New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Continuing its efforts to persecute the Uyghur Muslims in their region, China has reportedly built a public washroom on the site of a mosque, which was demolished in 2018, in Atush region of Xinjiang province in northwestern China.
According to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA), observers said that the construction of the lavatory on the Tokul mosque site in Suntagh village is part of a campaign which is aimed at hurting the sentiments of the Uyghur Muslims in the country.
An Uyghur neighbourhood committee chief from Suntagh village in Atush, said, as reported by news agency ANI, that Tokul mosque was demolished in 2018 and the public washroom was erected in its place by "Han (Chinese) comrades."
The committee chief further said that the locals have toilets in their homes and there was no specific need for the community toilet. He also said that the authorities have not opened the lavatory yet. However, the committee chief disclosed that the public washroom was likely built to cover up the debris of the demolished Tokul mosque, as well as for the needs of inspecting groups or cadres visiting the area.
China had even started a drive in late 2016 to raze Muslim places of worship, known as "Mosque Rectification." Two days ago, RFA's Uyghur Service learned that authorities had demolished two of three mosques in the Atush region.
The campaign, part of a series of hardline policies under Chinese President Xi Jinping, comes as Beijing is carrying out the mass incarceration of 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in its internment camps across Xinjiang since April 2017.
Suntagh village residents said that one of the two mosques in the village were demolished in Autumn last year. The authorities have built a convenience store at the site of razed Azna mosque and are selling liquor and cigarettes in the shop, both of which are forbidden in Islam.
According to a report in 2016, a local official in Hotan prefecture's Lop county reported that authorities were mulling to use the site of a former mosque to open an "activities centre" as a spot for entertainment. Another official in Hotan city's Ilchi township said that a former mosque site would be converted into a factory to produce underwear for a Sichuan-based company, ANI reported.
Apart from mosques, Chinese authorities have been systematically destroying Muslim cemeteries and other religious structures across Xinjiang since 2016.
Last year, the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) published a report titled "Demolishing Faith: The Destruction and Desecration of Uyghurs Mosques and Shrines," saying that the campaign uses geolocation and other techniques and has led to the destruction of between 10,000 and 15,000 mosques, shrines and other religious sites in the region between 2016 and 2019.
Qahar Barat, an Uyghur historian, recently told RFA that the demolition of religious places in Xinjiang constitutes a kind of "spirit breaking." He called on government and Muslim organisations in the Muslim world to take stern action against China's activities, which he described as a "declaration of war on Islam."
(With ANI Inputs)
Posted By: Talib Khan