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Thousands of Muslims gathered to prevent authorities from demolishing mosque in China

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BEIJING — Thousands of members of China’s Hui Muslim minority have gathered at the site of a mosque in Weizhou, in northwestern China, in an attempt to block the government authorities from demolishing the building.

The Grand Mosque in Weizhou was completed just last year but authorities say it must be demolished as it lacks the proper building permits.

Videos have emerged online showing hundreds of China’s Hui Muslim minority protesting against a government decision to demolish a mosque, which officials say was built without proper planning approval.

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Protesters told some reporters that the government proposed altering the building to make it look more traditionally Chinese, instead of demolishing it, but that the Muslim community rejected that proposal.

They said the mosque was under construction for over two years — but no authority came down on it.

The drive to demolish the structure is being seen as Beijing’s move to clamp down on religious minorities in the country — be it Christians or Muslims.

The BBC reports that most Hui mosques in the past “had been built in a more Chinese style.”

Officials in Ningxia have been removing elements of Islamic and Arabic architecture from the region’s buildings since earlier this year, in line with a government directive to make foreign religions more ‘Chinese in orientation’.

Agencies

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7 killed after Delhi-Bound train derails in Bihar

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NEW DELHI — At least seven people have died and 14 others injured after a Delhi-bound train derailed early Sunday morning in Bihar’s Vaishali district.

Eleven coaches of 12487 Seemanchal Express derailed near Sahadai Buzurg at around 3:52 am. Three of the coaches overturned and the high force of the impact destroyed them completely.

The injured are being transported to local hospitals.

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The superfast train from Jogbani in Bihar to Delhi’s Anand Vihar Terminal was running at full speed when the accident took place, officials said.

Bodies are believed to be trapped inside one of the affected coaches and the number of dead is likely to rise, local police official said.

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