Suzhou and the history of Islam in China

This vibrant, wealthy city of 12 million people is also a repository of traces of the past, of a time when the religion flourished during the reign of various emperors

Chinese Muslims at a mosque in Shanghai. There is only one active mosque in Suzhou, Taipingfang. PHOTO: AFP

The labyrinth of alleys and lanes in the old city of Suzhou hides a secret: historical fragments of the long history of Islam in China.

Regular stories in the international press highlighting the treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region tend to obscure the fact that Islam was once highly regarded by Chinese emperors.

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