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China bans Ramadan: Security crackdown bars Ramadan fasting in west Muslim area

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China bans Ramadan as part of a security crackdown that has left many Islamic followers frustrated in the country’s northern and western Muslim areas. Beijing is the prime imposer of this banning of the traditional holiday fast in order to make the nation safe in light of rising turbulence among its people. ABC News provides information surrounding this political move that has caused some religious strife this Thursday, July 3, 2014.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the official Islamic calendar, and is observed by many Muslims around the world as a time of fasting and reflection. Yet China has banned this faith practice temporarily in order to allegedly best protect the safety and rights of students. Formal statements posted on both school websites and government organizations within the Xinjiang region have cited the new ban as a way to prevent educational offices from endorsing any religion, especially that of Islam.

"No teacher can participate in religious activities, instill religious thoughts in students or coerce students into religious activities," shares one posting on the web page of a grade School in one Xinjiang county.

Although this banning of Ramadan might sound like an unprecedented move, this isn’t the first time that the fasting during this spiritual period has been restricted or outright prohibited. The religious month, which officially began this Saturday night at sundown, has been implemented in the past. However, this particular barring of the fast in China is said to be part of a governmental security crackdown. Heightened safety measures are in the works because the government is holding Muslim extremists at fault for recent attacks connected to foreign terrorist threats.

According to News Max, the west areas of China are going through a time of political upheaval and public unrest. Violence has been on the rise in Xinjiang this past decade. Leading party figures say that extremists are at fault over a growing desire for independence; those of the Uighur cultural group, meanwhile, claim that a tide of prejudice against religion — including Islam and fasting during Ramadan — are causing “anger at the ethnic Han Chinese majority.”

Tensions only reached an apex in late May when a fatal attack occurred in Urumqi, the capitol of the area. A number of bombs thrown by extremists resulted in over 40 people dying — a truly devastating assault that garnered international attention and debate. Similarly, not even two weeks ago, law enforcement authorities in Kashgar said they were forced to shoot over a dozen Muslim terrorists that tried detonating explosives at a local police building. Other officials have blamed recent train bombings on these same extremists as well.

At this time, the crackdown in security is intended to allay political and religious tension by putting an outright ban on some faith-oriented Islamic practices, including fasting in schools. According to police reports, almost 400 criminal arrests have been made since strains began to escalate. The overall fear of religious activities prompted the ruling party to institute the ban in order to deter a potential gathering to support one-party leadership. Do you believe it is right that China has banned Ramadan for the time being in the northwestern regions of the country?

"This will lead to more conflicts if China uses coercive measures to rule and to challenge Uighur beliefs," warned one official.

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