China has banned parents and guardians in its heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang from encouraging their children into religious activities.
The government unveiled new education rules coming into effect from November 1, meaning that those who encourage or force their children into religious activities will be reported to the police.
Previous rules have already banned beards for men and head coverings for women in a province that is home to over 10 million Muslims.
China claims that the legal, cultural and religious rights of Muslims in Xinjiang are fully protected.
However, many Muslim Uygur people resent increasing restrictions on their culture and religion and complain they are denied economic opportunities amid an influx of Han Chinese into the province.
The new education rules forbids parents and guardians from forcing minors to attend religious activities, reports Xinjiang Daily.
The rules also ban religious activities in schools and state that if parents cannot guide their children away from harmful extremist ways then they can apply to have their children sent to specialist schools to receive ‘rectification’.
In recent years, hundreds of people have died in unrest blamed by the Chinese government on
In April 2014, officials in Xinjiang offered rewards of up to 50,000 yuan (£6,066) for those who tipped police off with information on separatist activities which included growing facial hair.
While in 2015, Uygur imams in Kashgar were forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul and to declare that ‘our income comes from the Chinese Communist Party, not from Allah.’
Such Islamophobic stances are coming against a group of Muslims who are the miniority in the land and wish to hold firm to their orthodox beliefs. It becomes one of the growing factors towards radicals arising from within.