Issue 3: Uyghur Muslim Names Banned

World Uyghur Congress, 18 May 2018

In April 2017, China banned parents from using ‘Muslim names’ for their children in East Turkistan. A list of 28 names including Islam, Quran, Mecca, Imam, Saddam, Hajj and Medina was published, prohibiting parents from choosing from them.

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Issue 2: Uyghurs Prevented From Performing the Hajj

World Uyghur Congress, 16 May 2018

Uyghurs have been routinely prevented from travelling to Mecca to perform the Hajj. Strict regulations exists that prohibit independent travel to Saudi Arabia, leaving only the possibility of applying through the Chinese government, who now now control the process and carefully monitor those who are lucky enough to be accepted.

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Survivors of China’s far west political camps detail ordeal

Associated Press, 17 May 2018

By Gerry Shih – Hour upon hour, day upon day, Omir Bekali and other detainees in far western China’s new indoctrination camps had to disavow their Islamic beliefs, criticize themselves and their loved ones and give thanks to the ruling Communist Party.

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Issue 1: Ramadan Restrictions in East Turkistan

World Uyghur Congress, 16 May 2018

Unlike anywhere in the world, the Chinese government enacts strict regulations during Ramadan, particularly for the Uyghur Muslim population in East Turkistan.

The Chinese government has banned Uyghur civil servants, students and teachers from fasting during the holy month, providing food and water to students throughout the day. Access to mosques is more tightly controlled, restaurants have been ordered to remain open and in some cases Uyghur intellectuals have been arrested beforehand to silence criticism.

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PRESS RELEASE: WUC to Draw Attention to Religious Persecution of Uyghurs During Month of Ramadan

Press Release – For immediate release
15 May 2018
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or

The World Uyghur Congress, in collaboration with its affiliates, will mark the holy month of Ramadan by drawing attention to the severe religious persecution and deprivation of religious freedom for the Uyghur people in East Turkistan.

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Weekly Brief May 11th

World Uyghur Congress, 11 May 2018

China Escalates Religious Persecution of Uyghurs Before Ramadan

As Uyghur Muslims prepare for the start of Ramadan next week, the Chinese government has been cracking down on freedom of religion, punishing Uyghurs for educating their children about religion & imprisoning those who share religious material on their phones.

It was reported this week by Radio Free Asia that a prominent Uyghur Imam was arrested an sentenced to 5 years in prison for taking his child to an unsanctioned religious school to meet other children. The younger generation in particular has been targeted and are not allowed to enter mosques or receive religious instructions from their parents. The Chinese government is trying to erode any religious sentiments among Uyghur children to ensure that future generations of Uyghurs have no ties to religion.

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China Reports Arrests of Uyghurs, Han Chinese For Sharing ‘Extremist’ Content

Radio Free Asia, 10 May 2018

By Alim Seytoff – Chinese authorities in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have detained 15 individuals accused of spreading “extremist and illegal” content online following tips handed in by informers, Chinese state media said on Thursday.

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Xinjiang Authorities Jail Uyghur Imam Who Took Son to Unsanctioned Religious School

Radio Free Asia, 10 May 2018

By Shohret Hoshur – Authorities in Hotan (in Chinese, Heitian) prefecture, in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have sentenced a prominent imam to more than five years in prison for taking his son to an unsanctioned religious school to meet other children.

Abduheber Ahmet, the imam of the Dongbagh Mosque in Urchi township, in Hotan’s Qaraqash (Moyu) county, was initially detained in May 2017 and handed a five and a half-year jail term a month later, the ruling Chinese Communist Party secretary of Urchi township told RFA’s Uyghur Service.

The 46-year-old father of four “took one of his sons to an underground religious school” in Dongbagh village, the party secretary said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is said that he only took him once … I think it was four or five years ago … He took him there so that his son would meet and play with other children.”

Ahmet, a state-approved imam who had previously received a “five star” rating from officials, “revealed [his crime] himself during one of the confession meetings,” the secretary said, and received “leniency” because he admitted to it.

“Because the government and the party is fair, he was given a five and a half-year sentence, otherwise he would have received a seven-year prison term,” he added.

According to the secretary, Ahmet is serving his sentence in Bayin’gholin (Bayinguoleng) Mongol Autonomous Prefecture at the Reform Through Labor Prison in Korla (Kuerle) city.

He was sent to the prison “about 11 months ago,” he said.

‘Two-faced’ Uyghurs

Since April 2017, Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” views have been jailed or detained in re-education camps throughout the XUAR, where members of the ethnic group have long complained of pervasive discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression under Chinese rule.

In the months since XUAR party chief Chen was appointed to his post in August 2016, he has initiated unprecedented repressive measures against the Uyghur people and ideological purges against so-called “two-faced” Uyghur officials—a term applied by the government to Uyghurs who do not willingly follow directives and exhibit signs of “disloyalty.”

In October last year, RFA learned that authorities had jailed four grandchildren of Qurban Barat, the former imam of Hanliq Mosque in Qaraqash county, who was once recognized as a “Patriotic Religious Scholar” by the Communist Party for turning two alleged “separatists” in to the police.

The four received prison sentences of between five and a half and eight years because they “listened to religious teachings” and possessed “illegal religious materials,” Barat’s son told RFA at the time, adding that at least three other party members in his county have children or spouses who have been sentenced to prison or placed in re-education camps for religious violations.

China regularly conducts “strike hard” campaigns in Xinjiang, including police raids on Uyghur households, restrictions on Islamic practices, and curbs on the culture and language of the Uyghur people, including videos and other material.

While China blames some Uyghurs for “terrorist” attacks, experts outside China say Beijing has exaggerated the threat from the Uyghurs and that repressive domestic policies are responsible for an upsurge in violence there that has left hundreds dead since 2009.

Reported by by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by RFA’s Uyghur Service. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

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