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The Architecture of Religious Freedom in China: Notes on the Nationwide Campaign to Sinicize Chinese Mosques

Monday, February 12, 2024 at 4:30pm

Uris Hall, G08
Central Campus

Talk by Ruslan Yusupov (Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell Society for the Humanities)

Hundreds of mosques in China have since 2018 witnessed their domes and minarets amputated. The effort is part of a larger nationwide campaign to “Sinicize” Chinese Islam. This talk contextualizes the campaign within the politics of religious freedom in the totalizing state. This is because the so-called “Arabic” features of these mosques were previously approved by the very authorities that now go after them. In many cases discussed, the implementation of the campaign by the local authorities results paradoxically in architectural alterations that serve the needs of the Muslim communities. The story of how these communities adapt to the repressive policies of the state and turn them into benefits, therefore, reveals the precarious status of Islam in China. 


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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Comparative Muslim Societies Program



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