To enforce its Islam “sinicization” policy, the CCP removes domes and star-and-crescents from mosques and demands total submissiveness from the Muslim population.
by Gu Xi
The CCP’s campaign to dismantle Islamic symbols from mosques across China has brought and continues to bring severe pain for the Muslim population. Not only are they deprived of their culture and religion, but are also forced to declare unwavering loyalty to the regime that is suppressing them.
In late March, on orders from the local government, domes and star-and-crescent symbols were removed from 17 mosques in the Kongdong district of Pingliang, a prefecture-level city in the northwestern province of Gansu.
A local imam revealed to Bitter Winter that ahead of the removal, authorities indoctrinated imams and people in charge of the mosques, forcing them to study “de-Arabization and de-Saudization policies, as well as the promotion of religion ‘sinicization.’” Officials also threatened to disqualify imams should they refuse to follow the government’s instructions and cooperate in removing Islamic symbols from mosques.
The central province of Henan, where over a million Hui Muslims reside, is one of the primary targets for Islam “sinicization,” and Islamic symbols continue to disappear daily. In January, at least ten mosques in Henan’s prefecture-level city of Pingdingshan had their domes and star-and-crescents removed.
Last December, government employees in Mengzhou, a county-level city administered by Henan’s Jiaozuo city, pressured a local imam to remove the dome and star-and-crescent symbols from his mosque, claiming that “Arabic constructions are not allowed in China because this implies worship of foreign things.” Before the dismantlement, officials from the local Religious Affairs Bureau asked the imam about the religious connotation of the star-and-crescent symbols and how much has Islam influenced the Muslim culture. The officials warned him not to resist, reminding that he would be arrested if he were in Xinjiang.
When all symbols were removed, a propaganda slogan, “Be loyal to the new China and the Communist Party,” was pasted at the entrance of the mosque, and a national flag was raised inside it.
“In China, if you say that Allah is the greatest or he created everything, the Communist Party will punish you,” a Hui Muslim from Mengzhou, a county-level city administered by Jiaozuo, commented. “You are told to listen and follow the Party.”
In mid-November, the domes and star-and-crescent symbols were removed from a mosque in Qinghua, a Jiaozuo-administered town. Propaganda slogans, like “Resolutely resist religious infiltration and combat religious extremism,” have been put up at the mosque entrance.
A similar fate befell an ancient mosque in Maying village in Tanghe county, administered by the county-level city of Nanyang in Henan. The local government ordered to remove the mosque’s symbols because “the state prohibits to worship foreign things.” “We have to listen to what Xi Jinping says and what state policies indicate,” a resident said helplessly. “No one dares to challenge the state.”
According to the information obtained by Bitter Winter, at least 40 mosques had their domes and star-and-crescent symbols removed in a county administered by Henan’s Zhumadian city during the first half of 2019. In July, Islamic symbols were taken down from about a dozen mosques in Xingyang, a county-level city under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Zhengzhou.
As previously reported, earlier this year, a municipal government in the northeastern province of Jilin issued an order, demanding to rectify Arabic-style mosques, changing them into Chinese-style buildings. All mosques are required to be “fixed” by June 30.