Muslims across the world begin fasting today as Ramadan commences. However, Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China face prosecution
Muslims across the world begin fasting today as Ramadan commences. However, Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China face prosecution for observing this religious pillar.
Relations between the largely Muslim Uighurs and China’s government have been tense since Beijing regained control in 1949. Following ethnic clashes in Xinjiang in 2009 where 200 people died, authorities have taken stronger moves to suppress Muslims’ distinct cultural identity. Most notably, Chinese authorities have opened ‘education centres’, which reportedly house some one million Uighurs.
Detainees have reported becoming suicidal after being tortured, brutally indoctrinated into communism and being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. As many as 3 million Muslims out of China’s 10 million Muslims may be imprisoned there.
Whilst China believes these ‘education centres’ deradicalize Islamic extremists, the US Defense representative Randall Schriver yesterday described them as ‘concentration camps’. This is particularly strong language as the term implies a comparison with Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews. China has already insisted it would retaliate against any sanctions the US imposes on Xinjiang.
Expect tension to increase between the US and China. As the religious month dawns, also expect the Uighurs’s plight to garner considerable international attention.
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