Islamic Leaders Have Nothing to Say About China’s Internment Camps for Muslims

Source: Foreign Policy

A demonstrator wearing a mask painted with the colors of the flag of East Turkestan and a hand bearing the colors of the Chinese flag attends a protest  in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, on July 5, 2018.(OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

A demonstrator wearing a mask painted with the colors of the flag of East Turkestan and a hand bearing the colors of the Chinese flag attends a protest in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, on July 5, 2018.(OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

Internment camps with up to a million prisonersEmpty neighborhoodsStudentsmusiciansathletes, and peaceful academics jailed. A massive high-tech surveillance state that monitors and judges every movement. The future of more than 10 million Uighurs, the members of China’s Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, is looking increasingly grim.

As the Chinese authorities continue a brutal crackdown in Xinjiang, the northwest region of China that’s home to the Uighur, Islam has been one of the main targets. Major mosques in the major cities of Kashgar and Urumqi now stand empty. Prisoners in the camps are told to renounce God and embrace the Chinese Communist Party. Prayers, religious education, and the Ramadan fast are increasingly restricted or banned. Even in the rest of China, Arabic text is being stripped from public buildings, and Islamophobia is being tacitly encouraged by party authorities.

But amid this state-backed campaign against their religious brethren, Muslim leaders and communities around the world stand silent. While the fate of the Palestinians stirs rage and resistance throughout the Islamic world, and millions stood up to condemn the persecution of the Rohingya, there’s been hardly a sound on behalf of the Uighur. No Muslim nation’s head of state has made a public statement in support of the Uighurs this decade.  Politicians and many religious leaders who claim to speak for the faith are silent in the face of China’s political and economic power.

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