The Chinese repression of their lives and the flagrant ethnic cleansing should disrupt our own lives and ignite a fire to act swiftly. This is not a case of political dissent, rather of the very basic foundations of what comprises humanity.
The reality of internment camps seems horrifically dystopian. Yet, history can attest that such bestial phenomena are committed by humans time and time again. The global audience fails to denounce these crimes until it’s too late or listlessly as more lives fall victim.
Currently, in Xinjiang, a remote region in China’s far west, over one million Uyghurs are being detained in internment camps. Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority with their own distinct culture and language. According to the U.S state department and survivors, prisoners are subjected to torture, sexual and physical abuse, forced labor, death, reeducation, political indoctrination, and more.
Other atrocities, revealed through leaked documents and drone footage, show barbed wire fences, watchtowers, and people with shaved heads kneeling and blindfolded waiting to board trains. Laws have been passed prohibiting beards and women wearing veils. There has also been evidence of forced sterilizations and demolished mosques as well.
The Chinese government has responded with a vehement denial and later lies claiming that they are vocational training centers, and later, necessary camps to prevent religious fanaticism. The evidence, however, paints the truth. Regardless of the blatant Islamophobia and xenophobia, and the political complexities that illustrate the incentives of the Chinese government, as bystanders, our silence will be recorded in history as complacency.
Living across the world in the United States whilst hearing of the pillaging of the Uyghur Muslims is not only disquieting, but it can make one feel forlorn in their efforts. Yet, our voices and the resources at our disposal are far more invaluable than they appear. Thus, in accordance with Islamic injunctions of establishing justice, and appealing to the core of our humanity, the following are various ways to raise the alarms against the persecution of our Uyghur Muslim brothers and sisters.
Educate and Understand
For our actions to have efficacy and to partake in tangible efforts, we must educate ourselves of the situation. Not only in terms of the fate of the Uyghur prisoners, but of the incentives of the Chinese government and the global ramifications. We live in an era of information overload. A quick google search and clarity is offered at our fingertips. The following is a list of resources to better understand the rationale of the oppressors and enablers.
Here are some short videos to educate ourselves on the current situation:
And this as well:
Additionally, here are some written sources of information to better inform ourselves on EastTurkestan.net here and the UyghurPlight here.
Contact Your Local Representatives
Never underestimate the power you hold as a constituent. Use your voice and write a letter to your local representatives. The following are links to find out who your local representatives are and how to contact them:
As mere individuals, it is far too easy to feel obscured and non-functional in the larger fabric of society. But similar to any other fine piece of craftsmanship, when one thread is yanked, the tear eventually mushrooms out. Whether you are only able to sign an online petition or you are someone that organizes in front of powerful leaders and buildings, the Uyghurs need us.
The Chinese repression of their lives and the flagrant ethnic cleansing should disrupt our own lives and ignite a fire to act swiftly. This is not a case of political dissent, rather of the very basic foundations of what comprises humanity. When you search the question of the plight of Uyghur Muslims today, you will be inundated with interminable articles, videos, and slideshows with eyewitness accounts, video footage, and undisputed proof of the terror being perpetrated in these camps. Thus, willful inaction is an indelible stain on the human race, and though time cruelly moves on, as Muslims we must remain hyper-aware that our faith is inextricable with challenging oppressors.
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Noshin Bokth is the North American Regional Editor for The Muslim Vibe. She is a student of Islamic sciences and a freelance writer based in New York City. She has written for a number of publications, including working as the Chief Editor of Ramadan Legacy. Writing is a passion that was instilled in her from a very young age. She writes because it is as essential as breathing to her. But she also endeavors, through her writing, to help others, to educate them on Islam, to bring them closer to Islam, to impart teachings of mercy and love. She writes to give a voice to the those who have been silenced, to foster unity and solidarity. Aside from writing, her greatest love is reading. You can read her work at noshinbokth.contently.com