Removal of Islamic Motifs Leaves Xinjiang’s Id Kah Mosque ‘a Shell For Unsuspecting Visitors’

Since 2016, the Chinese authorities have actually been methodically ruining mosques, burial grounds, and also various other spiritual frameworks and also websites throughout the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Last year, the Washington- based Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) released a record outlining this project, entitled “Demolishing Faith: The Destruction and Desecration of Uyghurs Mosques and Shrines”; the record was referenced in the 2020 yearly record of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The record makes use of geolocation and also various other strategies to reveal that anywhere in between 10,000 and also 15,000 mosques, temples, and also various other spiritual websites in the XUAR were damaged in between 2016 and also2019 In some instances, just the domes and also towers were damaged from particular frameworks, while in others, classically Islamic aspects such as celebrities and also crescents, domes, and also bible plaques were gotten rid of. In some instances, whole mosques have actually likewise been dropped.

China has actually made no main action to the record or to cases regarding the massive and also extensive damage it has actually carried out. However, the Chinese authorities have actually remained to bring worldwide site visitors to mosques such as Id Kah in Kashgar, along with to various other spiritual websites around the area, and also to release short articles illustrating the mosque in state-run media, done in assistance of the main line that Uyghurs take pleasure in spiritual flexibility in the area.

Id Kah is the biggest and also earliest mosque in the XUAR and also the biggest mosque in all ofChina Uyghurs have actually lengthy pertained to Id Kah as an icon of Islamic society and also a rep of Islamic style in the area. While the mosque is still standing primarily undamaged today, there are some really startling indications that it is just a shell of what it utilized to be. In 2018, authorities eliminated the star-and-crescent frameworks from the tops of the mosque’s dome and also turrets, in addition to the vivid scriptural plaque that long hung over its front entryway. As of 2020, those functions show up not to have actually been recovered to the mosque. The plaque, which dates to hijra 1325 (1908 C.E.) has Quranic bibles in addition to details regarding the building and construction of the mosque and also the identification of the musician that made the indicator.

Ahead of Eid al-Fitr, which on May 23 will certainly note completion of the Islamic divine month of Ramadan, RFA’s Uyghur Service consulted with Turghunjan Alawudun, supervisor of the Religious Affairs Committee for the Munich- based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) expatriation team, and also Henry Szadziewski, an elderly scientist with the UHRP, regarding the relevance of the missing out on plaque.

A close sight of the plaque adorning the front entryway of Id Kah mosque, taken prior to its removal.

Alawudun: The loss of the scriptural plaque from the entryway to Id Kah is one element of the Chinese routine’s bad plans implied to get rid of the Islamic confidence amongst Uyghurs, to get rid of Uyghur confidence, compositions, and also language– and also Uyghurs themselves. This scriptural plaque over the door right into Id Kah, like the [mosque’s] turrets, has an Islamic personality and also is an icon that has actually existed from the beginning of the mosque up until today. The Chinese routine can not birth this, it can not stand it, and also the internal disgust they really feel towards Uyghurs has actually outraged such that they had the plaque eliminated.

They have actually left Id Kah [itself] there for the worldwide neighborhood, as component of a quote to mislead the globe. By taking site visitors from Islamic nations there from time to time to see it, revealing it to worldwide site visitors that concern check out [the situation in the region], and also sharing it in the media every so often, they’re seeking plans that trick the globe. Even so, we can still see that the terrible points that China is doing– the damage by the Chinese routine of points linked to Uyghurs, Uyghur society, icons of the Uyghur individuals, expressions of Uyghur society– are indications of the Chinese routine’s terrible strategy to get rid of the Uyghurs.

Szadziewski: Religious flexibility is not a fact forUyghurs Across their homeland, mosques, temples, and also various other spiritual rooms have actually been bulldozed right into background. In the camps, Uyghurs are indoctrinated right into the meant wickedness of faith. Id Kah in Kashgar has actually continued to be standing. Its loss would certainly create outrage offered its value. The relevance of its presence to the Chinese authorities is to show to the globe awareness of Uyghurs’ spiritual liberties. However, the removal of Islamic motifs from the structure informs a various tale. It informs us Id Kah is being removed of spiritual definition to come to be a shell for unsuspecting site visitors. There is no factor to eliminate Islamic motifs from the structure aside from to show to Uyghurs that idea in Islam comes from the past. As such, the despoiling of Id Kah indicates an approach a reliable restriction on the Islamic confidence.

Reported by Bahram Sintash for RFA’s UyghurService Translated and also composed in English by Elise Anderson.

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