Beijing: A Chinese province with a minority Muslim population has demanded strict adherence to a ban on religion in schools after a video was circulated online in which a kindergartener recites verses from the Holy Quran.
The government in the north-western province of Gansu reiterated the officially atheistic communist government’s rules forbidding the presence of religion in public schools at all levels, saying it was protecting children.
The video has drawn a gasp from the public as many people are infuriated, reports Dawn.
The Education Department of Gansu province strongly condemns the act that harms the mental health of the youth and demands education agencies of all levels to stop it resolutely and strictly ban religion from campuses,reports Dawn.
In the video, the unidentified girl is seen wearing a black headscarf and sitting in a classroom with dozens of other students apparently all in “Muslim attire”.
There is no indication when and where the video was taken, but the provincial government in a statement said that it was taken in the predominantly Muslim prefecture of Linxia.
The government did not identify the kindergarten or if anyone from the school was punished.
China also enforces tight restrictions on religious participation by the young people outside school, particularly in its culturally distinct western regions where Islam and Tibetan Buddhism are widely practiced.
The government is especially wary of what it sees as the use of religion to promote a non-Chinese cultural identity or independence for Tibet and the north-western region of Xinjiang.