Hundreds of Chinese Muslims defy mosque demolition order

Chinese authorities have been met with resistance by hundreds of Muslims in the north-central autonomous region of Ningxia, who have gathered to prevent the demolition of their new mosque.

Two years in construction, the Weizhou Grand Mosque (pictured) had not received proper building permits, and would be "forcibly demolished", officials said without warning.

Now, worshippers have gathered in front of the building.

One resident said they "won’t let the government touch the mosque", the BBC reports.

Ningxia is home to the Hui people, one of China’s largest ethnic Muslim groups. There are some 23 million Muslims in China, and Islam has been prominent in Ningxia for centuries.

Reflecting the origins of Islam on the Arabian peninsula, the large mosque has several minarets and domes.

The trouble started when officials posted a notice on 3 August that the mosque would be "forcibly demolished" because it had received the necessary permits.

Word of the order spread online among the Hui community, reports Reuters.

People asked why authorities did not stop construction of the mosque if there were permitting concerns, according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, reports the BBC.

Protests were held outside the mosque yesterday and continued today (10 August), say reports.

"We’re just in a stand-off," a resident told the Post. "The public won’t let the government touch the mosque, but the government is not backing down."

There has been no comment so far in Chinese state media on the case.

Image: Chinese social media platform Weibo carried this image of protesters gathered outside the mosque in Ningxia, China

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