An influential group of Islamic scholars has criticized an apparent fasting ban in China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
China has banned Ramadan in parts of the far western region for Muslim Communist Party members, government employees, students and teachers.
The region is home to many ethnic minority groups, including the Turkic Uighur people.
In a statement issued Thursday, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) called on China to respect Muslims' rights and religious beliefs, Anadolu Agency reported.
"Continuous religious and ethnic persecution over Muslims, especially in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is against Chinese and international law," it stated.
The statement offered no explanation as to exactly what laws it was directly referring to.
It added that the policy "is also contrary to the fourth Geneva Convention in 1949 approved by China," and called the apparent ban "a clear violation of one of the most important principles of modern international law."
The Union called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other international organizations to protect Muslims.
This year's apparent attempts to control fasting are not the country's first.
In 2014, the government issued warnings to employees and students not to fast during the holy month.
It is also reported to have restricted men from having beards, clamped down on religious education activities, and acted to control the entrances and exits to mosques.
In January 2015, the ban was extended to wearing burqas (veil).
Uyghur, a Turkic group that makes up around 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, has accused China of carrying out repressive policies that restrain their religious, commercial and cultural activities.
The IUMS is comprised of senior Sunni religious scholars from around the world.
. Tags: #Uyghr-Muslim #China #
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