By Ahmad Farouk Musa
July 9, 2018
One thing which is indisputable is the
odious history of this country in treating asylum seekers and refugees.
The way the Malaysian government bludgeoned
and deported three Turkish nationals who were not even asylum seekers last year
raised concerns not only among human rights defenders but also the United Nations.
One of them was Turgay Karaman – a school
principal and a personal friend of mine – who was accused of being part of the
so-called terrorist group Feto, or what has been called the “Gulenist Terror
The same modus operandi is being used by
the communist regime in China. It was this so-called war on terrorism that
became the excuse for the persecution of the Muslim Uighurs.
They were accused of being part of the East
Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) or the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP).
But independent observers were sceptical
about the existence of these two groups. There was even a suggestion that TIP
was created by the Communist Party itself to justify its actions and to
demonise the Uighurs’ peaceful struggle against Chinese repression.
The fact is, for years now the Muslim
Uighurs have been victims of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) authoritarian
rule. They were subjected to special campaigns to dilute their identity.
In the short term, the CCP utilised
detention, torture and execution to silence Uighur dissent. But more alarming
is its long-term method of economic, social and cultural human rights abuse.
The Uighur are not permitted to perform the haj, and there was a conscious
effort in the “sinification” of the Uighurs, whereby their language, practice
of Islam, and culture were banned and outlawed.
To ensure that the CCP achieved its aim,
there was a mass migration of Han Chinese settlers into their land and the
transfer of young Uighur women to east China.
The point to be made is, these asylum
seekers were mainly victims of persecution. They must first be proven to be
involved in terrorism, and they are entitled to a fair hearing before the
Malaysian government entertains any deportation request.
Why should Malaysia bow to pressure from
the Chinese when these Uighurs would definitely face imprisonment, torture or
To me, it is not only about human rights
where Malaysia has always been trying to portray itself as a champion. This is
also a religious obligation. The Quran clearly says that “Indeed, the believers
are but brothers” (49:10).
How is it possible for us and the
government who always wanted to be seen at the forefront, championing the
rights of the Palestinians and other persecuted Muslims, not to feel anguish
and pain for the Uighurs and their present state of affairs, their trials,
tribulations and torture?
If these Uighurs were simply escaping the
political persecution of the CCP, they should be protected at any cost, even if
it upsets the Chinese to whom the previous government was indebted due to the
hundreds of billions in loans. But this is a new dawn for a new Malaysia!