Xinjiang offers classes to Muslim clerics to guide them to resist extremism, foster national unity

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/9 21:18:41

Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region holds the year's first training class for Muslim clerics on January 1 in Urumqi. Photo: Courtesy of the United Front Work Department of Communist Party of China Central Committee



Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region recently held training classes for Muslim clerics, which aims to guide them to resist extremism and contribute to regional stability and prosperity. 

The class was held in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, on January 1, according to a statement released on the website of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Tuesday. 

Muslim clerics are required to have comprehensive understanding of Xinjiang's stability and development, and the statement said the religion department should strengthen their politics, law and religious education.

The training sessions require the Muslim clerics to study traditional Chinese traditional, the history of the country and the Party, especially the modern history of the country and of Xinjiang. They also need to learn Putonghua.

Muslim clerics should be the model of patriotism, law abiding, national unity and kindness, and should resist extreme ideas, promote harmony and lead religious believers to embrace national unity as much as their own eyes, and cherish national unity as much as their own lives, the statement said. 

Xinjiang is home to 24,400 mosques and about 29,000 Muslim clerics. Since 2001, the State Administration for Religious Affairs has held 12 training sessions for Muslim clerics, and has trained approximately 500 clerics for the region, according to a white paper issued by the State Council in 2016. 

"Muslim clerics generally refer to imams, who are respected by Muslims. Trained imams can help tens of thousands of believers nurture patriotism and national unity," Gao Zhanfu, a vice dean of the Beijing-based China Islamic Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The China Islamic Association is about to compile textbooks for Muslim clerics around the country, which will further standardize their training. Professors who specialize in a certain subject are usually invited to train the clerics, Gao noted.

The Central Institute of Socialism also frequently organized trainings for the clerics from Xinjiang, which covered five subjects - Putonghua, Chinese culture, Islam sinicization, de-extremism and a united Xinjiang of all ethnic minorities. Those sessions usually last four months, professors from the school told the Global Times on Wednesday.

To strengthen the awareness of cultivating Muslim clerics, the China Islamic Association recently enacted a code of conduct for them during a meeting in Beijing. The news was published on the association's website on Monday.

"The code of conduct for Muslim clerics will standardize their behavior, which, in general, requires them to support the Party leadership and abide by China's laws," Jin Rubin, deputy chairman of the China Islamic Association, told the Global Times on Wednesday.


Newspaper headline: Muslim clerics begin training


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