Official repression is just one source of the tension between China and its Muslim minority. Another can be found in the Uighurs’ native Xinjiang province, which they share, in varying states of unease, with an almost equal number of Han Chinese. China’s dominant ethnic group, the Han have a different language and religion than the Uighurs and view their Muslim neighbors with suspicion.
“The Uighurs are lazy,” one Han businessman was quoted as saying in the International Herald Tribune. “It’s because of their religion. They spend so much time praying. What are they praying for?”