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Islamophobia vigilance urged in China as affirmative action to minorities causes friction

Monday’s deadly attack near a London mosque has sparked discussions on Islamophobia in China, with experts on ethnicity and religion calling for vigilance against those who stoke hatred towards Muslims, as the public feels strongly about terror attacks linked to Islamic extremism and separatism.

The attack in London has killed at least one and injured 10 others after a man drove a van into worshippers near a London mosque on Monday, apparently targeting Muslims after two jihadist attacks in the UK within one month.

To mainstream Chinese scholars, Islamic terrorism that has plagued the West is a by-product of the colonial past of Western countries and their failed diplomacy in contemporary times. On China’s social media platforms, however, there has been a tendency to criticize Islam, as a large number of netizens believe religion has caused a rift and stoked hatred between peoples.

“Islamic terrorism is the result of Western countries colonizing and fighting Islamic countries, sowing hatred. Western countries should reflect,” said Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the Chongqing Committee, rebuffing the Islamophobic emotions that seem to be on the rise.

Chinese analysts believe the country’s religious and ethnic policies have the capacity to curb Islamophobia. “China’s long-term religious and ethnic policies have prevented Islamophobia in the country,” Xiong Kunxin, a professor at Beijing’s Minzu University of China, said.

China, despite being officially atheist, protects its citizens’ right to practice religions. Muslims of various ethnicities are free to observe Ramadan across China this month. The country’s affirmative action policies are favorable to ethnic minorities, of whom more than a dozen are predominantly Muslim.

“That does not mean China should not be vigilant against forces which will deliberately fan trouble and create chaos, claiming they are fighting Islamic extremists,” Xiong said. 

Islamophobia is believed to be on the rise as Chinese…

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