The dome and minaret of the last existing Arabic-style mosque in China removed

Grand Mosque of Shadian, China’s biggest and grandest Muslim place of worship. (Credit – Firstpost.)

Beijing (China) – The last major Arabic-style mosque in China has undergone many changes. The dome and minaret of the mosque have been replaced. The structure of the mosque has been changed such that it appears a Chinese style building instead of an Arabic style building. Mosques across the country are being replaced as part of a Government campaign. Under this, the dome and minaret of the mosque, as well as the crescent on top of the mosque, have also been removed. This campaign is being implemented especially in the Xinjiang province of China.

1. In 2018, the Chinese Government announced a five-year plan to ‘sinicise’ Islam. The above changes are being done under this plan. The aim of the plan is to oppose foreign architectural styles and promote Islamic architecture with Chinese characteristics.

2. In April 2016, at the National Religious Vocation Conference, President Xi Jinping spoke about the concept of ‘Sinicisation of Islam’.

3. In 2017, the Chinese Government started taking a strict stand towards Muslims. Since then, China has described its crackdown on Muslims as an ‘effort to eradicate religious terrorism’. In this, many religious rituals of Ughur Muslims were banned and a large number of arrests were also made. Chinese authorities have also been accused of demolishing mosques in Xinjiang.

What is Sinicisation ?

Sinicisation refers to the assimilation of non-Chinese society into Chinese culture. It emphasises changing Islamic rules to incorporate Muslims into China’s culture, thought, and ethnic norms. In recent years, President Xi Jinping has repeatedly called for the Sinicisation of Islam, Christianity and other religious minorities. China has been accused of violating human rights for this campaign. A 2022 United Nations report accused the Chinese Government of gross human rights violations in Xinjiang. Despite international criticism, China has not backed down from its policy.

A November 2023 report by Human Rights Watch stated that the Chinese Government’s campaign to impose various restrictions on mosques and Muslims has extended to the provinces of Xinjiang, Ningxia and Gansu.

Editorial Perspective

In the last few years, China has prevented the Islamisation of Muslims in its country and sinicised them. Not a single Islamic country or organisation opens its mouth against this. On the contrary, while Muslims attack Hindus in India, they claim that ‘Muslims are unsafe in India’.