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China bans Islamic hijab in Muslim city

The Chinese government has banned people with beards or Islamic clothing from travelling on public buses in a city in the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region.

Authorities in the city of Karamay said the ban will remain in effect for the duration of a sports competition ending on August 20, the local paper Karamay Daily reported.

The ban targets “five types of people” from using public transport facilities, the paper said, adding that the targets are “youths with long beards”, people wearing headscarves, burqas, veils as well as people dressed in clothes with the crescent moon and star symbol.

“Those who do not cooperate with inspection teams will be handled by police,” the daily said.

The report said all commuters in the Chinese city are subject to bag checks.

Last month, China banned government staff and students from observing the fasting ritual during the holy month of Ramadan, which ended on July 29.

Karamay is located about 400 kilometers north of Xinjiang region’s capital, Urumqi, which saw deadly attacks in April and May.

The latest unrest in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, took place on July 28 in Shache County, where nearly 100 people were killed.

Days after the Shache incident, the imam of China’s largest mosque in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar Jume Tahir was stabbed to death.

Internet users in China have reacted to the ban on Islamic dress in Karamay city with one of them posting, “So every bearded or burqa-clad person is a terrorist? For goodness sake these are traditional customs.”

KA/HSN

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