Let’s Talk About Uighur Muslims

 The Chinese government started setting up detention camps to suppress the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Around 1 million Uighurs have been sent to these camps, and there are over 85 camps despite the government claiming they do not exist. Aside from these Muslims being forced to live in these horrible camps, which violates their freedom of expression and is hateful towards their identity, many are also “re-educated” by being beaten, forced to eat pork (Islam prohibits consuming pork), and asked invasive questions about Islam. The government set these camps up to “re-educate” the Uighurs solely because they hold misconceptions about Islam and correlate extremism with the religion. 

 

This is all part of China’s Islamophobic history. In 2017, the government passed laws prohibiting men from having long beards and women from wearing veils. Mosques were also abolished. Not only are these actions hateful and disgusting, but they also cause Muslims to experience minority stress and it increases overall islamophobia. Ill sentiment and feelings of such disdain can result in Muslims being targeted (similar to what happened in New Zealand’s Christchurch shooting where a White supremacist murdered Muslims at a mosque). These types of messages are well received by White supremacists and give them incentive to harm minorities and vulnerable groups. 

 

These actions are also similar to the atrocities that were done unto the Jewish people by the Nazis. While this is a different group being targeted, the Uighurs are forced to get onto trains that take them to concentration camps, they are forced to wear uniforms and work under strenuous conditions, they are physically and sexually abused, and many ultimately die under the poor conditions. If this isn’t enough, forced sterilizations are being performed on Uighur women to prevent them from having children. This violates the Hippocratic oath that physicians have to take because many of these women are not consenting to this procedure and are forced to undergo it to avoid producing more of their “kind.” This is similar to the experiments and Nazi eugenic policies that took place in Germany during World War Two. 

 

While all of this alarming, what’s even more alarming is the fact that many Western news outlets are not covering this news. The Uighur Muslims continue to be detained in these camps, losing connection with loved ones and dying under these conditions, while the Western media focuses more on topics that affect Western societies. This instance isn’t the only incident that has directly impacted Muslims. Muslims face  fear and hate because of 9/11, Quebec’s embarrassing Hijab ban, and France recently suggested making Muslim children have identification numbers to track their activities and ensure that they aren’t being “brainwashed” by Islam. All these instances have been and are hurtful for Muslims all around the world. 

It is important to stay informed about these human rights issues. Continue signing petitions such as this one and inform your friends about these atrocities. Also be sure not to support brands that profit off of Uighur Muslim labour. By using your voice and your platform, you can help raise more awareness.