Since the ancient Silk Road was opened in the 2nd century BC, Xinjiang – China’s westernmost region bordering Central Asia – has mesmerized visitors with its landscape, culture and folklore. In recent months, stories of Xinjiang have again made headlines, yet the true ones are often left untold or perhaps, mistold.
Xinjiang and its periphery are home to China’s largest Muslim population, known as the Uyghur. As with Indonesia, they have been influenced mostly by the moderate strand of Islam, one that espouses religious tolerance and communal peace.
Xinjiang was made an autonomous region in 1955 out of respect for its unique ethnic mix. Islam has been respected and practiced, as evidenced by the high concentration of mosques, higher than in most Muslim countries. Yet the growth of moderate Islam was chal...
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