Facts or Claims?

By/ Asmaa Muhammad Yusuf

  • | Sunday, 22 January, 2023
Facts or Claims?

     According to recent ethnicity-based statistics, the Uyghurs make up the majority of the roughly 26 million Muslims living in China, closely followed by Hui with more than 10 million people."[1] History testifies to the fact that the Chinese Muslims form an integral part of the Chinese civilization and public culture, leaving their hallmark in all walks of life. A case in point is traveler Zheng who was one of the most influential figures in the Chinese civilization. He was a Chinese ambassador to different countries around the world, establishing political and economic ties for China with other peers. His name is used as a symbol of integration among communities. Further, Chinese preacher Ma Lai Chi dedicated his life to spreading the core Islamic teachings. Chinese leader Mao Zedong said about him that his behavior and thoughts provided a shred of evidence that “we reflect a model of the united fabric of the community”. 

Notwithstanding the above, there are many allegations suggesting that Xinjiang authorities’ announcement of a “Strick Hard” on terrorist activities in 2014 is a justification to validate the ongoing widespread and arbitrary violent crackdown on Muslim people there. In this regard, various reports attempted to characterize the Muslim minority’s life in China's Xinjiang in 2022. For instance, the U.N. human rights office released a report in August 2022 revealing serious human rights violations in Xinjiang. It accused China of arbitrarily detaining and torturing Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities. 

Regarding the International Community's attitude, many Western countries, including the United States, have described China’s treatment of the Uyghurs as genocide. For instance, out of Japan’s sense of responsibility, it propagates an English version of the manga booklet by Tomomi Shimizu, a famous Japanese writer, portraying the experiences of an ethnic Uzbek woman forced to teach Mandarin to mostly Uyghur detainees in re-education camps in northwest China's Xinjiang region. For educational purposes, “About 500 primary and secondary schools in Japan have added manga comics about the Uyghurs’ plight based on the testimony of Mihrigul Tursun, a 33-year-old Uyghur former detainee from Xinjiang. Manga comics are a media tool that play a significant role in Japanese society because readers of all ages, from children to elderly men and women, love to read them”[2], said Ahmatjan Litip, secretary-general of the Japanese Uyghur Association.

Various parties urge Muslim countries to take up the findings of the Bachelet Report on Atrocities Against Uyghurs, including Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Uyghur Human Rights Project, and International Service for Human Rights. On the Contrary, 19 member countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including Pakistan, voted against investigating the allegations of human rights abuses against minorities, including Muslims and Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Their voting is so deplorable that many Uyghur Australians described it as another "stab in the back". 

The aforementioned review of the Uyghur crisis is a first step towards investigating a number of contentious claims. If the answer to the question of whether or not the Muslim Uyghurs already been suffering various sorts of discrimination is yes, then the next query should be “WHY?” The spread of Islam in China represents a model for coexistence and integrity, as it went through without wars, invasions or violence. It has spread throughout China for approximately 1300 years. Throughout these centuries, Muslims have developed their independent nature, and, at the same time, integrated within the Chinese communities. All they need is a little bit of freedom so that they can serve their country. The race of life must involve people from all strata of society. Should a minority group have the burden of paving the road for those who will come after them to live in a more peaceful society, then the duty of the majority lies in providing equal opportunities for all people, regardless of their race, color, gender or religion.

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