Muslim communist theme park set for China to bolster ties with Middle East

Imagine Disneyland with a focus on Islam and communism. That’s the plan for World Muslim City, a new billion-dollar theme park being built by the Chinese government in an effort to make the world a little smaller.

Despite China’s controversial treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority, who were banned from fasting during Ramadan last year, Chinese authorities are attempting to capitalize on the global Muslim market with the latest project.

Women will have the option to wear traditional clothing and visitors are required to remove their shoes inside the “Golden Palace.”

Breaking ground last year in the small northern city of Yinchuan, construction of the “World Muslim City” will take eight years to complete at a cost of almost US$4 billion, according to the China Daily.

Ningxia is also home to Mandarin-speaking Hui Muslims who have ethnic origins in the Han majority of the country and are therefore regarded as more integrated into society over Uighurs.

No expense will be spared to build a new terminal in Yinchuan Hedong International Airport in preparation for direct flights from Amman and Kuala Lumpur.

The park has garnered little interest from the Arab world and that could be because of China’s oppression of Muslims, an image the communist country is attempting to change.

“So far, Arab visitors have responded to the region’s largest and most expensive tourist draw with only tepid enthusiasm,” wrote Foreign Policy journalist Kyle Haddad-Fonda.

Human Rights Watch has accused the Chinese government of a “crushing campaign of religious repression” against Muslim Uighurs in the name of anti-separatism and counter-terrorism.

READ MORE: Modern, weird or just ugly? China’s most bizarre buildings: Top 10

Attendees of all faiths may also be underwhelmed by the lackluster features of the park, which won’t have any roller coasters.

Top attractions so far include a rendition of One Thousand and One Nights, a museum, and Arabic street signs.