China has asked Muslim citizens to resolutely oppose extremism and adhere to the concept of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
The statement came from Wang Zuo’an, chief of the state administration for religious affairs, at the 10th National Congress of Chinese Muslims. Wang said the development of Islam in China should stick to socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The country tightened security in the restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang province with stern measures. Wang said that beliefs and customs of the Muslim community will be respected but religious interference in the fields of politics, justice and education is intolerable.
“It is strongly advocated that new mosques should demonstrate Chinese characteristics and national features, instead of deliberate copying foreign architectural styles,” Wang said.
He said that he appreciated the work of the Islamic Association of China (IAC) during the past five years. China’s communist officials have always claimed that Muslim fundamentalism, which has overseas influence, is responsible for the growth of terrorism in Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan.
Communist leaders have earlier indicated that terror camps in Pakistan have supplied arms and other forms of support to separatists in Xinjiang who often indulge in grave violence.
His comments came as China has tightened rules for religious ceremonies and directed residents in Xinjiang province to surrender their passports in a bid to restrict their attempts to migrate abroad.
The government has also been worried that some Muslims from the province would join the jihadists from Islamic State in Syria and other places.