Chinese cops order Muslims to hand over prayer mats and Korans or face ‘harsh punishment’

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“Pretty much every household has a Koran, and prayer mats.”

Earlier this year, Xinjiang authorities started confiscating all Korans published more than five years ago.

Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the exile World Uyghur Congress group, said Muslims were instructed to hand over the Koran and related items in a broadcast by police over social media platform WeChat.

“The announcements say that people must hand in any prayer mats to the authorities, as well as any religious reading matter, including anything with the Islamic moon and star symbol on it,” he said.

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“They are requiring people to hand in these items of their own accord.”

He said there were reports that Kashgar, Hotan and other regions had been given the same orders last week.

“We received a notification saying that every single ethnic Uyghur must hand in any Islam-related items from their own home, including Korans, prayers and anything else bearing the symbols of religion,” Mr Raxit said.

“They have to be handed in voluntarily. If they aren’t handed in, and they are found, then there will be harsh punishments.”

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