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For China, Islam is a ‘mental illness’ that needs to be ‘cured’

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Abdulla* goes to bed every night dreading that knock on the door, a knock he has heard in recurrent nightmares and in stories from neighbours. He expects it can come at any moment.

He is an ethnic Uighur and has always called Xinjiang his home. His forefathers lived and toiled atop this land for centuries, which the nascent communist Chinese government annexed in 1949. He is a father of two, a son and a daughter, and a devout Muslim – cautiously performing his five prayers every day behind the veil of secrecy his home temporarily offers him.

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