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Arabic, Muslim symbols ordered taken down in Beijing | Arabic, Muslim symbols ordered taken down in Beijing | English.Lokmat.Com

Arabic, Muslim symbols ordered taken down in Beijing

Officials in the Chinese capital have ordered all shops to cover up any Arabic signs or Islamic symbols, in a latest phase of the government's crackdown on Muslims, media reports said.
Arabic, Muslim symbols ordered taken down in Beijing

Restaurants, cafes and food stalls which serve halal produce have been visited by government officials in recent weeks and told to remove not just the word "halal" in Arabic but also any images associated with Islam, such as crescent moons, reports say.

The crackdown has been most severe in the province of Xinjiang, where the state security forces have imposed a deeply authoritarian assault on the freedoms of the Uighur Muslim minority, including detaining as many as two million people in what it claims are re-education camps.

The campaign against visible signs of Islamic identity began in 2016 as an attempt to ensure China's 20 million Muslims more closely confirm to mainstream Chinese culture, according to reports.

There are at least 1,000 halal shops and restaurants in Beijing. Some of them have chosen to replace the Arabic halal signs with ones which use Chinese characters.

Human rights groups and the UN have decried the large camps set up in Xinjiang as equivalent to "wartime concentration camps".

Former detainees have spoken of Muslim Uighurs inside the camps being forced to denounce Islam, swear loyalty to the Communist Party and even eat pork or drink alcohol - both forbidden by their religion, reports say.

The government maintains it is simply attempting to combat Islamic extremist terrorism in Xinjiang.

( With inputs from IANS )

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