Wed, 20 Jan 2021

URUMQI, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Recently, some anti-China forces from the United States and some other Western countries have been wantonly spreading fallacies that Xinjiang "restricts freedom of religious belief" and "demolishes mosques by force," says a report by the Islamic Association of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Disregarding facts, these groundless claims have severely hurt the feelings of Muslims in Xinjiang and aroused strong indignation and opposition, according to the report.

The right to freedom of religious belief in Xinjiang is fully guaranteed and normal religious activities are carried out in an orderly way, says the report.

Muslims' dietary habits, festivals, wedding and funeral practices, and customs and rituals are also respected in Xinjiang, it says.

Thanks to the strong support of the government, the conditions of mosques have been improved across the board, and they have been equipped with running water, electricity, natural gas, heating, and communications facilities. Roads leading to mosques have been improved to make access easier, says the report.

Xinjiang has been improving the conditions of mosques over the past few years to make them more comfortable for believers to undertake religious activities, according to local authorities.

Mamat Ahat, an imam of the Rastjama Mosque in Aksu City, said the previous mosque was small and had been made from clay and wood in the 1980s.

"Facilities in the mosque including water, electricity and heating systems were worn out over the past 30-plus years. It was the common aspiration of believers to improve the condition of the mosque," Mamat Ahat said.

The local government allocated more than 5,300 square meters of land to build a new mosque, which has a 1,400-square-meter prayer hall that can accommodate 1,200 people.

"We now have air conditioning in summer and heating in winter, as well as flush toilets and ablution facilities. The believers are very satisfied," Mamat Ahat said.

In Lop County, south Xinjiang's Hotan Prefecture, the 40-year-old Tawugazi Mosque has also been rebuilt since cracks appeared in the walls of the prayer hall.

"The new mosque can withstand an 8-magnitude earthquake and is also equipped with air conditioning and an underfloor heating system," said Ahmet Mehmut, an imam of the Tawugazi Mosque.

Through measures such as fresh construction or expansion in keeping with urban-rural construction planning norms, the region has improved the condition of mosques and met the needs of believers, which has been widely welcomed by religious figures and common believers, said Mehmut Usman, director of the regional ethnic affairs commission.

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