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Hui – China’s ‘more successful’ Muslim minority

Normally when we hear or read of ‘Muslims in China’ we automatically think of the heavily persecuted Uighur/Uyghur minority. However there is another Muslim minority that has enjoyed relative ease and freedom for hundreds of years: the Hui. The following article from The Economist outlines some interesting distinctions between the two minorities, distilling potential keys for the relative pluralism and multicultural success characterising the Hui Chinese Muslims.

THE faithful are returning from the haj. Waiting for prayers outside the Great Mosque in Tongxin, a remote town in the western province of Ningxia, Li Yuchuan calls his pilgrimage a liberation: “Our prayers are just homework for it.” His 84-year-old friend (pictured, right) leaps up and twists himself with lithe agility into the shape of a pretzel. “We Muslims pray five times a day,” he says. “We are flexible and tough.” China’s Muslims need to be.

China has a richly deserved reputation for religious intolerance. Buddhists in Tibet, Muslims in the far western region of Xinjiang and Christians in Zhejiang province on the coast have all been harassed or arrested and their places of worship vandalised. In Xinjiang the government seems to equate Islam with terrorism. Women there have been ordered not to wear veils on their faces. Muslims in official positions have been forced to break the Ramadan fast. But there is a remarkable exception to this grim picture of repression: the Hui.

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