Muslim detainees in China re-education camps made to eat pork; not allowed to pray, grow beard

According to one exiled former detainee, indoctrination in China’s re-education camps for Muslims starts with early morning patriotic songs and sessions of self-criticism, followed by a meal of pork.

Though Beijing had earlier denied that it runs detention camps, according to UN experts, China holds one million Muslims in camps in Xinjiang region inhabited by ethnic Uighur, the largest Muslim minority.

As reported by Economic Times, Omir Bekali was one among the Muslims detained in the camp for several weeks in Karamay in Xinjiang. He fled to Turkey a year ago. Recalling the period he says it was more of a trauma than education.

According to him, the camps had only one objective that is to strip detainees of their religious belief. They were made to sing Chinese national anthem in the morning. He was arrested in Xinjiang, in March 2017, after he returned on a business trip for his Kazakh travel agency. He spent seven months in prison on charges of aiding ‘terrorism’ then he was sent to a re-education camp.

He told that the detainees were made to eat pork on Fridays, the holy day of Muslims. It must be noted that the consumption of pork is prohibited in Islam. They are not allowed to speak any language other than Chinese, nor they are allowed to pray or grow a beard, which authorities interpret as a sign of religious radicalisation.

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