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All mosques open to prayers in riot-hit Urumqi
Updated: 2009-07-17 16:06

URUMQI: All the 433 mosques in Xinjiang' regional capital Urumqi, some of which were closed last week after the July 5 riot, were opened to prayers Friday, the main day of worship for Muslims.

Most mosques near the site of the riot which killed at least 192 were shut for security reasons last Friday at their imams' requests. As the social order gradually returned to normal, all the mosques reopened Friday, or Jumu'ah Day, said an official in charge of religious affairs with the Xinjiang regional government.

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A citizen surnamed Ai said he saw police strengthen security around Yanghang Mosque on Yan'an Road Friday.

"More security staff are sent here. Members of the congregation must open their bags for check before entering the mosque," he said.

Although the mosques were open, imams still advised people to perform prayers at home.

"According to the doctrines of the Koran, Muslims can perform rituals at home Friday but not necessarily at mosques if there are social unrest or war, or their families are sick," said Abdushukur, imam of Baida Mosque.

Muslims pray five times every day, mostly at home. On Friday, they usually gather at mosques to perform weekly congregational prayers.