The author of a remarked PhD dissertation on the Naqshbandi Khwajas of Eastern Turkistan ― reviewed by Hamada M. in Central Eurasian Reader 1 (2008): No. 341 pp. 283-6 ―, historian A. Papas proposes a short analysis of the continuity and change in the cult of Islamic holy graves in Xinjiang, with particular interest in the period of the People’s Republic of China. Noticing the classicism of debates on the veneration of saints within Islam, and how long the political instrumentation of holy graves has been in existence in Eastern Turkistan, the author sheds light on the oscillations of Chinese policy towards mazars since 1949. In parallel he also stresses the continuity of sainthood and of its cult through modern times: Concrete example show how the present-day takeover of patronage by the Chinese state does not prevent the expression of religious consistency. Though this was not the main object of the present study, comparison would have been interesting with the discourse and practice in this field of the republics of Eastern Turkistan (1932-4 and 1944-9), a period when regional power was detained by Muslim reformists globally hostile to the cult of holy graves.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research
CER: II-4.3.E-425