News 11 august — 11:02

China mosque demolition sparks standoff in Ningxia

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Hundreds of Muslims in north-western China are engaged in a standoff with authorities to prevent their mosque from being demolished, BBC reports.

Officials said the newly built Weizhou Grand Mosque in the Ningxia region had not been given proper building permits.

But worshippers refused to back down. One resident said they would not "let the government touch the mosque".

China has a Muslim minority of some 23 million, and Islam has been prominent in Ningxia for centuries.

But human rights groups say there is increasing official hostility towards Muslims in China, and foreign religious influences in particular.

The mosque, which has several soaring minarets and domes, is built in a Middle Eastern style.

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