Religious Repression and Cultural Decimation: Spare a Thought for Uyghurs this Ramadan

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May 14, 2019 | The Globe Post | By Omer Kanat

In 2018, school officials in Peyziwat County in East Turkestan in the northwest of China forced Uyghur students and their parents to sign pledges that they would not fast during Ramadan. As an act of faith, the Ramadan fast is essential to Muslims. It is a personal and reflective act between believer and God. The wreckage of this relationship through the intrusive farce of enforced “pledges” is telling of the Chinese government’s destruction across the Uyghur cultural and religious landscape. The Chinese state determines every aspect of what it means to be a Uyghur and Muslim in China.

Recently, Jews and Christians followed the practices of Passover and Easter with acts of faith renewing their relationship with God. Muslims will observe the fast, giving of alms, and reading of the Quran during their holy month. In a country such as the United States, it seems unimaginable that these practices would be denied to believers. During Ramadan, I urge religious communities to support Uyghurs in their freedom to worship and to determine their spiritual lives.

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