A Uyghur fortune-teller, right, reads playing cards as she tells a young woman her fortune in Urumqi, in China's northwestern Xinjiang region in this file photo. Authorities in Kashgar have reportedly jailed a Muslim woman for allegedly promoting the wearing of headscarves. (Photo by Goh Chai Hin/AFP)
A court in China's northwestern Xinjiang region has jailed a young Uyghur woman for 10 years after a friend told authorities she was promoting the wearing of headscarves, according to a news report Headscarves are a form of Islamic dress increasingly restricted by the authorities.
Horigul Nasir had been working as an au pair in Kashgar, the woman's brother Yusupjan Nasir told Radio Free Asia (RFA).
"One of her friends had been arrested and was being interrogated by police, and when she was told to tell them everything she knew, she said that my sister had once told her that not wearing a headscarf was sinful," he said.
Yusupjan, a security worker in Yengisar County, said the friend may have been afraid and made up the story so as not to be questioned further.
"My sister doesn't wear a headscarf, nor does she pray five times a day," a practice required of devout and observant Muslims, Yusupjan said.
The family was not allowed to attend her trial, Yusupjan said, adding that the secretary of their district later visited the home to read out the verdict to their mother.
Arrests of Muslims have recently shot up in Kashgar's Yengisar County, with many of those arrested "on petty charges" quickly being sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison, local sources told RFA.
Common reasons for arrest include holding "extremist religious views, determined by what suspects have said or how they are dressed," a local police officer said.
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