By Arshad Alam,
New Age Islam
it was known earlier also, but the United Nations taking notice of detention
camps in China has made it the subject of international chatter. The UN did not
mince words and called it extremely discriminatory for the million plus Uighur
Muslims detained in these camps. Scholars specialising on Chinese law have
already told us that the size of these camps have been growing over the years.
For the Chinese though, these detention centres remain centres of
‘re-education’ where ethnic Uighur Muslims are told how to re-integrate back
into the ‘Chinese’ society.
the entire onus of integrating into the Chinese mainstream is on the Muslim
minority, who have seen their land inundated by the majority ethnic Han
Chinese. In fear of becoming minority in their own land and losing their
cultural markers, the Uighurs took solace in religion but then even that
becomes a problem as it is emblematic of separatism for Chinese authorities.
The Chinese mainstream and the state do not think or they do not want to
acknowledge that they are part of the problem.
was perhaps more amazing was that the Chinese did not deny any of the
allegations except saying that these were not detention but re-education
centres where criminals were being kept for the express purpose of reforming
them. So from being ‘astray’, now Muslims are being defined as criminals. The
next logical step will perhaps be to put all of them in jails. There are even
reports of mosques being demolished in the Xinjiang province apart from
periodic curbs on religious expression such as those during Ramzan. And yet,
the Muslim world is silent. We did not hear even a whimper of protest from the
Muslim world. Where is the rage, the slogans of Muslim being oppressed when we
have a real situation in China where Muslims are actually being oppressed?
assume that China is too far down the horizon and that many in the Muslim world
may not be aware of what is going on there, although it hard to be believe this
lack of information in a world satiated with information. But for a moment let
us assume, this is the case but then what about the Saudi invasion of Yemen
which is happening right under the watch of the whole Muslim community. Saudi
Arabia has for long treated Yemen as its colony and even a slight hint of
Yemen’s autonomy makes them nervous. So under the pretext of fighting Iranian
militias, the Saudis have not just armed the opposition but have actual
military presence in that country. Its air force is free to bomb the country at
will and yet there is no international outcry. More recently, the Saudis bombed
a school bus carrying children which led to scores being dead. Any civilised
nation would have expressed remorse for this wanton killing of children or at
least constituted an inquiry committee to look into such allegations. Not the
Saudis. Not only did they not express remorse, they in fact justified the
killings saying that these children were enemy combatants.
Compare this with the statement of Taliban
militants who killed children at school in Pakistan and one finds that there is
no difference between the two. And yet, we are being increasingly led to
believe that Saudis want to be in the forefront of fighting terror and
extremism. But then if Saudi Arabia can sit in the human rights council at the
United Nations, then perhaps anything is possible.
is more astounding perhaps is the silence of the Muslim world in relation to
the both the issues highlighted above. So far there have been no fiery speeches
after Friday prayers; there have been no street marches and no protests in
front of the Chinese embassy. Pakistan, which loses no chance to deride India
over human rights abuses in Kashmir, has been completely silent over the
Chinese treatment of Muslims. But then every state has its compulsion.
what about the religious players within Pakistan who are not part of the state?
Why are they completely silent over the issue? Or is it that China has bought
their silence too? Children being killed in broad day light in Yemen on the
pretext of being enemy combatants and yet the whole Muslim world is silent?
Don’t we repeat ad nauseam that the Prophet forbade killing of children and
women even during war? Then why is it that we are silent? Just because the
perpetrator happens to be the leader of the Sunni world? This must make us
ponder whether the Muslim outrage is reserved only against the Jews and
Christians? If such a thing as killing of innocent children would have been
done by the state of Israel, would we be silent? How many protests would have
been organised to condemn it?
we would have been definitely joined by our leftist friends in the condemnation
of Israel and its benefactor America. The overall silence in this case also points
to a certain collusion of interests between the orthodoxy within the Muslim
world and the leftists who today are supposedly the conscience keepers of the
world. This is absolutely reprehensible. And equally reprehensible is the
hypocrisy of the Muslim world.
time when there is Muslim rage on the street, I would think twice before
offering my unqualified solidarity. I will think whether this rage is genuine
or sponsored in the interest of a particular regime and religious order. I will
think how this rage fits into maintaining the hegemonic power of Saudi Arabia
within the Muslim world. I will think why they did not express the same rage
when the Saudis killed innocent children in Yemen. And I will think hard
whether the Muslim anger against Israel and the West is sponsored by a sinister
politics whose ultimate aim is to generate sympathy and support for a criminal
regime like Saudi Arabia.
Arshad Alam is a
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