Monday 19 December 2011

"Off with long beards and Muslim Veil"

What the Chinese authorities are concerned about, of course, is that these outward dress and facial hair choices are markers of Islamic piousness, and that piousness is in turn a marker for potential violence -- the Koran and Hadith are clear on what the pious Muslim must do to infidels such as the Chinese communists....
From the South China Morning Post, 16th December 2011:
A city in the heavily Muslim Xinjiang region has begun a campaign to discourage veils and long beards so as to "dilute religious consciousness", media reports said yesterday.
The notice by the government in the city of Yining was uploaded by several mainland news websites and by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, though it then vanished from the Yining government's website, 
Many Uygurs, Muslims native to Xinjiang, resent the rule of Beijing and controls on their religion, culture and language.
The region has seen sporadic cases of violent unrest.
The notice said the government in the Dunmaili district of Yining had decided to "further implement the party's activities to dilute religious consciousness and advocate a civilised and healthy lifestyle".
One of the campaign's aims, it said, was to end "the abnormal phenomenon" of ethnic minority people wearing Arab dress, growing long beards or covering their faces in veils.Women who had "been transformed" would be invited to hold talks to discuss their experience, as would women who had launched successful careers. Yining government officials declined to comment.
Hou Hanmin , a Xinjiang government spokeswoman, said she was not aware of the notice but that generally people in the region, including ethnic minorities, were free to wear what they wanted.
"However, for certain jobs and in education there are rules about what you cannot wear, simply as a matter of convenience," she said by phone.
Yining has a population of some 515,000 people, about 46 per cent of whom are Uygur, according to the 2010 census figures. It was the site of deadly riots in 1997.
Parts of Xinjiang have become more conservative and Islamic over the past few years, despite government efforts to reverse that trend.