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China targets Kazakh students for wearing Islamic attire

At least 20 people arrested by Xinjiang authorities as part of crackdown on practicing religion on campuses

China targets Kazakh students for wearing Islamic attire

Muslims leave a Mosque after Friday prayers in Hotan, in China's Xinjiang region in this June 23 file photo. Increasingly strict curbs imposed on the mostly Muslim population including ethnic minority Kazakhs have stifled life for Muslims. At least 20 Kazakh students have been arrested for wearing 'Muslim' attire on university campuses. (Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP)

September 4, 2017

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Authorities in China's Xinjiang region are thought to be detaining ethnic minority Kazakhs for wearing "Islamic" clothing and praying, a practice forbidden by the Communist Party on university campuses.

Kazakh sources estimated that "more than 20" ethnic Kazakhs have gone missing, believed detained, and that details were only available for a few of them, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

Two were named as Saltanati Murat, 21, a student at the Traditional Chinese Medicine University in Jilin province, and Aliteng, 20, a student at Changchun Normal University, the sources said.

"They were doing Muslim prayers while at university, and they were reported by their classmates to a teacher."

"The teacher reported them to the police in Xinjiang, and the Xinjiang police went over there and detained them," RFA quoted the source as saying.

"They didn't wear ordinary clothing, but rather loose clothing that is in keeping with Islam, like long skirts and headscarves," he said. "But they didn't wear anything that covered their faces."

"They were detained more than three months ago, and there has been no news of them since," he said.

Another detainee was named as Alvay, 35, an ethnic Kazakh man from Jeminay County in Xinjiang.

When police took him away, they said it was for "frequent attendance at mosque and prayers," sources said.

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