A proposed burqa ban in the capital city of Xinjiang province could spark further unrest in the troubled region, experts warn.

The Urumqi People’s Congress Standing Committee voted yesterday in favour of banning people from wearing the garment in public, the local news website Tianshan.net reported.

The proposal must now be reviewed by the regional People’s Congress Standing Committee before it is implemented, though the report – later deleted from the site – did not specify when this would happen.

The burqa, a garment worn by Muslim woman to cover themselves from head-to-toe, is considered a symbol of religious extremism by the local authorities.

“Burqas are not a traditional Muslim garment in Xinjiang,” said Jiang Zhaoyong, a Beijing-based expert on ethnic affairs. “The ban has been issued following public security concerns. Some people are wearing it not because of their religion, but to act out their resentments against society.”

Beijing blames religious extremists for a series of attacks that have killed hundreds of people in Xinjiang over the past few years.

Xinjiang launched a “beautifying project” in 2011 to discourage women from covering their faces and wearing the burqa. Several campaigns against producing, selling or wearing the garments have been mounted by county and district-level governments in the province…. see more

source: scmp