Asia’s biggest country and the fourth largest country, China has called on all mosque courtyards to raise the national flags in order to “uplift the spirit of patriotism” among Muslims, the China Islamic Association said in a letter published Saturday on its website. China officially recognises five religions namely Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Taoism and Islam.
By this order, it would further strengthen the grip on religion. The national flags should be raised in a pole position in all mosque courtyards. This would “further strengthen the understanding of national and civic ideals, and promote a spirit of patriotism among Muslims of all ethnic groups”, the AFP news agency quoted the statement as saying.
In addition to that, the Mosques should also publicly show information on the party’s “core socialist values”, and explain them to devotees via Islamic scripture so that they will be “deeply rooted in people’s hearts”, it said.
China Islamic Association is a government-affiliated body and has all the power to appoint imams. The letter comes following China’s newly revised Regulations on Religious Affairs, which were started in February. Due to these new regulations which came into effect, it caused the rights groups to voice the matter over religious freedoms.
The new regulations made punishments severe for unapproved religious activities. China recently let out a “white paper” about religion, help the people to support the Communist Party of China’s leadership and remain second in command to the interests of the nation and its people.
The document’s caption read, ‘China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief’, said that the country’s 200 million believers should “actively guide religions in adapting to socialist society…”
Repeating the same principles, the statement advised the Islamic community to “take socialist core values as their guide” and carry the core values of the socialism through the work of decoding (Islamic) scriptures. “The traditional virtues promote and complement each other. It is necessary to educate and guide the broad masses of the Muslim people to learn from the fine traditional culture of China, further strengthen their cultural confidence, and strengthen their cultural identity,” it said
As per the AFP report, the potential statement directed mosque staff to hold classes on the Chinese constitution and other appropriate laws, especially the new religious regulations. “They should also study Chinese classics and set up courses on traditional Chinese culture while being sure to focus only on Muslim sages of Chinese rather than foreign origin,” it said.