Other popular Islamic Uighur rituals fill roles that the government cannot. One, called the mäshräp, brings men together to perform, to read and discuss the Qur'an, and to mete out punishments for immoral behaviour in the community. In the city of Ghulja in the mid-1990s, these organisations became very influential, as they were popularly recognised as a force for positive social change, especially in addressing alcoholism and drug abuse. The groups even began to establish football clubs. In February 1997, the authorities cracked down on the groups, calling them illegal separatist gatherings. The government used football pitches for tank exercises and then cracked down violently on the subsequent protests. The groups became victims of the state's imperative to control every aspect of public life.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Interesting piece on the positive role of Islam in the social life of Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang and the Communist repression of its expression. Here is an excerpt: