FILE - In this July 18, 2015, file photo, Chinese Hui Muslims pray during Eid al-Fitr prayers at Niujie Mosque in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
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Thousands of Muslims gathered at a mosque in northwestern China Friday to protest its planned demolition in a rare, public pushback to the government's efforts to rewrite how religions are practiced in the country.The residents of Weizhou were alarmed by news that the government was planning to demolish the mosque despite initially appearing to approve its construction, which was completed just last year.Authorities planned to take down eight out of the nine domes topping the mosque on the grounds the structure was built larger than permitted, Ma said.Ma Sengming said protesters remained at the mosque through the night from Thursday to Friday and were twice visited by a local official who encouraged them to go home.
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