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Muslim Scholars Reject China’s Ramadan Ban

DOHA – A leading international Muslim scholars union has criticized China’s apparent ban on fasting the holy month of Ramadan in the Muslim dominant Xinjiang district, urging the Asian country to respect Muslim faith.

“Continuous religious and ethnic persecution over Muslims, especially in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is against Chinese and international law,” the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) said in a statement.

The Union went on to condemn Chinese government policies in the district including forcing restaurants to sell food on Ramadan days as well as forcing parents to sign on banning their children from observing the fasting month.

The statement offered no explanation as to exactly what laws it was directly referring to.

It added that the policy “is also contrary to the fourth Geneva Convention in 1949 approved by China,” and called the apparent ban “a clear violation of one of the most important principles of modern international law.”

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The Union called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other international organizations to protect Muslims.

Moreover, the IUMS warned that China’s failure to offer more freedoms to Uighur Muslims will give scholars a sign to spread news among Muslims worldwide which would result in severe effect on the Chinese economy.

Every year, Chinese authorities have repeatedly imposed restrictions on Uighur Muslim in the northwestern region of Xinjiang every Ramadan.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

In December 2014, China banned the wearing of Islamic veiled robes in public in Urumqi, the capital of the province of Xinjiang.

The law in the predominantly Muslim region came as Beijing intensified its so-called campaign against “religious extremism” that it blames for recent violence.

Earlier in 2014, Xinjiang banned the practicing of religion in government buildings, as well as wearing clothes or logos associated with religious extremism.

In May 2015, Muslim shops and restaurants in a Chinese village in northwestern Xinjiang have been ordered to sell cigarettes and alcohol or face closure.