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ICFRC: State Regulation of Religion: Understanding Islam in the People's Republic of China

Listen to an audio podcast of this program.

Morten Schlütter is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. His research area is Chinese religions, mostly focused on Buddhism. He is the author of How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China (University of Hawai'i Press, 2008), the co-editor of Readings of the Platform Sutra (Columbia University Press, 2012), and the author of many articles on Chinese Buddhism and Chan/Zen.

Cuma Özkan is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, writing his dissertation tentatively titled as, "Contesting Sinicization and Defending Islam in Late Imperial China." He is currently teaching at Millsaps College as a Faculty Teaching Fellow in Religious Studies. Özkan earned his bachelor's in Islamic theology at the Theology Faculty of Ankara University in 2007. He later received MA degrees in Religious Studies in 2013 and in Asian Civilizations with an emphasis on China in 2018 at the University of Iowa. During his graduate work, he has conducted archival research at different institutes in China and field work among different Muslim communities in northwestern and eastern China.

Together, Schlütter and Özkan will explore how Islam's presence in China is as long as the history of Islam. Through commerce and diplomatic missions, Muslims travelled to and settled in China starting in the 7th century. Since then, rules and policies under different dynasties towards foreigners and ethnic minorities have shaped the lives of Muslims in China. This is also the case today where the lives of Muslims under the People's Republic of China are significantly being affected by government regulations. This presentation, after giving some background about the history Islam in China, discusses the situation of Islam in the People's Republic of China with reference to legal documents on the regulation of religion, government reports, and news stories.

For more information on the Foreign Relations Council visit their website at www.icfrc.org.

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