist doings have caused colossal disasters for people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, Muslims included, and have damaged the image of Islam in the meantime.

China is a country ruled by law. Chinese government crackdown on illegal activities in accordance with the law. Taking advantage of religion to commit crimes is no exception. In fighting crimes, no religion has ever been the specific target. Religious extremism is not religion, but the malignant tumor of anti-human, anti-society, anti-civilization, anti-religion. In my perspective, to combat religious extremism is to better protect legitimate religion. There have been zero incidences of violent terrorism for more than 4 years in Xinjiang, thus we all resolutely support all the measures adopted by the government.

The writer is  Imam of Kuonaxiehai’er Mosque in Qinaibage Street, Moyu County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang.

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