In their most recent move to tighten their hold on Muslims, the Chinese government issued a decree prohibiting parents from naming their children names like “Muhammad” and “Arafat.”
The law is designed to “curb religious fervor” in Xinjiang, which according to the New York Times, homes more than 10 million Uighurs (a Muslim minority group). The Chinese government believes this location is a prime spot for Islamic extremism and violence. Uighurs are disagreeing saying that the sanctions are causing distress and tensions.
The New York Times received a list of the banned names that banned over 24 days. The “List of Banned Ethnic Minority Names” was given to The New York Times via Uighur activists. If the ban is not followed, the government has threatened to take away benefits for the children. These can include education and health care.
The strict sanctions may attack a possible root of terrorism, but it also attacks freedom; something still lacking in China. Rights advocates pointed out how far China was going with this to fight terrorism. Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, issued the following statement after learning of China’s decision:
“China’s policies are increasingly hostile. Uighur people have to be cautious if they want to give their children names they are happy with, and at the same time avoid punishment from the government.”
Another official not happy with the ruling is Director Sophie Richardson of the Human Rights Watch. She mentioned in an email that choosing a baby name should be joyful and private. She also went on to say, “this is the latest absurd restriction that the Chinese government has imposed on people in Xinjiang.”
This is the first time China has tried to limit extremism in Xinjiang. Just this year, China held several large gatherings of paramilitary to show their force. According to the New York Times, the area has had various conflicts between people and officials. They’ve even reported random acts of domestic terrorism.
Do you think this goes too far to stop the spread of fanatic terrorists? Let us know in the comments below!
Credit: New York Times