The recent banning of cultural and religious Islamic clothing in China was the subject I selected for this assignment. People with long mustaches or wearing Islamic attire were recently prohibited from riding public buses in a city in China’s predominantly Muslim province. Authorities in Karamay prohibited those wearing hijabs, niqabs, burqas, or clothes bearing the Islamic star and crescent symbols from boarding local buses.
China has blamed several deadly attacks on civilians outside the region in recent months on “terrorists” seeking independence for the region. In July, China banned students and government staff from Ramadan fasting.
Following a devastating bombing attack in the capital of Xinjiang, Urumqi, in May, China declared a year-long anti-terrorism operation, and hundreds of people have been detained on terrorism-related charges. Public transportation security has also been enhanced.
Authorities in Urumqi in July forbade bus passengers from bringing a variety of things, including yogurt and cigarette lighters, onto the bus. A university in the city of Xian, in central China, has recently ordered Muslim students to remove their hijabs while on campus. The institution had issued a notice prohibiting Islamic head coverings.
After being discovered reading the Qur’an in a café at the university, a student was reportedly charged with “illegal preaching.” “We accept their customs.” But our bottom line is that we do not allow students to engage in religious activities, “Li Chenzi, a university official, wrote on the Chinese question-and-answer website Zhihu.com yesterday after the debate over the ban went viral. At the beginning of the year, authorities in unrest-ridden Xinjiang banned Islamic veils from being worn in public.
When officials boasted that some “outlaws blinded by religious extremism” had received sentences for donning burqas, or full-face veils, a similar crackdown was enacted in Kashgar last March. Authorities in Xinjiang have started paying informants who report on their neighbors’ beard-wearing behavior with financial awards. China is using the religion of Muslim culture as a scapegoat for terrorism inside the country.