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Xinjiang Authorities Restrict Islamic ‘Nikah’ Wedding Rites, Citing Danger to ‘Stability’

China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)- Kashgar Map

Authorities in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture, in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), are restricting Uyghurs from observing Islamic wedding rites, according to sources, amid a campaign that has labeled a broad spectrum of religious practices as “extremist.”

Last month, RFA’s Uyghur Service received a tip from a listener claiming to be a Uyghur living in Shanghai who said he had inquired with an official from Kashgar about permission to include nikah—considered an essential religious and cultural tradition in Muslim weddings—as part of his marriage back home in Kona Sheher (Shufu) county’s Toqquzaq township.

Historically, Uyghur couples have performed nikah on the morning of their wedding, gathering with their immediate families, as well as their best man and maid of honor, in the presence of an akhun, or Muslim officiant. Multiple wedding receptions—complete with food, dancing, and merriment, and attended by extended family and members of the couple’s social circle—typically follows during the same afternoon and evening, or over the course of subsequent days.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, provided RFA with what he said was a recording of the phone conversation, in which he repeatedly asks whether he can hire an akhun to preside over a nikah ceremony because he had heard from his fiancé—via local officials—that it was no longer possible to do so.

In the recording, after learning that the caller is based in Shanghai, the Han Chinese staffer at the Kona Sheher County Government Office refuses to discuss the matter over the phone or provide him with contact information for officials who can provide an answer to his question.

As a citizen, I need you to tell me,” the Uyghur caller says in Mandarin Chinese, to which the Han Chinese staffer angrily responds, “I can’t—I don’t know your identity.”

RFA also spoke with a Uyghur businessman trading in neighboring Kazakhstan, who said that the ban on nikah has been in place for “at least more than one year.”

The businessman, who also declined to be named, claimed that authorities began punishing couples who had married through nikah but without a government-issued marriage license for “illegal marriage” prior to the start of a campaign of mass incarceration in the XUAR. Authorities are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a vast network of internment camps in the region since April 2017.

After the internment campaign began, he said, authorities began pushing couples to wed solely by obtaining an official marriage license and without nikah, which they identified as a sign of “religious extremism.”

“They started restricting nikah a long time ago,” he said.

‘Not possible’ in Kashgar

RFA recently asked a Han Chinese government employee in the seat of Kashgar prefecture about restrictions on nikah who said he could not comment and referred questions to higher-level officials.

However, a Han Chinese employee of the Kashgar Prefecture Bureau of Civil Affairs, which provides marriage licenses in the region, confirmed that hiring an akhun to officiate a nikah wedding ceremony is “not possible right now.”

The employee said nikah is prohibited in Kashgar prefecture but was unable to speak for other prefectures or pinpoint when the policy began.

RFA also spoke with officials from smaller administrative divisions in Kashgar to seek further information about wedding restrictions, including a Uyghur cadre from Kona Sheher’s Pahtekli township, who confirmed that it had been at least a year since the a nikah ceremony had taken place anywhere at the village level under his jurisdiction.

“There are no such things now,” he said, adding that couples “don’t have to do anything other than get the stamp,” referring to an official marriage license.

“It’s been something like a year, a year or two. They’re just getting the stamp and taking [their brides] home.”

The cadre said that local officials have been explaining the restrictions on nikah, as well as on traditional wedding receptions, by telling residents “that they can’t gather, that people can’t come to their houses” because “it’s dangerous for stability.”

“The akhuns have it easy,” he said, adding that there is essentially no use for religious specialists anymore.

Meanwhile, the cadre suggested, residents have grown accustomed to forgoing nikah for their weddings.

“No, no, given that they understand the law—everyone understands,” he claimed. “They’re all used to it, OK? They’re used to it.”

Assault on religious practices

Earlier investigations by RFA have shown that other religiously inflected practices, including wearing beards and various styles of dress—such as long tunics for women—have been heavily restricted by authorities in the XUAR over the past several years.

In 2015 and 2016, regional authorities even restricted the giving of zakat, or alms—the act of which constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. Restrictions on almsgiving have effectively prevented Uyghurs from being able to provide financial and social support to one another.

Reports of restrictions on nikah provide the latest example of what observers say is a bid by authorities to separate Uyghurs from even the most mundane expressions of religious practice and belief.

In June, the U.S. State Department noted “the scope and severity of reported religious freedom violations” specific to the XUAR in its 2019 International Religious Freedom Report.

The report cited the use of detentions “in furtherance of implementing a Xinjiang counterextremism regulation that identifies ‘extremist’ behaviors (including growing beards, wearing headscarves, and abstaining from alcohol) and the National Counterterrorism Law, which addresses ‘religious extremism.’”

Last month, the United States leveled sanctions against several top Chinese officials deemed responsible for rights violations in Xinjiang, including regional party secretary Chen Quanguo, in the first time Washington had sanctioned a member of China’s powerful Politburo.

Washington also sanctioned the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp and top XPCC officials “for their connection to serious human rights abuse against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded with retaliatory sanctions targeting several Republican lawmakers, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, and the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China advisory panel.

Reported by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by Elise Anderson. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org

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21 October, 2020
India New COVID-19 Cases 54,044 and Deaths 717 in Last 24 Hours
COVID-19 Total Cases: 7,597,063  Deaths 115,197 
How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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