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Muslims enjoy equal rights in China

Muslims, together with all Chinese people, contributed to the nation’s development through their active participation

By : Abdul Hannan Tago | Arab News | Riyadh 01 Jun 2012

The Chinese government pursues a policy of “ethnic equality and religious freedom” under which Muslims enjoy equal rights and share in the harmonious sunshine of the Chinese socialist family, the vice president and secretary-general of China Islamic Association told representatives of the Arab media during a meeting at his office in China recently.

Guo Chengzhen said Muslims, together with all Chinese people, contributed to the nation’s development through their active participation in socioeconomic programs. There are about 21 million Muslims in China, according to the latest statistics.

A stopover at the China Islamic Association and the oldest mosque in China were included in the itinerary for the official visit that was organized by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We also visited Chinese Muslims at their homes in the Bakr district in Beijing.

At the Niujie Mosque, the oldest and largest of all mosques in Beijing, we were received by its imam, who took us on a tour of the mosque that was first built in 996 during the Liao Dynasty (916-1125).

He said Niujie Mosque was a center for religious events, a school, and a window to show support and care provided by the government and CCP authorities. It is a live evidence and conveyor of historical development of Muslim culture in China.

The local Muslim community constructed the mosque using traditional Chinese architecture, while Arabic calligraphy was used in the interior. It was rebuilt in 1442 in the Ming Dynasty and expanded in 1696 under the Qing Dynasty. It is now one of the major mosques in north China.

The mosque has undergone three renovations since the founding of the People's Republic of China, in 1949, 1955, 1979 and 1996. On his part, Guo Chengzhen of China Islamic Association said that Islam in China was probably brought to China during the era of the four caliphs. In the past 1,350 years, Islam had slowly spread throughout the Chinese society.

Ten ethnic minority groups, including the Hui, the Uyghur, the Kazak, the Tajik, the Tatar, the Khalka, the Uzbek, the Dongxiang, the Salar and the Bonan, embraced Islam as their religion. Of the 2,987 deputies to the National People’s Congress, there are 97 Muslim representatives from all over the country, giving Muslims a 3.2 percent share of the total deputies. Of the 2,237 members of the National Committee of CPPC, there are 67 Muslims, or 3 percent of the total.

These Muslim deputies and committee members play an active role in politics in order to express the wishes and requests of Chinese Muslims. Even more Muslims hold posts in People’s Congresses and Political Consultative Conferences at provincial and municipal level, and through these posts act as leaders of the country.

There are over 35,000 mosques and 53,000 Imams in China. Under China’s Freedom of Religion policy, Muslims of all ethnic minority groups live a normal and orderly religious life. In the northwest part of china, there are many Muslims, and their religious education starts from home.

Photo contest on Muslim customs

The People’s Government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, under the auspices of Expo Bureau of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Ningxia Islamic Friendly Council for Promotion of International Economy and Culture (NIFCPIEC), will be organizing an international photo contest on Muslim customs to be held from August 8-18 in Ningxia Museum.

NIFCPIEC Chairman Hei Liangjie invited Arab countries to participate in the contest. Outlining the objectives of the contest, Liangjie said that recently, “We have made significant achievements in terms of economic and cultural development and established friendly relations with many Arab and Islamic countries. Yet, our accomplishments are impossible without your support and cooperation, which, in turn, constitutes the basis of our friendship.”

He said the theme of the contest was exhibiting photos representing Islamic customs in Arab and Islamic countries and regions, including cultural sceneries, places of historic interests, architectures, mosques, natural beauty, apparel and accessories, catering culture and wedding ceremonies, with a view to strengthening the cultural exchanges between China and Arab and Islamic countries, and bringing the cultural functions of the forum into effect. “We will edit and publish the Album of the First Ningxia International Photo Contest on Muslim Customs,” he said.

In 2010, the State Council of People’s Republic of China designated Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region as the permanent venue of the China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, instilling numerous momenta into and providing great opportunities to the economic and cultural development of Ningxia.

Approved by the People’s Government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the international photo contest will be organized in Ningxia by the local government in August 2012.

The winning entries will be exhibited during the forum, presenting a panorama of Islamic customs and culture for the participating guests from Arab and Islamic countries and friends from all over the world and enhancing the friendly ties between China and Arab states.

In order to promote the contest and fully display the Islamic customs to the world, the organizers have sought the help of the participating countries in the following ways: 1. Request the photography organizations in each interested country to submit entries representative of the country’s customs and characteristics; 2. Write something about the contest as a dedication; 3. Donate, if possible, three sets of your country’s currency to commemorate the contest.

For more information, those interested have been asked to contact Li Shubin and Lei Zhufang of the organizing committee of the contest. Add: F 10, Baota Chemical Building, No. 88, Ning’an Avenue, Jinfeng District, Yinchuan, 750002, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Tel: Li Shubin (0951) 5673167, 13709598098, Lei Zhufang (0951) 5699165, 13995278187. E-mail for submitting entries: yslfqsyds@yeah.net. Website: http//nxicpec.org.cn.

 

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