Thousands Of Muslims Gather In China To Protest Mosque Demolition

NPR News
Date: August 10, 2018

Chinese Hui Muslims pray during Eid al-Fitr prayers at Niujie Mosque in Beijing in 2015. Authorities in western China were poised to begin demolition of a mosque Friday, despite protests by members of the country’s Muslim Hui ethnic minority determined to preserve the newly built structure.
Mark Schiefelbein/AP

Thousands of members of China’s Hui Muslim minority have gathered at the site of a mosque in Weizhou, in northwestern China, in an attempt to block the government from demolishing the building.

Protesters told some reporters that the government proposed altering the building to make it look more traditionally Chinese, instead of demolishing it, but that the Muslim community rejected that proposal.

The Grand Mosque in Weizhou is brand-new — it was just finished last year. Authorities say it lacks the proper permits and must be torn down. But worshipers are fiercely opposed. They point out that the government did not raise concerns about the permits during the actual construction process.

One resident told the BBC the protesters “won’t let the government touch the mosque.”

Public demonstrations like this are not common in China, “where the government is often quick to quash any hint of dissent,” The Associated Press notes.

Hui residents who spoke to the AP by telephone said the protesters began to gather on Thursday: