Xinjiang chief sends a message of peace ahead of Ramadan

Updated: 2016-06-06 07:18

By CUI JIA(China Daily)

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The top official in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region wished the area's Muslims a happy Ramadan, the holy month that started on Monday, during a visit to an Islamic center over the weekend.

"Ramadan is about peace and self-reflection, as well as dedication and self-discipline. It also makes people advocate good deeds and lend a helping hand to those less fortunate," said Zhang Chunxian, the region's top official.

He made the comments on Sunday while meeting with teachers and students at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, the only one of its kind in China that teaches in the Uygur language. Xinjiang is home to about 51 percent of China's Muslim population.

Ramadan is observed by Muslims around the world who fast for a month to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic beliefs. This year, the holy month runs from Monday until July 5.

While at the institute, Zhang said he hoped Muslims from Xinjiang will promote faith righteously and preach peace and tolerance so that families, neighborhoods and society can be harmonious. He also urged Islamic leaders to stand against religious extremism by setting good examples.

Last year, Zhang ate a meal with Muslims in Urumqi, the regional capital, to mark the end of Ramadan.

While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food and drinking liquids. "To accommodate fasting, the 300 students at the institute will only have classes in the mornings during Ramadan," Abudulrekep Tumniaz, the institute director, said on Sunday.

A spokesman for Arman, a Halal food producer based in Urumqi, said the company expects sales of its ready meals to double during the holy month as people stock up so they can eat at home as soon as fasting is over for the day.

In southern Xinjiang's Kashgar city, Akbar Memet said he will continue to drive his taxi as usual during fasting. "The month of Ramadan is also when tourism in Kashgar begins to pick up," the 22-year-old said. "I won't miss the opportunity to make more money."

Kurbanjan Turhong, who makes traditional Uygur pottery, bought a sheep and big bag of rice a week before Ramadan. "Fasting actually can make me more concentrated when I make the pots because I won't be disturbed by lunch breaks," said the 39-year-old from Akto county, Kizilsu Kirgiz autonomous prefecture.