As the entire Muslim World is fasting and praying this Ramadan, authorities in Xinjiang province, China in a crackdown have restricted access to mosques and forced restaurants to stay open. This is the communist party’s efforts to discourage the traditional observation of the Islamic holy month.
Over the years, the Chinese government has forced members of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang province to skip the obligatory fasting and other religious rituals that mark Ramadan. Sources say authorities have forbidden restaurants from closing during the month and banned workers, students and women from fasting and praying. Moreover, reports highlight that detainees in indoctrination camps have been forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, which is considered haram (forbidden) by Muslims.
In a counter strike, US Muslims are boycotting products made in China. The Fast From China initiative has been launched to get Muslims to rethink their everyday purchasing decisions and replace items bearing a ‘Made in China’ label with products made in other countries. One of the founders of the initiative, Hena Zuberi said they hope to change both Muslim consumers’ minds and American businesses’ relationships with Chinese manufacturing. Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, head of Sound Vision Foundation, said its important for Americans to realize that they benefit from the open market, but they are not opening their minds towards freedom of religion, human rights and due process of law. “Ramadan is a time when people develop a higher level of connection and consciousness. Being hungry reminds us of the bigger picture of humanity.”
Ilshat Hassan, president of the Washington-based Uyghur American Association, said it is not just Uyghurs’ Islamic faith under Chinese attack, but also their very existence as a unique indigenous people. Hassan urged the international community to take action. “Unfortunately, the Uyghur Muslims under China’s draconian rule can neither fast nor pray during Ramadan. The international community needs to take action for China locking up millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps. And the Muslim world, especially OIC, should hold China accountable for its anti-Islamic policy and crimes against humanity.”