Islamic scholars and intellectuals gathered in Istanbul on Monday for an international conference to highlight the Uyghur genocide and to support their struggle with the Chinese Communist Party.
“This weekend, Islamic scholars and intellectuals of the Muslim world gathered in Istanbul for an international conference that aims to introduce the #UyghurGenocide to the Muslim World and to mobilize public opinion to support the #Uyghurs in their struggle with #CCP. #ChinasWaronIslam,” tweeted Center for Uyghur Studies (CUS).
The Center for Uyghur Studies provides strategic policy recommendations and presents research reports to interfaith entities, related international organizations and governments on the people of East Turkistan/Xinjiang.
The Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia. Their native region is considered to be the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China.
Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China. The Uyghurs are Muslim, they don’t speak Mandarin as their native language, and have ethnicity and culture that is different from that of mainland China.
Over the past few decades, as economic prosperity has come to Xinjiang, it has brought with it in large numbers the majority of Han Chinese, who have cornered the better jobs, and left the Uyghurs feeling their livelihoods and identity were under threat.
This led to sporadic violence, in 2009 culminating in a riot that killed 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, in the region’s capital Urumqi. According to reports, since 2016, over a million Uyghur Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang re-education camps by the Chinese Government.
The main purpose of these re-education camps was to ensure adherence to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese authorities have been accused of imposing forced labour, systematic forced birth control and torture, and separating children from incarcerated parents.
Several countries, including the US, Canada and the Netherlands, have accused China of committing genocide – defined by international convention as the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.
China has been forcibly mass sterilising Uyghur women to suppress the population, separating children from their families, and attempting to break the cultural traditions of the group.
China denies all allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, claiming its system of “re-education” camps is there to combat separatism and Islamist militancy in the region.