How Russia and China Deal With Islam

When a Chinese Muslim reportedly burned a Chinese flag, the authorities ordered that Chinese flags be hung at mosques.

While China and Russia do their share of pandering to Islam, they also tend to be inflexible in mandating the supremacy of the state over Islam.

An example of this occurred recently when a Chinese Muslim reportedly burned a Chinese flag. The Chinese authorities responded quickly and decisively.

The administration has lately issued a circulation decreeing that Chinese flags be hung at mosques and that the flags be protected by the mosque imams tied to the Communist Party. As mandated in the circulars, flagpoles were erected at all mosques and flags were hung.

According to the statements of eyewitnesses, at the beginning of March, unidentified persons in the Colpan Yiza village of the Yenihisar town burnt a Chinese flag that was hung at the neighborhood mosque. After being informed of the news, the Chinese occupation forces blockaded entry into and exit from the village and questioned everyone who resided there. It is reported that the perpetrator was not found but close to 50 people were taken into custody and arrested, starting with the imam of the mosque.

The Chinese administration passed a decision in recent days prohibiting youths under 18 years old, women, and Muslim Uyghurs who are Communist Party members and civil servants from going to mosques.

The message is quite clear. Muslims in China must make their allegiance to the state clear. And China is cracking down on any mixture of mosque and state by keeping government officials and party members out of mosques.

Putin has said that Islam is an inseparable part of Russia tipping a nod to his Eurasian ambitions, but he has come out in opposition to Hijabs in schools suggesting that Russia should follow France's lead and resist Islamization of public spaces.

But that's largely PR. Like China, Russia keeps a tight grip on its Muslim leaders, as it does on the leaders of all religions, who ultimately answer to the authorities. Official Muslim leaders in Russia can call for terrorism in the West, but never inside Russia. And what they can and can't say is closely monitored and controlled by the authorities.

And while Putin has made all the appropriate statements about Islam's contribution to Russia, Russia is still Russia, and Putin is still a KGB thug. The latter part sometimes slips out as it did during this exchange with a French reporter that has to be seen to be believed.

On the other hand here is Putin stating that Russia is multicultural and suggesting that the Russian Orthodox Church is much closer to Islam than to Catholicism. (No translation.)

Which Putin is the real one? It's probably the first one, but Russia's policy is a blend of both. It's an iron fist under a velvet glove. Outwardly Russia is multicultural. Inwardly it's a totalitarian system where the only permitted clergy worship the state.

Russia's multiculturalism is really closer to the authentic kind of leftist multiculturalism which does not consist of alliances with Islamists, but control over them.