China Rebuilds Grand Mosque in Beijing to Eliminate Middle East Influence – Radio Free Asia | Salisbury Pipes

Authorities in Beijing are “renovating” a large mosque to remove it Traces of the Arabic language and Middle Eastern designs, so around comply with the Sinicization by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). of religious politics has learned RFA.

The Doudian Mosque, with its arabesque domes and minarets, was the newest and largest mosque in Beijing and was built with donations by Beijing Muslims, according to a forum post in online Muslim Community website Ummah.

“The architecture and decoration of this mosque is a mixture of the classic Islamic form, with a healthy dose of natives Architectural and decorative elements to meet demand for a Sinicized form of Islam,” wrote academic Lloyd Ridgeon in 2020 Issue of the Journal of Minority Muslim Affairs, Referring to Doudian Mosque in the Beijing suburb of Fangshan.

“The recent fear of Islam has indeed led to mosques increasingly reflecting a Chinese flavor as typical from the Middle East,” the article says.

“In Henan province … domes have been removed from mosques with crescent and star shaped symbols. Such actions reflect the push for the Sinicization of religions.”

China’s five-year plan to sinicize Islam will focus on this require mosques to “uphold the core values ​​of socialism, traditionally Culture, Laws and Regulations,” according to a conference in January 2019 organized by the CCP United Front Work Department.

The mosques were told to “lead, mobilize and inspire” the Chinese Muslims with lectures and training courses on such topics, and which ones maintain the spirit of a sinicized Islam using notable examples Counting.

Beijing-based religious studies scholar Xi Wuyi recently posted photos and Descriptions of the renovation work on the Doudian Mosque and added they show “the orderly progress of the … Sinicization of religion in China.”

‘Correction’ work

It goes without saying that the “remedial work” must be visibly removed Connections to Arabic and Middle Eastern cultures began last month and continue to do so expected to be completed on May 1, 2023.

Shih Chien-yu, a national security expert and researcher at Taiwan Society of Central Asian Studies said there had been a trend Chinese Muslims since the late Supreme Leader Deng’s economic reforms Xiaoping tends towards more Arabic-influenced designs in the mosque architecture.

“Everything was done the way it is done in the Arab world,” Shih told RFA. “Also have a lot of funds for the construction were donated by foreign countries.”

Completed in 2013, the Doudian Mosque covers an area of ​​nearly 15,000 square meters and can accommodate 1,500 worshipers at the same time, This makes it the largest mosque in northern China.

According to Shih, the design was approved by Wang Zhengwei at the time Director of the National Commission for Ethnic Affairs of China.

“Wang Zhengwei was considered a traditional supporter of the autonomy of the ethnic minority regions, which is completely at odds with it [current CCP leader] Xi Jinping’s attitude towards the issue and towards religion,” he said.

“They demolish the foreign architectural style of the mosques built and more restored during this period [Chinese] green tile, Mosque architecture with flying cornices,” Shih said.

In July 2021, authorities in the western province of Qinghai announced the “rectification” of the 700-year-old Dongguan Mosque in Xining.

Control is the goal

Wang Yang, Chairman of the Chinese People’s National Committee Advisory Body of the Political Consultative Conference, Qinghai visited two months ago, with footage broadcast by the state of him visiting the mosque Channel CCTV at that time.

According to Shih, the Doudian Mosque is one of them Sinicization program.

“The authorities believe that in this way all the different religions Beliefs in China can be placed under Chinese control government,” Shih said. “Under the guidance [of the CCP]any ideas or Outside interpretations are illegal.”

“They use this as a symbolic way to establish the idea that you have to follow the party,” he said.

World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit said the move was part of an attempt to eliminate religious beliefs rather than increase them However, Chinese.

“China uses … administrative means to eliminate people religious beliefs in a planned and purposeful way,” Raxit told RFA.

“As the political center of China, Beijing sends a strong message to China the world with its “rectification” of mosques, that’s China will continue to Sinicize Islam policy and will not retreat to outside pressure,” he said.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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