Paramilitary police in Urumqi, Xinjiang province, China | Photo: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg News
Paramilitary police in Urumqi, Xinjiang province, China | Photo: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg News
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Twenty-two countries this week at the UN condemned China’s violation of human rights of the ethnic Kazakh and Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Shockingly and rather shamelessly, not one of these countries who wanted China “to refrain from the arbitrary detention and restrictions of movement of Uighurs and other Muslim and minority communities” was an Islamic or Muslim-majority nation.

It’s lonely to be a Muslim in the world today.

If there was a first prize for collateral damage caused by terrorism, it would hands down go to Muslims. The rampant and audacious human rights violations of Muslims world over is somehow justified by each and every country in the name of terrorism.

Muslims are supposed to be constantly apologetic and ‘course-corrected’. For example, an Uyghur Muslim in China is taught Mandarin, told to abandon Islam, made to think that the Communist Party is the only reason the world still hangs on its axis. And why? Just for having the ‘audacity’ to be a Muslim in a country run by an atheist party.


Also read: China separates kids from parents in Xinjiang ‘gulags’ as Uyghur Muslim suppression mounts


What’s happening in Xinjiang

What many people don’t know is that the Xinjiang province — that shares its borders with India, Afghanistan and Mongolia — is an autonomous region, much like Tibet. In fact, independent Xinjiang was incorporated into China by the Communist Party in 1949.

What also is not a mere coincidence is reports of excesses against the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang increasing from 2016 when Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo was given the leadership of the region and transferred from Tibet. The clampdowns intensified and stricter security measures were put in place.

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Initially, China had completely denied any form of detention of Muslims in Xinjiang. But it later retracted and gave a watered-down explanation for what should realistically be called concentration camps, but are instead being called “vocational, education and employment training centres” by the Chinese government.

It is estimated that over a million Uyghur Muslims have been interned in these camps, which is “modern China’s version of erstwhile Soviet-era Gulags”. The Chinese justify it as a crackdown on terrorism and extremism.


Also read: China has built Gulags for Uyghur Muslims, but Pakistan PM Imran Khan ‘doesn’t know much’


Muslims – the perpetual step-child

Muslim nations mainly comprise powerful Gulf nations, namely Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. All of them, along with many other nations like Malaysia and Indonesia, are sitting silent on the human rights violations of the Chinese Muslims.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan actually went to the extent of defending China’s move.

Why? Obviously, money.

China has become an economic power to reckon with. After the US decided to cut its aid to Pakistan, China came to its rescue. What China gets in return is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC is a heavy investment project valued at an estimated $60 billion.

The CPEC comes under another mammoth project estimated to be over $1 trillion known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This project will connect China and the whole of Asia with Africa and Europe. Seventy-one nations have reportedly signed up for this, wherein roads, ports and shipping lanes belonging to these nations will work as a single network. In short, world dominance.

This is why China kept vetoing listing Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UNSC – it needed to maintain strategic relations with Pakistan. This is also why Imran Khan, whose heart bleeds for the Rohingya Muslims and the Kashmiris, hasn’t even squeaked for the Uyghur Muslims of China.

Beggars can’t be protesters. I get it.

But the Gulf nations are rich. Yet, they went a step ahead and commended China’s treatment of its Muslim at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit held this year in March. What’s a bigger slap than that on the face of Uyghur Muslims? The OIC, comprising 57 member states, laughably aims to be “the collective voice of the Muslim world”.

What they said about Uyghur detentions really wasn’t “the collective voice of the Muslim world”.

What it actually is, is the collective voice of nations who stand as much guilty when it comes to the human rights violations in their own countries. Also, the fact that China is the world’s biggest crude oil importer puts things in perspective.


Also read: Why Pakistan champions Islamic causes globally but ignores Uighur persecution by BFF China


Egg or the chicken?

Chinese media, on the other hand, has a take of its own. The Chinese media claims that the only reason the government intervenes in Xinjiang is to maintain the ‘unity’ of China since ‘Uighur separatists’ are trying to separate Xinjiang from China.

China claims that it is the extremist views of these separatists that they are trying to curb through the “vocational education” in detention centres. In fact, this was confirmed by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said: “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremisation work for its national security”.

The contrarian view is that because of the excesses on the Uyghurs, separatist sentiment is brewing in the region. Commentators argue that because Xinjiang is a natural resource-rich province, the government seeks to have complete control over it as opposed to the ‘autonomous’ status it currently holds.

The fact remains that the voice of the ‘wronged’ is not coming from where it should have – Muslim nations. These countries could have cornered and isolated China into agreeing on their terms and conditions over the treatment of Uyghur Muslims. China is equally dependent on these economic projects. Many countries are opposing the Belt and Road Initiative. So, China has no other option but to depend on the nations that are silent.

The trouble with the silence is that it will only promote further human rights violations in autocratic nations as well as in countries that are witnessing the rise of Right-wing nationalism. If China can do it, with the kind of documentation and evidence that speaks volumes about its treatment of Uyghur Muslims, anyone else can.

That is how anti-Semitism could manifest as the Holocaust — the world chose to sit as silent spectators. It is doing so again.

The author is a political observer and writer. Views are personal.

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16 Comments Share Your Views

16 COMMENTS

  1. Hatred mindset people are here in india too and they have their personal reasons to hate things or people. But the point for them is, there should or must a larger space in their heart always reserved for HATRED, I found few of them are commenting on this article. They are no better then whom they are hating. Just two sides of a coin.

  2. An inconvenient truth of the Muslim world.
    An inconvenient fact of the political world &
    An inconvenient silence of the human world.

    An uncompromising article hitting the nail on the head of the hypocrisy, practiced sincerely, by the
    self – proclaimed Muslim torch bearers.

    One of the millions of reasons why turmoil continues to grip the status of Muslims the world over. When something good happens, the credit goes to the leaders, when bad – the religion.
    These double standards have lead to the confusion & chaos within & outside the Islamic populace.
    Lonely to be a Muslim!

    A must read!

  3. Muslim governments are hypocrites, they failed their responsibility and legitimacy, Those governments lost their dignity and once again proved their value system. The human values are looked at very differently in Muslim and totalitarian regimes such as those so called Muslim countries , Russia and communist block, it takes another century for those nations to reach western countries who see human values more than a surging in material, thought turkey is different, but Erdogan is showing himself to be nothing more than North Korea or Chinese type of regime. Muslim world lost their credibility completely..

    Hi Zainab,

    This is a well written article, please write more so those helpless uyghurs find a mercy and freedom, and Uyghurs situation now is critical, they are dying in concentration camps, they are being sent to far away places in thousands for slow death, world needs to rescue those people,! World is shamelessly using Uyghurs for their benefit…

  4. Well how do you expect any of the Islamic countries to raise an issue as they themselves are the worst when it comes to human rights?
    And what China is doing is because these Muslims where ever they are, never assimilate with the locals & never consider it to be their home?
    Go to any western country these Muslims convert it into a Muslim dump (the one they ran away from in the first place)

  5. Atleast China knows how to deal with these pests. The islam followers have a very ugly history of following their evil teachings of killing non Muslims, treating women in a third class manner and shamelessly preaching inhuman acts on mankind. look at the histories of Iran, Syria, Afghanistan which were once non Islamic countries and how they were converted into this horrible Sharia law following places. Look at the state of their people today. That’s why I always say Stay away from Islam and stop going to Islamic countries as tourists. They use the same revenue to spread terror.

  6. Muslims only go to extremes in India….. Do not respect the constitution and we are in complete awe that media institutions are supporting them……… Whole world know, what the so called “religion of peace” had done in past and are capable of doing in present……… If muslims dont want to be civilised, then it is their choice, all the concerned governments would ensure that they are thrown back to arab from where this tumor originated…..

  7. The shameless Muslim countries are also silent on the moblynching of Muslims in India.On the contarary they hug modi enormously.Religion is a charas for everyone’s self enjoyment otherwise Muslim countries have so much animosity in themselves.Did any one Muslim country came to help Iraq or Afghanistan.

  8. Let each country open such concentration camps and gag and gas all Muslims. This religion is a cancer for humanity, when they are minority they talk of love and peace and when they are in majority, they are the worst wolves. Kill them, kill all …. They are rattlesnakes

  9. IF THEY WANT TO FOLLOW EVIL, THAT IS WHY EVIL HAPPENING TO THEM!
    FOLLOW JEW RELIGIONS LIKE CHIRSTIANS AND JEWS AND MUSLIMS….

    ALL OF THAT LIE BULLSHIT COME FROM SAME PLACE…. PEOPLE RETARDED!!!

    I SAY LET THE MUSLIMS DIE LIKE ANIMALS THEY ARE FUCKING MORONS ALL OF THEM

    TRAITORS OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE!!!

  10. Muslims today are mere namesake Muslims. They have lost the teachings of True Islam…
    Most of them are far far away from it.
    So this is expected.

    “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, you either enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will certainly soon send His punishment to you. Then you will make supplication and it will not be accepted”. (Hadeeth No. 193, Riyadhus Saliheen, Chapter 23)

  11. You will reap what you sow ,you are aware of Muslims in some of the democratic countries forcing shariat laws in their areas plus as and when Isis , terrorists massacre innocent people Muslims do not condemn but protest even when there is small criticism of Islam , recently entire Pakistan public were after the life of a lady when the court also absolved her

  12. It’s all about money and what they get in return. Al jawahari talked about Kashmir but he is blind about Uighur so is Pakistan. Apart from Turkey no Muslim nation have courage to talk about it.
    Muslim do deserve this treatment and every nation should start such nazi style camps based on China blue prints. Great going china.

  13. Author’s arguments are like the cancer accusing the patient of human right’s violations because humans are trying to treat the cancer cells. This author hasn’t asked the question why Muslims in China or Muslims in India don’t feel proud of the mother land as others feel. Why should even a single Indian Muslim hesitate to say “Vande Mataram”? Author can come out with 100 arguments in favor of Muslims and 100 arguments accusing others but that doesn’t solve the problem. Problem is within Muslims and solution also lies within Muslims.

  14. While Islam is indeed religion of peace but the problem worldwide is majority of the people practising the religion especially powerful people do not keep the religion private and personal while expecting followers of other religion to do it. Even when it comes to secularism they profess it in regions where they are in minority but the moment they attain majority in a region they turn Islamists and forget about secularism.Only few leaders like Saddam Hussain,Kemal Attaturk….were exceptions but didn’t last long.

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