In what is hailed as an ‘unprecedented’ letter, 22 countries around the world have signed a letter condemning the Chinese subjugation of its Muslim population. However, what is truly surprising is the absence of Muslim countries on the list.
Not a single Islamic country is a signatory to this letter, which attempts to draw the world’s attention over the alleged atrocities committed by the Chinese.
In the letter, written by UN Human Rights Council member states, the signatories have exhorted China to stop maltreatment of Uighur Muslims in the detention centres. They have urged China to put an end to the inhumane restrictions placed on them, preventing them from following their religion.
The 22 signatories include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. However, none of the countries from the Islamic world deemed it important to be a signatory to the letter and extend their solidarity with their fellow co-religionists against oppressive China.
Uighurs are a Turkish-Muslims ethnic group living in Xinjiang, the largest and most western of China’s administrative regions surrounded by Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The Xinjiang autonomous region in China has had a long history of discord between the authorities and the indigenous ethnic Uighur population.
China is facing opprobrium from the United Nations for pursuing harsh policies against the Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang. Damning reports blaming Beijing of interning members of its Muslim population – by “re-educating” them away from their faith have emerged. It is believed that China has resorted to this measure to curb riots and violent attacks the government has endured at the hands of Muslim separatists in the Xinjiang province.
In these detention centres, Uighur Muslims are allegedly compelled to unlearn their traditions, pan their Islamic practices and extend their loyalty to Xi Jinping’s Communist Party. Many Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, who are otherwise at the forefront of taking up the cudgel to defend atrocities against Muslims have kept mum against China. Possibly because China has either been aggressively investing in these countries or bailing them out of their economic crisis.