The CCP authorities detained a number of imams last year and continue to hold them for no reason.
An imam is an honorific title in Islam given to a person who is the head of a mosque. It is a role equivalent to that of a priest in charge of a church in Christianity or an abbot in charge of a monastery in Buddhism.
Emet (pseudonym), an imam from Xinjiang’s Tacheng prefecture, was detained by the authorities in September 2017. He was called in on the pretext of getting a blood test done but was instead locked up at a “transformation through education” camp.
Mr. Emet held the CCP-issued imam certification and was the head at Tu’ergong mosque in Emin county. He would also deliver sermons at various other local mosques.
When his father visited him at the camp, Mr. Emet told him, “The rule here is that you have to finish studying and meet their standards before you can be released; if you don’t, you might never get to leave.”
Mr. Emet is one of the many imams currently under detention for no apparent reason. The imam called Rezati Resihan, in one of the largest mosques in the region, was arrested in 2015 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Another imam, belonging to Jinghe county, was arrested in 2017 and hasn’t been heard from since. Two more imams from the same county who had attended state religious institutes were also arrested.
Over the past few years, imams have been detained in droves all over Xinjiang. While some are currently held in “transformation through education” camps, others are in prison or remain unaccounted for.
Reported by Li Zaili