Minority Muslims free to practise their religion in China, says Islamic group

BEIJING: Minority Muslims in China are not being discriminated or persecuted by the Chinese government, says China Islamic Association (CIA) vice-president Abdul Amin Jin Rubin.

Abdul Amin, who is representing more than 10 Islamic bodies, said Muslims in China enjoyed the freedom of practising their religious belief as provided under the country's constitution.

He also dismissed reports of the mistreatment of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

"In Beijing, and in other parts where Muslims lived, we are all free to practise our religion.

"Not only during the month of Ramadan but also on a daily basis," Abdul Amin said.

He said this to Malaysian and Indonesian journalists during a visit at CIA headquarters here.

China is facing growing criticism over alleged persecution of minority Muslims, with a huge number of Uighurs who had been allegedly detained in education camps.

China has vehemently denied the claims and called the camps as "vocational education training centres" used to reduce extremism by teaching residents about the law and help them learn Mandarin as well as assimilate them to the mainstream society.

According to Abdul Amin, there are about 20,000 Muslims in Beijing and all of them were free to worship in mosques and there were many available halal food operators to cater for the Muslim community.

"The Chinese government has provided a lot of support and assistance for halal restaurants. They are free to eat halal food and go to the restaurants," he said.

He also noted that the China government had given preferential treatment to Muslims by allowing those who had passed away to be buried instead of cremated.

"The Chinese government has given some preferential treatment for Muslims here. Another aspect is the burial customs where the standard policy is cremation.

"A few years ago, the Muslim cemetery area was running out of space but the local government spent quite a huge amount of money to buy another piece of land for Muslim burial.

"These are just a few examples of how the Chinese government assist Muslims here," he said.

He said the body together with other Islamic associations at the national and provincial level are doing their best to interpret Islamic teaching and to ensure that believers are not influenced by extremism and terrorism.

"We want to teach peace, tolerance, and unity and educate our Muslim brothers the true spirit of Islam.

"In the Al-Quran, it is forbidden to take another person's life," he said.