Chinese police demolish mosque

Hundreds of Muslims fought with armed police who demolished a mosque in north China, local police and a human rights group said on Monday, with several people injured in the "riot".

The violence between local Muslims and roughly 1,000 armed police began after police declared illegal a newly renovated mosque in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and moved to destroy it, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, in Hong Kong, said.

Two people were killed and 50 injured and more than 100 detained, after police fired tear gas and used knives and batons to beat back ethnic Hui Muslim protesters in Taoshan village, Hexi township, the rights group said, citing villagers.

China in recent years has seen several outbreaks of ethnic violence involving Muslims, mostly as the mainly Muslim Uighurs of the northwest Xinjiang region bridle under what they regard as government oppression and the unwanted immigration of majority ethnic Han Chinese.

Muslims make up about 2% of the population in China, but because the country is so populous, its Muslim population is expected to be the 19th largest in the world in 2030. The Muslim population in China is projected to increase from 23.3 million in 2010 to nearly 30 million in 2030. Most of China's Muslim communities, including the Hui, Uygurs and Kazakhs, have lived in China for more than 1,000 years. The largest concentrations of Muslims today are in the Western provinces of Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu. A substantial number of Muslims live in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

Turkic Muslim Uighurs, are the indigenous inhabitants of Xinjiang. Twice in the last century, they enjoyed brief periods of independence but in the past 20 years or so there has been growing resentment at Beijing's policies, in particular, its resettlement of millions of Han Chinese there. The Uighurs have seen their homes demolished to make way for the Han immigrants; their culture has been swamped and they themselves reduced to a minority in their own homeland.

In 2009, riots erupted in western Xinjiang province after tensions flared between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese. It is unclear how many of them have died but there are reports of at least 140, with more than 800 injured. Hundreds more have been arrested. It is the most brutal act of violence against protesters since Tiananmen Square 20 years ago. It is bound to influence the way Muslims perceive China.

Till now, however, the rest of the world, including the rest of the Muslim world, has largely ignored their plight because of political considerations. Turning a blind eye is not going to be an option after this incident. Views on China's attitude toward its Muslim population will harden. Muslims (and others) are bound to question whether there is any difference between Israel trying to crush a people and create facts on the ground by building settlements and China doing the same with its policy of Han migration.

China takes the view that its internal affairs are its private concern and that no one else has the right to express any views whatsoever - praise accepted of course - about what happens within its borders.

The world is not like that any more, and China has to realize that persecution of its Muslims will not go unnoticed or uncommented upon. That does not mean that relations between China and the Muslim world are going to move into a freeze, but the persecution could put a strain on Chinese-Muslim relations.

CAIR, the council on American-Islamic Relations has yet to comment on the matter; usually quick to denounce such actions, CAIR remains silent on the matter, though they were quick to condemn bomb attacks on churches in Nigeria that left at least 35 people dead and many more injured.  It seems their focus as of late is on Lowes, and attacking the FBI and CIA for links to widespread monitoring of Muslim communities.

Hundreds of Muslims fought with armed police who demolished a mosque in north China, local police and a human rights group said on Monday, with several people injured in the "riot".

The violence between local Muslims and roughly 1,000 armed police began after police declared illegal a newly renovated mosque in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and moved to destroy it, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, in Hong Kong, said.

Two people were killed and 50 injured and more than 100 detained, after police fired tear gas and used knives and batons to beat back ethnic Hui Muslim protesters in Taoshan village, Hexi township, the rights group said, citing villagers.

China in recent years has seen several outbreaks of ethnic violence involving Muslims, mostly as the mainly Muslim Uighurs of the northwest Xinjiang region bridle under what they regard as government oppression and the unwanted immigration of majority ethnic Han Chinese.

Muslims make up about 2% of the population in China, but because the country is so populous, its Muslim population is expected to be the 19th largest in the world in 2030. The Muslim population in China is projected to increase from 23.3 million in 2010 to nearly 30 million in 2030. Most of China's Muslim communities, including the Hui, Uygurs and Kazakhs, have lived in China for more than 1,000 years. The largest concentrations of Muslims today are in the Western provinces of Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu. A substantial number of Muslims live in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

Turkic Muslim Uighurs, are the indigenous inhabitants of Xinjiang. Twice in the last century, they enjoyed brief periods of independence but in the past 20 years or so there has been growing resentment at Beijing's policies, in particular, its resettlement of millions of Han Chinese there. The Uighurs have seen their homes demolished to make way for the Han immigrants; their culture has been swamped and they themselves reduced to a minority in their own homeland.

In 2009, riots erupted in western Xinjiang province after tensions flared between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese. It is unclear how many of them have died but there are reports of at least 140, with more than 800 injured. Hundreds more have been arrested. It is the most brutal act of violence against protesters since Tiananmen Square 20 years ago. It is bound to influence the way Muslims perceive China.

Till now, however, the rest of the world, including the rest of the Muslim world, has largely ignored their plight because of political considerations. Turning a blind eye is not going to be an option after this incident. Views on China's attitude toward its Muslim population will harden. Muslims (and others) are bound to question whether there is any difference between Israel trying to crush a people and create facts on the ground by building settlements and China doing the same with its policy of Han migration.

China takes the view that its internal affairs are its private concern and that no one else has the right to express any views whatsoever - praise accepted of course - about what happens within its borders.

The world is not like that any more, and China has to realize that persecution of its Muslims will not go unnoticed or uncommented upon. That does not mean that relations between China and the Muslim world are going to move into a freeze, but the persecution could put a strain on Chinese-Muslim relations.

CAIR, the council on American-Islamic Relations has yet to comment on the matter; usually quick to denounce such actions, CAIR remains silent on the matter, though they were quick to condemn bomb attacks on churches in Nigeria that left at least 35 people dead and many more injured.  It seems their focus as of late is on Lowes, and attacking the FBI and CIA for links to widespread monitoring of Muslim communities.

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