In its bid to sinicize Islam, China has asked all the mosques in the country to raise the Chinese national flag and start teaching core socialist values and traditional Chinese culture, Chinese state-run Global Times has reported.
“All mosques in the country should raise the national flag and study socialist core values to strengthen their ‘concept of nation’ and carry forward ‘the spirit of patriotism’,” the China Islamic Association has posted on its website. The association is the country’s top Islamic regulatory body.
“The initiative, if carried out smoothly, could sinicize the religion by integrating religious doctrines into Chinese culture,” a Chinese ethnic studies professor told the Global Times.
As part of the move, mosques in China were also being encouraged to teach classes on classical Chinese, history and geography. Mosques in the country have reportedly started implementing the directives.
The initiative has been hailed by Chinese experts for seeking to assimilate Islam into a socialist society and as ‘progress for religious development’.
On being questioned whether the move interferes with the separation of religion and politics, Chinese authorities said that the flag represents the state and not politics. They also said that hanging a flag does not interfere with the freedom of religion.
Similar directives were reportedly being followed at Christian and Buddhist religious sites too.
China struggles with Islamic extremism in its Xinjiang province and is infamous for adopting brutal practices to control the extremists. Earlier, China was in news over its detention centres for Muslims where they were being force-fed pork and alcohol to distance them from their Islamic beliefs.
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