WASHINGTON, DC — A galaxy of more than 130 American Muslim leaders have signed an official statement to condemn the persecution of around three million Uyghur Muslims at the hands of Chinese authorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Muslim Matters reported.
The leaders called on the Chinese authorities to free Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities such as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Uzbeks in East Turkestan.
“We, imams, scholars and community leaders, hereby affirm and declare the following fundamental points,” read the official statement.
“We ask the People’s Republic of China to free Uyghurs from its concentration camps, return children to their families, and restore their freedom of religion. We call upon our neighbors of other faiths to support this demand. We call upon fellow citizens to stop buying products produced through slave labor from these camps.”
The imams also thanked “the US government for raising the issue of human rights abuses and detainment in the concentration camps and ask the rest of the world to do the same.”
Not only that, but these imams, who include Dr. Yasir Qadhi of the Islamic Seminary of America, have also called upon all people to “stand in solidarity with the Uyghur people on April 6, 2019, in Washington DC, USA.”
Sorrowful Muslim Cause
The Uyghurs are a Turkic Central Asian ethnicity who are native to the Muslim country of Uyghurstan. They primarily practice Islam and the largest majority of them are Sunni Muslims since the 9th century.
Uyghurstan aka East Turkestan is a Central Asian Muslim republic with a total area of 1.665 million km². According to 2010 estimates, about 21.8 million people, mostly Uyghurs, live in this Muslim country which is occupied by China since 1949.
In its 117-page report, “‘Eradicating Ideological Viruses’: China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims,” Human Rights Watch presents new evidence of the Chinese government’s mass arbitrary detention, torture, and mistreatment, and the increasingly pervasive controls on daily life.
Chinese authorities impose restrictions on Uyghur Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, especially during Ramadan.
Rights groups accuse Chinese authorities of a heavy-handed rule in Xinjiang, including violent police raids on Uyghur households, restrictions on Islamic practices, and curbs on the culture and language of the Uyghur people.
In December 2015, China passed its controversial anti-terror law, which according to Human Rights Watch gave government agencies “enormous discretionary powers.”
The government’s April 2017 regulations to “prevent extremism” drew international condemnation, with critics saying they violated basic human rights and religious freedom.