Beijing, October 26: China has expedited the process of removing dome roofs from thousands of mosques across the country under "sinicization". In September this year, the Chinese authorities, the Dongguan Mosque in China's northwestern city of Xining, was remodelled. The mosque was renovated with Buddist symbols. The mosque has now been built in the style of a Chinese imperial palace with no domes. Notably, Xining is the capital city of China's Qinghai province.

The Dongguan Mosque is 700 years old. Other mosques in the city are also being renovated with no domes. In July, images of a notice from the Xining municipal government in which it announced the renovation of the front gate of the Dongguan Mosque was surfaced on social media. "The government says they want us to "sinify" our mosques, so they look more like Beijing's Tiananmen Square," reported NPR News quoting Ali, a Muslim farmer selling pomegranates outside the mosque. Uighur Women Face China's Forced Sterilisation Campaign in Concentration Camps: Report.

The sinicization is being done as Chinese authorities consider that domes are evidence of foreign religious influence. Notably, the local Hui Muslim community comprises 16 percent of Xining's population. The action of the Chinese authorities to remove domes of mosque displeased the community.  UK Deputy head of mission to China, Christina Scott, tweeted old and new images of the Dongguan Mosque. The dome was removed from the mosque.

Scott tweeted, "My (4 yr old) guide book getting out of date. Go to the Dongguan Great Mosque, it advises. So I do. Closed for renovations (which seem to have included removing the dome and minarets - photo from street-side of building in book)." Crescents were also removed from the Naguan Mosque.

Tweet By Christina Scott:

Earlier this week, the news also surfaced that China banned Quran apps. Quran Majeed, a popular app for reading the Islamic religious text, is the latest app to be banned in China in response to Chinese government requests. This comes after China banned a host of US-based social media platforms. Apart from Quran Majeed, Olive Tree's Bible App was also withdrawn in China earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim people, have been the target of the Beijing government for decades, who ruthlessly carry out campaigns of repression to keep the area colonised under Chinese rule. As per reports, in recent years, these campaigns have escalated. Recent estimates suggest that millions of Uighurs are going in and out of these camps.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 26, 2021 10:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website