Tinejdad, Morocco- Muslims around the world celebrated the beginning of Ramadan last weekend, but some in China have been banned from fasting during the holy month, a religious duty that is the 4th pillar or obligation of Islam.The Chinese authorities on Wednesday imposed a ban on Muslim students, teachers, and civil servants in the northwestern province of Xinjiang from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.Following similar restrictions in previous years, the atheist Chinese ruling communist party has barred Muslims in Xinjiang, a mostly Muslim dominant region, from fasting during Ramadan. Home to many ethnic groups, Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China in the northwest of the country with a majority of its population followers of Islam.According to France Agence Presse (AFP), several government departments posted notices on their websites, “banning civil servants, students, and teachers in Xinjiang from taking part in Ramadan fasting.”“Civil servants and students cannot take part in fasting and other religious activities,”the Commercial Affairs Bureau of Turfan city said on its website on Monday, according to AFP.  The same source added that the state-run Bozhou Radio and TV University said on its website that it would “enforce the ban on party members, teachers, and young people from taking part in Ramadan activities.”The spokesman for the exiled World Uygur Congress, Dilxadi Rexiti,warned that these “kinds of coercive measures, restricting the faith of Uygurs,”imposed by China,“will create more conflict.”“We call on China to ensure religious freedom for Uygurs and stop political repression of Ramadan,” he added.The Chinese government explained its action as part of its duty to ensure a healthy life for all its citizens.  Others regard fasting as part of religious freedom, a fundamental human right guaranteed by constitutions worldwide.

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