Sunset over China’s Largest Salafiyya mosque

Reimagining the Silk Road

Sunset over China’s Largest Salafiyya mosque

Linxia, 2012

In the 1920s, Salafism entered China and established a headquarters in Linxia. Today, Front River Edge Mosque (Qianheyansi 前河沿寺) is the largest Salafiyya (萨莱菲亚) mosque in China. The Salafis practice a form of Islam that could be described as neoconservative and shun many of the practices of traditionalist and Sufi Muslims, including building tombs and using Sufi shaykhs as intercessors. Unlike Sufis, who imagine their ties to Muslim heartlands through collective remembrance of foreign missionaries, the Salafis imagine their practice to approximate that of Saudi Arabia.