The factual Xinjiang Papers (Part-VII)
By Makhdoom Babar
President & Editor-in-Chief
A journalists and media houses in the US has passed a highly controversial legislation against China under the garb of it being in support of the Muslims there, the facts can’t be changed and the truth can’t be distorted. In our series of Factual Xinjiang Papers, we are continuing our journey to the Truth in Xinjiang and are today providing the first hand information on the inter-Faith harmony and privileges that the Muslims enjoy in Xinjiang, that the Muslims of India can’t even imagine.Here it is being published for our valued readers across the world, based on personal experiences of the author.
I have been travelling to China very frequently for the past 20 plus years as a professional journalist. For most of the time, I fly using the China Southern Airlines and that gives me an opportunity to make a brief stay at Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. By virtue of these constant stopovers at Urumqi, I was able to make many friends in this beautiful city. Population of Urumqi city is around five million and out of these five million there is quite a reasonable population of 2 millions comprising Muslims citizens of China in this city. Due to the presence of such a huge number of Chinese Muslims in Urumqi, a reasonable number of my friends in Urumqi belong to the local Muslim community while the larger part of my friends’ list from Urumqi has non-Muslim Chinese.
So having the opportunity to keep meeting both Muslim and non-Muslim Chinese and at most occasions meeting them together, I came to know that there was an immense harmony and inter-faith peace amongst the Muslims and non-Muslim residents of China. Despite the fact that from 2009, a foreign funded and foreign backed militant organization with the name of East Turkistan Islamic Movement continued making attempts to disrupt the peace in Xinjiang, yet there has been no let up in the inter-faith harmony amongst the residents of Xinjiang and especially in Urumqi.
However, during the last Fasting month of Ramadan, a French news agency, as a routine of synchronized efforts of certain Western Media to target China, released a mischievous news item and fed it to all the media organizations across the world that subscribe to this French news agency’s service. In the said news item, it was stated that Chinese government had put a strict ban on Muslims in Xinjiang region for fasting and have ordered that no official of student of the Muslims community would be allowed to keep the fast during the month of Ramadan.
In another newsfeed, this news agency stated that China had banned local Muslim from growing beards while the next in the series said that the Muslims across Xinjiang had been banned by the government to practice their religion and mosques had been sealed.
Though a strong denial of the same came from Chinese government via State News Agency Xinhua, yet the news that found reasonable space in international media, disturbed many amongst the global Muslim community. Since I was a witness to the immense religious freedom that the Muslims in particular enjoy across China, including Xinjiang, this news also came as a big surprise package and a huge shocker for me.
I talked to different friends on phone in Xinjiang in the cities of Kashgar and Urumqi but only to find them as surprised as I myself was. All of them expressed their utter ignorance of any such news as they were unaware of any such ban or restriction by the Chinese government. Last month I received an invitation from a Chinese organization to attend an international Media seminar on one Belt and one Road. I considered it as a wonderful opportunity to personally examine the state of affairs regarding religious freedom in China and especially in Xinjiang.
Since Eid-ul-Azha, one of the top festivals of Muslims and Mid Autumn Day or the Mooncake Festival, a very important Festival of the Chinese people were falling very close to each other, it was set to be an amazing opportunity to personally witness the level of the religious freedom for local Muslims across Xinjiang and also to experience the levels of inter-faith harmony, especially in the backdrop of propagation by the Western media that Muslims had been cornered in Xinjiang and all their basic human rights and religious freedom had been usurped by the Chinese government and the non-Muslim Chinese natives far having an unprecedented hate for them. So after finishing my assignment in Beijing, I headed for Urumqi to celebrate Eid and Mooncake Festivals with my Chinese friends.
Read more tomorrow….