Chinese authorities have increased their censorship of Islam by banning Muslim parents in the Xinjiang region from naming their children “Muhammad,” “Arafat” and “Jihad”.
Government officials described the ban that was introduced this month, as part of an effort to “curb religious fervour” in the region of Xinjiang, which is home to more than 10 million Uighur Muslims.
The Chinese government regards Xinjiang as a nucleus for “Islamist extremism” and separatist movements.
But many Uighurs have argued that the government’s Islamophobic restrictions on worship and speech are the main reasons for tensions in the region.
The list of prohibited Muslim names entitled, “List of Banned Ethnic Minority Names” was provided to The New York Times by Uighur activists.
The ban includes names such as “Muhammad”, “Madina” and “Mujahid”.
Government officials in the Xinjiang have confirmed the ban.
Some officials told the The New York Times that if Muslim residents failed to comply, they risked losing vital benefits for their children, including healthcare and education.
Earlier this month, Chinese security officials imposed bans on long beards and niqab in public places.
Government officials have been holding regular rallies of police and paramilitary forces as an intimidating show of force in Muslim majority towns and cities in Xinjiang.