The city or Urumqi in China’s population is nearly half Muslim, and the Chinese government has banned women there for wearing burqas, the garment that is worm by Islamic women in order to cover their bodies in when they are in public. Many Muslims believe that they are required to dress and behave modestly in public so that they may be recognized for their character rather than their outward appearance. The government, by banning a religious tradition, is likely to alienate native Muslims in China. Prior restrictions by the government have banned students from fasting during Ramadan and barred anyone who appeared Muslim from taking public busses. The Chinese government believes that residents will be safer if religious expressions are kept to a minimum. The government insists that “religious fanatics” are the driving force behind recent terrorism, but human rights groups are accusing China of systematically violating its citizens’ right to freedom of worship, and that actions like this will only serve to further radicalize Muslim youth.
Contributor: Johanna Hartman