Nytt

The mosque, an imposing white building lit at night with gold, green and yellow, dwarfs the surrounding dim warren of brick and concrete homes. Its architecture of four minarets and nine domes tipped with crescent moons would be at home anywhere in the Islamic world, save for the large red and yellow Chinese flags fluttering from the ramparts and the wide central staircase.

Kinesiske myndigheter vil rive en megamoske i byen  Weizhou i Ningxia-provinsen, for å vise at ingen, selv ikke islam, står over kinesis lov, dvs kommunistpartiet.

Moskeen som har ni kupler og fire minareter rommer 30.000 troende. Den er bygget for innsamlede midler og sto ferdig først i fjor.

Flere tusen mennesker samlet seg i helgen og slo ring rundt moskeen. De er alarmert ved tanken på at moskeen skal rives. Et hundretall politi passet på, men foretok seg ikke noe. Protester i et slikt omfang er sjelden i Kina.

The residents of Weizhou were alarmed by news that the government was planning to demolish the mosque despite initially appearing to approve its construction, which was completed just last year.

The authorities now planned to take down eight out of the nine domes topping the mosque on the grounds that the structure was built larger than permitted, said Ma Zhiguo, a resident in his late 70s. But community members were standing their ground, he added.

«How could we allow them to tear down a mosque that is still in good condition?» he said, adding that the mosque conducts prayers attended by about 30,000 Muslims and was built using believers’ personal funds.

Trykket om riving ser ut til å komme fra sentralt hold. Lokale myndigheter kritiseres for ikke å ha fulgt med. Moskeen er langt større enn det som ble tillatt, hevdes det.

Lederen i avisen Global Times skriver at myndighetene ønsker å sende et budskap:

But the Global Times newspaper said in an editorial Saturday that the authorities had to send a message to all religious groups that none of them are above the law.

«Demolishing the mosque is sure to earn the ire of local religious followers. However, if the local government does not react to the illegal act, it will fuel the idea that religions are superior over China’s laws,» the paper said.

Det er ikke bare muslimene som har fått merke en hardere linje. Også kirker er blitt stengt. Men myndighetene er ekstra på vakt mot radikal islam. Det er særlig i Xinjang-provinsen de har slått ned på muslimske skoler og moskeer.

In the far west region of Xinjiang, following sporadic violent attacks by radical Muslim separatists, hundreds of thousands of members of the Uighur and Kazakh Muslim minorities have been arbitrarily detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the party.

Kina har 20 millioner muslimer. Hui-muslimene står mye nærmere han-kineserne i kultur og språk, men heller ikke her stoler myndighetene på muslimene.

Compared to those ethnic groups, the Hui are culturally much closer to China’s Han majority, similar in appearance and speaking a variation of the mainstream Mandarin language.

But recently, reports said authorities have shut down Hui religious schools and Arabic classes and barred children from participating in Muslim activities.

Den harde linjen er del av en større mer autoritær tendens i Kina. President Xi Jinping tolerer ikke at det eksisterer maktsentra utenfor hans kontroll. Etniske eller religiøse minoriteter er potensielle trusler.