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China demolishes mosque for not supporting Olympics: group

6-23-08

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080623/ts_nm/olympics_mosque_dc

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities in the restive far western
region of Xinjiang have demolished a mosque for refusing to put up
signs in support of this August's Beijing Olympics, an exiled group
said on Monday.

The mosque was in Kalpin county near Aksu city in Xinjiang's rugged
southwest
, the World Uyghur Congress said.

The spokesman's office of the Xinjiang government said it had no
immediate comment, while telephone calls to the county government
went answered.

"China is forcing mosques in East Turkistan to publicize the Beijing
Olympics to get the Uighur people to support the Games (but) this has
been resisted by the Uighurs," World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat
Raxit said in an emailed statement.

Beijing says al Qaeda is working with militants in Xinjiang to use
terror to establish an independent state called East Turkistan.

Oil-rich Xinjiang is home to 8 million Turkic-speaking Uighurs, many
of whom resent the growing economic and cultural influence of the Han
Chinese.

Dilxat Raxit added that the mosque, which had been renovated in 1998,
was accused of illegally renovating the structure, carrying out
illegal religious activities and illegally storing copies of the
Muslim holy book the Koran.

"All the Korans in the mosque have been seized by the government and
dozens of people detained," he said. "The detained Uighurs have been
tortured."

The Olympic torch relay passed through Xinjiang last week under tight
security, with all but carefully vetted residents banned from
watching on the streets and tight controls over foreign media
covering the event.

 

 

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