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Islamic school in Xinjiang to double enrollment

An Islamic school in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region plans to double its enrollment this year to better serve followers of the religion.

The school, the only one of its kind in the country that teaches in the Uygur language, has taught 635 students during its 27-year-history, of whom 80 percent work in large mosques around the region. All students are male.

The school promotes peace, unity and harmony as well as the moderate centrism of Islam, said Ilijan Ayinat, Party secretary of the school. "The students who graduate from here have a high quality of religious knowledge, which enables them to lead believers in a correct direction."

Currently, the school has 200 students across five grades, with 40 in each. This year, it expects to enroll 80 new students.

By September 2016, the student number is expected to rise to 1,000 upon the completion of a new campus, on which construction will begin this month.

The present campus covers an area of 31,000 square meters, with classes, a dormitory and catering buildings, as well as a mosque.

The new campus will add a playground, gymnasium and library and the area will be tripled, Ilijan said.

Many students at the school have been recommended by mosques or imams in the area.

"Our students are badly needed in all parts of Xinjiang," Ilijan said. "High-quality religious staff are helpful to resist religious extremism."

Extremists have carried out terrorist attacks in the area in the name of religion and tried to persuade other believers to join them.

A national security blue paper said on May 6 that religious extremism was the major reason for 10 violent terrorist attacks last year.

Iljian said that after five years of studying politics, language, history and religion in the school, graduates can soon become pillars of their communities. "Excellent ones have the chance to study abroad, in a college in Egypt."