The Ugyhur Muslim community in Xinjiang, China has been receiving more coverage and awareness, which is much needed for they have suffered much against physical, mental and spiritual torture.
Here is Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s thoughts on the matter as he has been on a tour to China.
“Having just returned from my first visit to China, it is imperative that I also report on the situation of the Uyghurs (who live predominately in what should be called ‘East Turkistan’, but has been forcibly named the ‘Xinjiang’ province by the government).
China has an official policy of dividing its citizens into one of 56 ethnicities. The largest is the Han ethnicity, around 90 % of the population. It is this majority that controls the government and media.
One of the ethnicities that is officially recognized is that of the Uyghurs, a people from a Turkic background, and who speak a different language and have different physical features than the majority Han.
Their land was invaded by the Chinese in 1949 and forcefully occupied.
Ever since then, the government has been adopting excessively repressive tactics to ‘subdue’ the Uyghurs, who have been fighting for their political rights, and even their freedom, for the last seven decades.
The situation has grown excessively worse in the last few years, and currently Amnesty International and the UN are calling the Chinese tactics one of the greatest humans rights abuses since World War II.
The entire Uyghur population is being targeted, and in particular, their religion (Islam) is being used as a mechanism to forcefully humiliate and subdue them.
China has opened what they have called ‘educational centers’, which are essentially ethnic torture/cleansing concentration camps, where hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs are separated from their families, jailed, tortured, forced to eat pork, not allowed to pray or read Quran, and ‘brainwashed’ to give up their faith and culture and adopt Han culture instead.
I personally have heard too many horror stories from the Uyghurs I met – a son hasn’t heard from his parents for years, another has had his entire family taken away and he has not idea where they are or even whether they are alive, a third has had family relatives executed – and more and more horrifying details emerge daily.
Even those Uyghurs who are not jailed are being persecuted: lack of education and jobs; preventing of religious practices like wearing hijab and fasting; forced marriages of our Uyghur sisters to Han men; having government agents visit and even live with them for months to make sure they are not practicing their culture and faith…and the list goes on and on.
During my trip, I was not able to visit the Uyghur people in their province, but did meet some of them in the cities I visited.
Also, while the non-Uyghur Muslims of China (like the Hui peoples) are not persecuted anywhere near the persecution of the Uyghurs, they too are monitored and are not allowed to give public lectures or teach the religion except in very controlled environment.
(I will post about the non-Uyghur Muslim situation in more detail later – FYI all the mosques I posted during the last week are frequented by the Hui Muslims).
It is imperative that we Muslims around the world remember the plight of the Uyhgurs, and draw as much attention to it as possible.
China is claiming that they are a bastion of religious freedom, whereas the opposite is true.
Please retweet (share) this message to your own lists so that it spreads, and also leave links below to websites and organizations that are involved in fighting for Uyghur rights.
May Allah help our brothers and sisters and alleviate their pain and suffering! Ameen.”