An Open Xinjiang with Multi-Ethnic Beliefs
China Today (English)|August 2021
SINCE ancient times, Xinjiang has been a region where ethnic groups live together, religious beliefs are diversified, and many cultures coexist. Primitive religion and Shamanism were initially prevalent in the region.
MAHITAB AHMED

Since the fourth century BC, with the successive introduction of Zoroastrianism and Buddhism, the coexistence of multiple religions was gradually formed. Later, Taoism, Nestorianism, and Islam were introduced, which led to the development of the coexistence pattern. Embracing one or two main religions and the coexistence of multiple other religions made up the historical characteristics of Xinjiang’s religious structure. The various local religions and cultures have coexisted for centuries, learned from each other, and evolved in the process of adapting to the development of Chinese society. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is now mainly home to the religions of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Taoism.

China has 10 Islamic ethnic minorities, namely Uygur, Kazak, Hui, Kirgiz, Tatar, Ozbek, Tajik, Dongxiang, Salar, and Baoan. All these 10 ethnic groups have a presence in Xinjiang. The first seven ethnic groups are the indigenous inhabitants of Xinjiang, and the last three have migrated from other areas after the War of Liberation (1946- 1949). There are various sects that make up the religion of Islam. The majority of ethnic groups such as Uygur, Kazak, Hui, Ozbek, and Tatar in Xinjiang belong to the Sunnite; a considerable number of ethnic people such as the Uygurs and the Ozbeks also belong to the Sufis; the Tajik and Kirgiz people basically belong to the Ismaili school of Shia. Xinjiang has the most Islamic mosques in China, which are distributed in various places, the Id Kah Mosque and Kuqa Mosque in Kashgar and the Shaanxi Grand Mosque in Urumqi are among the most famous ones.

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