China's Xinjiang province is mainly featured in news about violence and oppression against Muslims, but the life of the 21-year-old Dill Shard, a Uighur people, is a good life anywhere in the world.
"Look at me, do you look like a repressed person?" He spoke English while talking to this news agency outside the cinema. Dressed in a stylish shirt and jeans, Dilshad went to see a new movie with five other friends, including two girls. All were the same age. They look like happy groups
“Trust me! We (Muslims) are living a good life here,” he said repeatedly, in an annoying voice. Reluctant to talk about the problem.
Uighur muslim performing the Lord's Prayer at Urumqi Mosque. Author's photo
Western media often report discrimination against Muslims in this region of China, which is home to Turkic-speaking Uighurs, who account for 8 million of the 19 million.
Earlier this year, some media reports noted that the Muslims were unable to fulfill their religious obligations, such as mosques, Ramazan fasting, and even children's use of Islamic names.
But Dill Shard and his friends argued that the press was inaccurate. They pointed out several temples in the traditional Uighur area where you can see Urumqi downtown and Muslims and perform religious duties.
“Most of the mosques were built with government donations. If it is true that China wants to reduce our religious freedom, why would they fund our temples? ”Tahir, accompanied by Dill Shard, asked rhetorically.
Urumqi's food tastes similar to Pakistan and Central Asia.
However, the presence of a large number of guards and frequent barricades in this outlying city indicates that everything in the city is bad.
According to local and international media, hundreds of people have been killed in terrorist attacks, and clashes between police and separatists in the area have strengthened public security.
Armed guards appointed by the government surround visitors with busy places, markets, hotels and even temples.
Global social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google are banned in cities like other cities in China, but the internet is painfully slow in local capitals and there are no 4G services available on smartphones.
Xinjiang is considered a less developed province of China that thrives. But even these less developed provinces will be easily comparable to Pakistan's most developed provinces in terms of infrastructure and facilities.
But locals say the cost they are willing to pay for peace in the region is strong security. Dill Shard, who studies forensics, wants to join the police after graduation.
"I want to be a good police officer and prove that Muslims play an important role in the development of China," he said.
In the nearby restaurant, three Muslim waitresses were busy wearing a Muslim Head Scrub and serving customers with delicious lamb friend Bob and other local dishes.
“Assalam-o-Alikum” I greeted by entering a restaurant near the International Grand Bazaar Xinjiang. “Walikum Salam” They answered with pleasant surprises and immediately asked where I came from. When I found out I was from Pakistan, they paid their respects and began to receive orders. There are two temples near the Grand Bazaar.
About 12 local Muslims are praying behind the Imam. The mosque has all the facilities available at the Islamabad mosque.
[post_gallery] The capacity of the nearby Jamia Mosque is larger, but the main entrance is locked on Saturday. But Muslims can enter the temple through a small door equipped with a security machine.
Within the bazar, Uighur Muslims sell dried fruits, warm shawls and handmade souvenirs for visitors and tourists.
Muslims can be distinguished by beards and scarves, and some Han ethnic groups sell indigenous items.
The correspondent tried to talk to about 12 Muslims in the capital, but he never mentioned any restrictions on oppression or lifestyle. Some politely changed the topic. You can imagine that even if their life is difficult, they are not willing to talk about it.
Another delightful surprise in Pakistan is the fact that green passports are maximally respected by local police officials at almost every security checkpoint. All locals have to pass an eye test after taking ID at the checkpoint, but Pakistanis are asked to smile and show their passports and pass without additional checks.
“We call the Pa Ties in Chinese, which translates the Pakistanis into the Iron Brothers. "He said that in China over the past 70 years there is a joke that Beijing is the only friend to cultivate.
“We share the same joke about China,” he said. China's Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) says it can strengthen its ties.
Author's video and photo.