China’s Muslim Uyghurs Forbidden to Fast During Ramadan

Epoch Times Staff  Sep 1, 2009  -

Chinese authorities in Xinjiang Province have issued a notice that any Uyghur cadres or workers found not eating lunch during Ramadan could lose their jobs.

It is part of the campaign of local authorities in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, to force the Uyghur people to give up their religious rituals during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar, which begun this year on Aug. 22. It requires not eating during the daytime.

“Free lunches, tea, and coffee—that authorities are calling ‘Care from the government’ or ‘Living allowance’—are being offered in government departments and companies. But it is actually a ploy used to find out who is fasting,” said Dilxat Raxit, World Uyghur Congress spokesman, speaking to The Epoch Times.

According to Dilxat, Uyghur Communist Party cadres throughout Xinjiang had been forced to sign “letters of responsibility” promising to avoid fasting and other religious activities. They are also responsible for enforcing the policy in their assigned areas, and face punishment if anyone in these areas fasts.

For the first time, Dilxat said, the crackdown has extended to retired Communist Party members. Current cadres are required to visit them to prevent them from participating in the fast. If anyone violates the ban, local leaders will be held responsible and severely punished, he said.

Muslim restaurant owners are forced to sign a document to remain open and continue selling alcohol during Ramadan or have their licenses revoked, he said.

Uyghurs arrested during the July riots in Urumqi are also prohibited from fasting; those who insist on fasting will be force fed food and water while enduring insults for their misbehavior, he said in the interview.

Monks in mosques are forced to preach to others that fasting is a “feudal activity” and harmful to health, said Dilxat. Otherwise, their religious certification will be cancelled……. (more details from The Epochtimes)