China Orders Closer of Mosques for Friday Prayers in Urumi

Following ethnic violence in China’s Xianjiang region, the government has ordered mosques in the city of Urumqi to stay closed for Friday prayers.

The order came several days after violence broke out between Uighur Muslims and Han Chinese on Sunday. In the unrest, as many as 156 people were reported to be killed.

Thousands of troops remain in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, to try to maintain law and order. Unofficial sources say people in Xinjiang have been told to “stay at home and pray”, rather than gathering in mosques.

On Thursday, China said that it had “a great deal of evidence” that the violence had Al-Qaida links.

The ethnic crisis in China even compelled country’s president Hu Jintao to cut short his visit to the G8 summit in Italy.

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