CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 11 November 2017

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Tough times for imams

HONG KONG (SE): Reports are emerging from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region that imams who are not toeing the Communist Party line have been sent to political re-education camps, which have proliferated at a clipped pace over the past several months in the western area.
 
With the promotion of the region’s hardline leader, Chen Quanguo, to the broader politburo during the October Party Congress—a move which many rights monitors both predicted and feared—the crackdown on ethnic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang is likely to become worse.
 
Radio Free Asia reported that at the end of September, Chen had ordered officials to crack down on imams that did not comply with religious regulations in the run-up to the Party Congress. They were also told to keep closer tabs on the education centres.
 
A spokesperson for the World Uyghur Congress told Radio Free Asia that these missing imams were subjected to brainwashing and abuse that forced them to relinquish their religious beliefs and that the education centres are bursting at the seams.
 
The American broadcaster said that commentators believe that the crackdown in Xinjiang is linked to the promotion of the One Belt, One Road infrastructure-building project, as the area is a significant player in carving a road between Beijing, Europe and Africa.

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