Chinese Islamic authority has ordered all the mosques in the country to raise Chinese flag on them in order to promote patriotism among Muslims. The decision came after the communist party has been seen to tighten its grip on religions. The country’s top Islamic regulatory body has declared.
The China Islamic Association said that the flags should be raised where they are prominent such as mosque courtyards in a letter published on Saturday on its website. This would “Strengthen the understanding of national and civic ideals, it would promote the spirit of patriotism among Muslims from all ethnic groups”—the letter reads.
The letter further says, “Mosques should also display the information about the party’s core socialist values”, and explain these values via Islamic scripture so that these values get rooted in their heats deeply.
The China Islamic Association is the government-affiliated body which regulates religious/Islamic matters and has the power to regulate and accredit imams.
The letter comes amid China’s has revised its Regulations on Religious Affairs, the new regulations came into effect from February. The regulations are promoting rights for groups to voice concern for religious freedoms.
The new regulatory revision increases the punishments of unapproved religious activities and increased state surveillance of religion in order to curb “extremism” and tackle the internal threats.
The staff at the mosque should organize the study of the Chinese constitution and other relevant laws—especially the new religious regulations, the letter further reads. The letter asks the staff at the mosques to study more of Chinese classics, courses on traditional Chinese culture. The objective is to make the mosques a solid platform for studying party and country’s laws and policies and therefore, develop common Chinese Identity among Muslims.
Islam is one of the five religions officially recognized by the atheist Communist Party and there are some 23 million Muslims in China.
But China is getting hard on Muslims particularly the northwestern province of Xinjiang a home to most Muslims of Uighur minority. China has but bans on beards and public prayers in that province, tens of thousands of Uighurs have been detained and sent to re-education centers for offenses, the detainees can be detained indefinitely without due process.
According to Chinese authorities, these restrictions and strong police surveillance are meant to control extremism and separatist movements, but some analysts say the religion is becoming like an open-air prison in China.