Persecution of Muslims in East Turkestan

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Special report on SADF webinar

THE persecution of Islam in East Turkestan reportedly by China is unparalleled. According to available reports, demolition of thousands of mosques and the prohibition of religious symbols go hand-in-hand with the establishment of concentration camps and human-rights violations qualify as genocide, said South Asian Democratic Forum members.

“Freedom of religion and Islamic practices was suppressed by China in East Turkestan. China had destroyed one-third of the region’s mosque of the East Turkestan region.  For how long could Muslim majority countries like Pakistan receive Chinese blood money as an investment,” asked Rushan Abbas, Executive Director, Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU). She called on all countries not to be an accomplice in China’s genocide.

The South Asian Democratic Forum (SADF) on October 8 organised a webinar on ‘Persecution of Islam in East Turkestan’ wherein the participants discussed the gross human rights violations carried out by China and its allies in East Turkestan. The webinar was moderated by Paula Casaca, Executive Director, SADF called out the hypocritical silence of states like Pakistan, which proclaimed itself as the champion of Islam and Muslims, on the Uyghur issue.

Senge Sering, President of the Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies, said “Chinese and Pakistanis attacked the families, particularly women and children of the dissenters in Gilgit Baltistan. China’s policy of economic exploitation and cultural genocide in Tibet and Xinxiang is now spreading, like coronavirus into the Pashtun areas, Gilgit Baltistan and Baluchistan in Pakistan. Wherever policies like China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are in place, China is accentuating border conflict and tensions and pursuing a policy of divide and rule. China is forcing Pakistan to deny autonomy to Gilgit Baltistan and enabling it to annex it in contravention of international laws.”

File pictures show activists holding banners demonstrating in USA against the persecution of Islam in East Turkestan

Sering said Pakistan denied even the basic rights to the people of Gilgit Baltistan and this was a replica of Chinese policies pursued in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Fazal-ur-Rehman Afridi, PTM Representative to European Union and United Nations, said that just like Sering, his family was also threatened in Pakistan for voicing the concerns of Pashtuns. The speaker said, “Pakistan is persecuting Pashtuns in a similar way as Uyghurs are being persecuted in Xinjiang. Pakistan, which calls itself a champion of Islam, is criminally silent on the plight of Muslims in East Turkestan. Pakistan was not a champion of Islam and only invoking Islam to further its narrow strategic agenda. In the name of CPEC, the Pashtun resources were being plundered by both Pakistan and China.”

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“Chinese and Pakistanis attacked the families, particularly

women and children of the dissenters in Gilgit Baltistan”;

claims Senge Sering, President of Institute for G&B Studies Centre

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“Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s calls to condemn Islamophobia are hypocritical considering its conspicuous silence on the sordid plight of Uyghurs in East Turkestan. The silence on the Uyghur issue shows that Pakistan had no genuine concern on the right of self-determination. Islamabad’s hypocritical stance on Uyghur issue signifies how Pakistani government is having close ties with religious hardliners such as Jammat-ul-Dawa, which too had maintained a silence on the persecution and genocide of Muslims in East Turkestan,” said Seigfried O Wolf, Director (Research), South Asia Democratic Forum.

File pictures show activists holding banners demonstrating in USA against the persecution of Islam in East Turkestan

Member of European Parliament (MEP) Gianna Ganciasent in her statement on the issue said that the EU promotes human rights through its participation in multilateral forums such as the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, the UN Human Rights Council, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. The Union also actively promotes international justice, for example through the International Criminal Court. The international community cannot remain a silent spectator.

Eventually, it was concluded that Pakistan looked very selectively at human rights issues for their own interests and this explained their silence on the issue of persecution of Uyghur in East Turkestan.

Rushan Abbas

An Uyghur-American activist, Rushan Abbas has hit out at the 45 countries who have signed a statement supporting the genocide of the Uyghurs, saying that the supporters of China are themselves under an authoritarian regime. “45 countries have signed a statement supporting the genocide of the Uyghurs. I cannot help but notice that most of these countries listed are authoritarian regimes themselves, or are in a position to be easily bought. These so-called friends of China have revealed the kind of barbaric regime they possess,” Abbas said in a video message.

Speaking on the African nations who have supported China, Abbas urged the leaders to re-think about the possible onset of “colonialism of the modern age” and slavery. “To the African nations, how do you think you will end up when the regime takes control through debt-trap diplomacy? Are you content to usher in colonialism of the modern age and bring back slavery? The very tactics China uses at present to invest and pursue global domination through the Belt and Road Initiative are the very ways that the CCP lied to the Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongolians, Hongkongers, and many more,” she said.

While slamming the Islamic nations for supporting China’s human rights violations on Muslims, she said, “To the Islamic countries that have chosen China’s blood money over your faith and the lives of Muslims: when your people become aware of what you have done, what do you think will happen to your reputation? China is waging a war on Islam. Remember our warnings — China is going to colonise each of your countries before it starts to, tries to colonise the West!”

Urging the countries to save themselves, Rushan Abbas warned, “The judgment of eternity will not be in favour of those who deliberately defend evil. Do not be counted with China’s shame and ultimate doom. It is time for the people of the world to rise against the CCP. Resist and save yourselves before it is too late.”

Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uyghurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 per cent of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination. About 7 per cent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, has been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts.

Classified documents known as the China Cables, accessed last year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, threw light on how the Chinese government uses technology to control Uyghur Muslims worldwide. However, China regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training.

People in the internment camps have described being subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and denial of food and medicine, and say they have been prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.

Now, as Beijing denies these accounts, it also refuses to allow independent inspections into the regions, at the same time, which further fuels reports related to China’s atrocities on the minority Muslims. (ANI)