China bans wearing Burqas in its biggest Muslim City

Rabat – A city in China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang province has banned residents form wearing the burqa in public, Chinese state media reported.Legislators in Urumqi, a city of 3.1 million people in the far western region of Xinjiang, barred women from wearing the garment in “an effort to curb growing religious extremism.”“Burqas are not traditional dress for Uighur women, and wearing them in public places is banned in countries such as Belgium and France,” Xinhua, China’s official news agency, wrote in brief article about the ban. The ban on burqas was introduced by local legislators in December, and passed over the weekend.Last summer, another Xinjiang city banned people wearing Islamic-style clothing and large beards from riding public transportation during a provincial state event, according to state media.Around 13.4 million of Xinjiang nearly 22 million residents are Muslims, according to the 2010 census.Xinjiang authorities banned students and civil servants from fasting during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.People under the age of 18 are also banned from entering mosques in Xinjiang.Amnesty International has said that Muslim Uyghur face discrimination in employment, housing and educational opportunities, as well as curtailed religious freedom and political marginalization.