Police patrol as Muslims leave the Id Kah Mosque after the morning prayer on Eid al-Fitr in the old town of Kashgar in Xinjiang. AFP / Johannes EISELE
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China's Uighur Muslims struggle under 'police state'Worshippers quietly passed through metal detectors as they entered the central mosque in China's far western city of Kashgar under the stern gaze of stone-faced police officers. The increasingly strict curbs imposed on the mostly Muslim Uighur population have stifled life in the tense Xinjiang region, where beards are partially banned and no one is allowed to pray in public.For years, the square outside the mosque in Kashgar was packed with teeming crowds as worshippers jostled for space to unroll their prayer rugs and celebrate the end of Ramadan. Public signs say no one is permitted to pray in public or grow a beard before the age of 50, while government employees are forbidden from fasting during Ramadan.At a mosque in the heart of Hotan, Muslims gathering for Friday prayers passed through a police barricade and showed identity documents at two checkpoints before entering.
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