All mosques should raise national flag: China Islamic Association

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/20 22:58:40

All mosques in the country should raise the national flag and study socialist core values to strengthen their "concept of nation" and carry forward "the spirit of patriotism," the China Islamic Association declared.

Chinese experts hailed the initiative for seeking to assimilate religion into a socialist society and as progress for religious development.

In a letter published on its website on Saturday, the association urged nationwide Islamic associations and mosques to raise national flags all the time and in prominent positions.

Associations and mosques should also study the Chinese Constitution, socialist core values and traditional classical Chinese culture, the letter said.

The legal study classes should be offered so that Muslims can conduct religious activities in accordance with the law and correctly understand its relationship with religious doctrine.

Mosques are encouraged to  hold public welfare and community service activities to integrate socialist core values into Muslim life, the association posted. Mosques should teach classes on classical Chinese, history and geography.

The initiative, if carried out smoothly, could sinicize the religion by integrating religious doctrines into Chinese culture, Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies expert and a professor at Tibet University in Lhasa, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Other religious organizations should introduce it too, Xiong said.

Mosques in other Chinese cities already have flags.

Mosques in some cities in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region began to implement the initiative from Friday, according to a report from Ningxia Television.

A mosque in Northwest China's Gansu Province also held a ceremony on Friday to start the initiative, according to a release from Lanzhou Islamic College.

Mosques in Qinghe county, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region held their first national flag raising ceremony in February 2014 to express Muslim patriotism, news site reported.

Flags have been raised at all 69 religious sites - including Christian churches and Buddhist temples - in the city of Lanxi in East China's Zhejiang Province to "have patriotism guide devotion to religions," according to the website of the Zhejiang Province ethnic and religious affairs committee.

Some internet users questioned whether raising a national flag at a religious site was a violation of the principle of separation of politics and religion.

Experts said that Chinese law stipulates that politics and religion should not interfere with each other, but the national flag represents the country, not politics and hanging flags does not intervene in the freedom of religious activities.

In February the then vice premier Wang Yang stressed at a symposium that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation and seek to better adapt to socialist society, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The vice premier also expressed appreciation for the positive role religious groups play in promoting ethnic unity, religious progress and social harmony.
Newspaper headline: All mosques should raise flags

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