Muslims were afraid to celebrate this year’s Festival of Sacrifice in a mosque of Xinjiang’s Kashgar (Kashi) prefecture.
Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice), celebrated on August 20 to 24 in 2018, is considered one of the main holidays for Muslims along with Eid al-Fitr (Feast of Breaking the Fast) and Mawlid (Birth of the Prophet).
During the Festival of Sacrifice, Muslims in Xinjiang would traditionally wear festive clothes and go to mosques to pray. With only a few mosques remaining in Xinjiang and many local Muslims detained at “transformation through education” camps, this year’s Eid al-Adha was far from what it used to be.
A mosque located on Naqiuke Road in the Shule county of Xinjiang’s Kashgar (Kashi) prefecture, used to accommodate up to 800 Muslim worshippers. On holidays, numerous worshipers would flock the mosque; some believers even prayed on the roadside outside it. During this year’s Festival of Sacrifice, almost no one came; the mosque was quiet and deserted. A local Muslim recalled, “The mosque has been sealed off with police tape, and officers are patrolling and guarding it. People are afraid of being arrested, and no one dares to come to the mosque and pray anymore.”
The Chinese national flag had been put on the roof of the mosque and propaganda slogan in Chinese characters “Love the Party, love the country” has been hung above the main door. A building to the left of the mosque now houses the Shule County Police Affairs Office.
Reported by Li Zaili