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Over the past year, Muslim organizations in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and elsewhere have become outspoken advocates for Uyghur Muslims, who are experiencing genocide at the hands of the Chinese government.

Over the past year, Muslim organizations in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and elsewhere have become outspoken advocates for Uyghur Muslims, who are experiencing genocide at the hands of the Chinese government.

The big picture: Governments of many Muslim-majority countries have faced criticism for their silence in the face of China’s repression, but Muslim citizens are organizing and speaking loudly about the issue.

  • As the Uyghur genocide has gained more international prominence over the past year, the fate of a once little-known ethnic group is becoming an issue of global concern.
File photo of protest by the Uyghurs living in Turkey against China’s Human Rights violations : There are reportedly 1 Million Uyghurs in Danger of Forced Organ Extraction in China . “We only see women and children walking the streets of Xinjiang Uyghur’s grand city of Kashgar, there are hardly any men. That’s because the men have been taken to concentration camps. My two brothers and my aging father have been arrested, and I don’t know where they are nor whether they are still alive.” Said Dolkun Isa, the leader of the World Uyghur Congress, in his message to Japan last April.

What’s happening: In September, more than 40 Muslim organizations in the U.S. and abroad announced a boycott of Hilton, after reports that a planned hotel in Xinjiang would be built atop a demolished mosque.

  • In December 2020, more than 70 Muslim student associations around the world and dozens of Uyghur groups wrote an open letter to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), comprised of 57 member states, urging them to denounce China’s abuses.
File photo: U.S. declares China’s actions against Muslim Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region as “genocide” President Elect Joe Biden called Xi a “thug” and his presidential campaign has referred to the crackdown on the Muslim Uighur (UYGHUR) minority in China as a “genocide”. Photographer: Tim Rue/Corbis/Getty
  • The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the largest U.S. Muslim advocacy groups, regularly sends out press releases highlighting new reporting on the Uyghur situation in China and demanding action by U.S. lawmakers and the international community.

What they’re saying: “It’s important that all American Muslims stand together in fighting this genocidal campaign,” Robert McCaw, government affairs director at CAIR, said in an interview with Axios. 

The brutal repression and violent interference of the Chinese government in the Muslim Uyghur peoples’ right to practice their faith freely has been condemned by many countries and Human Rights organizations
  • Uyghur Americans have also been impacted by the genocide, making this an issue directly related to American Muslim communities, McCaw said.
  • “A number of Muslim governments, though, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, have been silent on this issue,” he added. “Thus it is our responsibility as Muslim citizens and organizations to demand justice and accountability for Uyghurs in China.”

Jewish groups support

Uighur detainees listening to a “deradicalization” presentation at a camp, in a photo posted to the Xinjiang Judicial Administration’s WeChat account, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang, 2017

A group of more than 200 Jewish organizations, rabbis and synagogues have sent a letter to President Biden and top U.S. officials urging them to do more to oppose the Chinese government’s genocide of ethnic Uyghurs, according to a copy of the letter viewed by Axios.

What they’re saying: “The horror stories we are hearing of Uyghurs taken in the night, separated from their families, and put on trains to forced labor camps are all too familiar to the Jewish community,” the letter’s signatories state.

“We therefore urge you and your administration to take the concrete steps recommended by a coalition of leading human rights organizations (such as countering Chinese government propaganda and strengthening sanctions) and to increase the number of Uyghurs admitted to the U.S. as refugees.”

Holocaust Museum support

report released today by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum states the museum is “gravely concerned” the “Chinese government may be committing genocide against the Uyghurs.”

FILE – In this Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, file photo, a guard tower and barbed wire fence surround a detention facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China’s Xinjiang region. The Associated Press has found that the Chinese government is carrying out a birth control program aimed at Uighurs, Kazakhs and other largely Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, even as some of the country’s Han majority is encouraged to have more children. The measures include detention in prisons and camps, such as this facility in Artux, as punishment for having too many children. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

Why it matters: A growing number of governments and other institutions are concluding the Chinese government’s policies toward the Uyghur ethnic minority aren’t just repression, but in fact constitute genocide.

AXIOS 

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