New Age Islam Edit Bureau
10 April 2019
About one million ethnic Uyghur Muslims have been confined in the biggest open prison called Xinjiang where Turk Muslims are being tortured to abandon their religious beliefs and learn Marxist ideology. In these camps many Muslim men and women are tortured if they do not comply with the orders. Some women are seen wiping off their tears rolling down their cheeks while they learn the lesson tutored by the Chinese official. There are cameras all over and any one seen uncomfortable with the lessons are tortured. Proof of the atrocities is the death of Uyghur poet Abdur Raheem Hiet who died of torture in the camp. China defends its act by saying that it is only re-educating the Uyghur community to remove radical and extremist ideas from their mind.
The oppression on the Uyghur Muslims of the autonomous region of Xinjiang is not new. For decades, the Chinese government has had carried out oppressive measures against them incarcerating and torturing them in the name of weeding out terrorism. The international community’s condemnation has not done any good. A statement by World Uyghur Congress says that China “denies detainees a fair trial/due process & punishes families of victims of the death penalty who speak out.” Another statement of the WUC says, “There has also been many cases of deaths of Uyghurs in the internment camps under mysterious circumstances. At least 40 innocent Uyghurs have died in the camps (but the real number is certainly higher), inc the mother of WUC President.”
According to the statement, even the mother of the President of WUC has not been spared. She died under mysterious circumstances.
But the most unfortunate part of the tragic developments over the issue of the Uyghurs is that except Turkey, no Muslim country has raised its voice condemning Chinas arbitrary detention and torture of Uyghur Muslims and demanded the closure of these “re-education camps”. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he did not have a fair idea of the Uyghur issue while Saudi Arabia the self proclaimed spokesman of Muslim world has shamelessly said that China was right in taking steps to curb terrorism in Uyghur dominated area. Speaking to Turkey’s state television, Imran Khan said that he did not know much about the condition of the Uyghurs in China. Apparently he did not want to get involved in the issue because China has become a major ally of Pakistan vis a vis the US and so Mr Khan does not want to antagonize China. The hypocrisy of Pakistan was also evident during the OIC summit in Abu Dhabi this week where Pakistan insisted on inclusion of Kashmir issue in the final joint communiqué which the host country did not agree to do. But Pakistan did not insist on the inclusion of the persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang in the resolutions of the OIC. Pakistani representatives were not concerned with their condition there. Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman went a step ahead and defended China by saying that the country had the right to take steps to curb terrorism and extremism in its territory. He was in China signing multimillion trade deals with communist state. On the other hand, Britain, Australia and the US have condemned China’s violation of human rights against the Uyghurs and they are looking to the OIC for their action on the issue. The OIC has only issue formal statements expressing their concerns.
Only Turkey has reacted strongly against Chinese persecution of Uyghur Muslims and demanded closure of the “concentration camps” for Uyghur Muslims. The differences between the countries have escalated and China has closed its consulate in Izmir as a result of the differences. Turkey has appealed the UN and other countries to intervene in the situation to stop China from persecuting the whole Uyghur community in the name of rooting out extremism. In December the UN has requested access to the re-education camps to know about the real nature of the camps but China did not comply with it saying it was not doing anything that violated human rights of the minority communities. However, 270 from 26 countries had condemned China’s attempt to destroy indigenous cultures of the country.
No other Muslim country other than Turkey has spoken against the persecution though they are vociferous about the issue of Palestine and Kashmir and supporting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The reason is that China has emerged as a major economic power in many important Muslim countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Middle East including Saudi Arabia. Indonesia has formally conveyed its concerns over the issue under pressure of Islamic groups in the country. This is a very disappointing situation as the Saudi Arabia has formed a military alliance of 41 Muslim countries, only to fight the Huthi militia in Yemen and to prevent Iran from spreading its influence in the Middle East. But when the issue of persecution of the entire Uyghur community is raised, the alliance has avoided taking a clear position.
It’s time the UN and the Muslim countries along with their Western allies raised the issue on international platforms and force China to close the so-called “re-education camps” where the Turk-ethnic Uyghur Muslims are being forced to renounce their religious rights and tortured and even killed by China.