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For China's Uighurs, knifings taint an ancient craft
For China's Uighurs, knifings taint an ancient craft

Here on the fertile edge of the Taklimakan Desert, people have long believed that placing a knife on their bedside keeps away bad dreams. On a baby's seventh day of life, it's tradition for parents to briefly slip a blade under the sleeping infant's head to guarantee a long and healthy life. By dusty roadsides, farmers with long white beards unsheathe their blades to slice open juicy green melons, selling sweet wedges for 15 cents. In open-air markets, butchers slaughter sheep, cattle and even camels in accordance with Muslim practice, skinning the hides and then swinging cleavers to parcel the carcasses into cuts of meat. For the ethnic Uighurs who dominate this rural...

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