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CHINA BANS RAMADAN FAST IN UIGHUR MUSLIM NORTWEST?

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Chinese authorities across the country’s restive northwest region of Xinjiang have banned Muslim students and civil servants from taking part in all “religious activities” during the holy month of Ramadan.
In a region where around 45 per cent of the population is Muslim, a series of notices issued by schools and government departments have “strictly forbidden” anyone from taking part in fasting, and some have even been banned from performing their daily prayers in mosques.
Notices said the bans were designed to prevent the use of schools and government offices to “promote religion”, while local political organisations have been reminded of the ruling party’s officially atheist stance.
But the decision to ban Ramadan is particularly controversial for Xinjiang, coming amid an extensive security crackdown on the minority Uighur Muslim population.
Authorities have blamed separatist Uighurs for a string of recent terror attacks on civilian crowds and government institutions, but the group denies involvement and activists have accused Beijing of exaggerating the threat as an excuse to impose restrictions.
Violence has escalated in recent years in Xinjiang. The ruling party blames violent extremists that it says want independence, while members of the region's Uighur ethnic group complain that discrimination and restrictions on religion, such  as a ban on taking children to mosques, are  fueling  anger at the ethnic Han 
Chinese majority.

Source: Agency
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