Lately the media has been so focused on covering COVID-19 that we have failed to mention things that would normally be talked about. COVID-19 is obviously an important issue that should be discussed, however it should not cause the world to turn their backs on on-going problems.
The extensive press coverage has caused panic and disturbed people in their ability to educate themselves about non-relating matters such as the Uighur Muslims in Chinese Rehabilitation camps. Do you remember learning about the holocaust? Well brace yourself because what’s happening to the Uighur muslims in 2020 is a similar situation to what happened about 75 years ago during WWII.
In these past years, China has detained up to three million Muslims in hopes of eradicating Islam and its “extremist” beliefs. They are being detained against their will and stripped of their human rights. Uighur Muslims need the world’s help, however, the sad part is that they are rarely discussed because of China’s secrecy. Luckily more than 400 pages of top secret Chinese documents gave the world the ability to understand what the innocent Uighurs and other ethnic minorities were going through behind closed doors in the Xinjiang province.
According to the podcast called “Why Don’t We Care About China’s Uighur Muslims?” by Mehdi Hasan, “The Chinese government has claimed that the camps are merely vocational training centers, but in November  a trove of leaked documents, dubbed the China Cables, confirmed what the world had long suspected: the camps are Communist Party re-education centers in which Uighurs are forced to abandon their traditional religion and language.”
Even among all the terror and chaos the world is facing throughout this pandemic, China has refused to close its “reeducation camps” where muslims are continuously being persecuted. Human rights observers from all over the globe have decided to call them concentration camps because of the similarities in treatment the innocent Uighurs get to Europe’s Jewish population during WWII or to the “reeducation camps” Native American children were coerced into attending to make them as “civilized” as the white man.
Sayragul Sauytbay, a Chinese fugitive who managed to escape China and go to court in Kazakhstan to resist being returned into Beijing, has since found refuge in Sweden with her husband and two kids. Her claims are very disturbing as she has attested that one day, she along with 200 other men and women, were forced to watch a woman get raped. They could not help her, speak out, or even close their eyes. The victim could not make a noise either for fear that they would kill her and her family. This was not the first time that it happened.
In the camps, they are force fed pork and wine which go against their religious beliefs, in hopes of brain-washing them into leaving Islam. Uighurs are not permitted to pray, fast, read the Quran, wear the headscarf, grow a beard, celebrate holidays like Ramadan or Eid and most of the time do not know where their loved ones are or whether they are safe or not. They even have to let go of their culture. Uighurs are also not allowed to celebrate their heritage by wearing traditional clothes or speak their own language.
If Uighurs refuse to follow the rules in the reeducation camps, officials use violent and severely barbaric torture methods. Mihrigul Tursun is an Uighur woman who was detained in a reeducation camp. According to “A tale of torture in a Chinese internment camp for Uighurs” by the U.S. Virtual Embassy Tehran, “Mihrigul Tursun recounted her horrifying experience in one of China’s camps earlier this year. She was drugged, interrogated for days without sleep, and strapped in a chair and jolted with electricity. It was her third time being sent to a camp since 2015.” Tursun told reporters that she remembers interrogators telling her “being a Uighur is a crime.“
We have to recognize that this is RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION, A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as well as CULTURAL CLEANSING. Actions must be taken to put this injustice to an end. We can no longer stay silent and watch as the Uighurs are facing severe oppression.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -Martin Luther King Jr.