38 held for studying Koran

Beijing, August 15:

Authorities in China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang region have detained a Uighur woman and 37 of her students, some as young as seven, for studying the Koran, a rights group said today.

Aminan Momixi, 56, was teaching the Koran to the students aged between seven and 20 at her home on August 1 when police burst in and arrested her, the German-based World Uighur Congress said. Her students, most of whom were primary and secondary school pupils, were also arrested and some remain in detention, it said. Some were released after paying fines up to $ 1200. Police confiscated 23 copies of the Koran, 56 textbooks on the Koran, a hand-written manuscript and other religious materials. Momixi has been denied access to a lawyer.