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Faith & Belief
Mosques (Masjid) in Urumqi

Mosques (Masjid) in Urumqi

In the late ninth century and the early 10th century, Islam spread to the south of Xinjiang through Central Asia. In the middle of the 10th century, the Islamic Karahan Kingdom waged a religious war against the Buddhist kingdom of Yutian, which lasted for more than 40 years. It conquered Yutian in the early 11th century, and introduced Islam to Hotan. In the middle of the 14th century, under the coercion of the Qagatay Khanate (a vassal state created by Qagatay, the second son of Genghis Khan, in the Western Regions), Islam gradually became the main religion for the Mongolian, Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz and Tajik peoples in that region. In the early 16th century, Islam finally became the main religion in Xinjiang, replacing Buddhism. Most people of Xinjiang"s 10 major ethnic minority groups, with a total population of over 11.3 million, believe in Islam now. The number of Islamic mosques has soared from 2,000 in the early days of the reform and opening-up drive to 24,300 now, and the body of clergy from 3,000 to over 28,000, Xinjiang Islamic Institute gives lessons in Uyghur and other minority languages and has trained 489 Imams, Hatips or other teachers for religious schools in the autonomous region. It currently has 161 students. From 2001 to 2008, the Xinjiang Islamic School trained more than 20,000 clerics. In addition, 3,133 Talips were trained by religious personages, in Islamic schools and classes operated by Islamic associations in the various prefectures and prefecture-level cities. Among them, 1,518 have graduated and 803 taken up clerical posts. Since 2001, the regional government has sent 47 clerics for training in colleges and universities in Egypt and Pakistan, according to the paper. Hegetengli Mosque is the largest mosque in Urumqi and it is located on Jiefang South Road. It combines traditional Islamic architecture with modern architecture art. Shaanxi Great Mosque, located on Heping South Road of Urumqi, is the largest mosque in Urumqi for Hui Muslims and the prayer room can hold up to one thousand people to pray. Shaanxi Mosque was built during Qing Emperor Qianlong芒鈧劉s period and its architecture follows traditional Chinese wood and bricks structure with glazed roof tiles. Tartar Mosque, located on Jiefang South Road of Urumqi, was built by the local Tartar people in 1897 entirely from donations. Covering over 3,000 square meters (0.74 acre), the community worship hall alone is over 800 square meters (0.2 acre) and accommodates people by the thousands.

 
   
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