Rare exceptions

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The haj has ended and the last pilgrims are returning from Mecca. For China’s hajis from the Hui minority group, the homecoming is sweet. For unlike other religious groups in the country—Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province,

Buddhists in Tibet, Christians in Zhejiang—the Hui are thriving. They are building new mosques. They are doing well economically. The government does not disrupt their religious observance.

This is partly because they subscribe to several varieties of Islam (including Wahhabis, Sufis and others besides) and do not present a monolithic front to the government. And it is partly that, unlike Uighurs or Tibetans, some Hui regard themselves as Han Chinese. They speak Mandarin, are scattered throughout China and play an increasingly important economic role as middlemen between Chinese firms and Muslim countries in the Gulf and Central Asia.

To a suspicious government, the Hui demonstrate that one can be both Chinese and Muslim.

Source: The Economist

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