Muslim Governments Are Aiding & Abetting Oppression

Muslim Governments Support of China’s Uyghur Containment

CHINA By Dr Suraina Pasha18/09/2022

The United Nations (UN) recently concluded there is sufficient credible evidence of severe religious repression of the Uyghurs.[1] The Uyghurs are persecuted, tortured, contained in camps and killed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for practicing Islam. Thousands of mosques have been demolished.

In response to the UN report, Uyghur activist Abdul Hakim Idris made an impassioned appeal for the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to react, noting the official representational body of Muslim governments has not issued a single statement in support of the Uyghurs.[2]

It is worth recapping the abysmal track record of Muslim governments in actively supporting the CCP’s Uyghur containment policies, both diplomatically, and through practical cooperation in deporting Uyghur refugees back to “China”.

In 2019, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain, UAE, Somalia, Sudan, and regrettably, the State of Palestine, co-signed a letter to the UN commending

“China’s remarkable achievements in the field of human rights” and appreciating “China’s contributions to international human rights causes”[3]

The letter legitimised the CCP’s dubious claims that it faces a “grave challenge of terrorism and extremism” from the Uyghurs, and endorsed their internment in “vocational education and training centers” (i.e. concentration camps).

Unsurprisingly, Myanmar, which perpetrated genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority, also co-signed the same letter.

Pakistan has been a particularly staunch supporter of China’s Uyghur policies. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to the international media on several occassions to deny claims of Uyghur repression.[4] While Western countries boycotted the Winter Olympics in Beijing in solidarity with the Uyghurs, Pakistan participated to show its solidarity with the CCP.

In yet another example of diplomatic ‘white-washing’, an Algerian diplomat reportedly stated to the local media during a CCP cultural tour of occupied East Turkestan in August 2022 that:

the fruit here is so sweet, just like the life of the people here”

While also noting that the visit helped him see that the rights of all peoples were supposedly well protected and respected.[5]

Alongside diplomatic endorsement, many Muslim governments are actively cooperating with China to deny safety and asylum to Uyghurs fleeing persecution.

The Uyghur Human Rights Project and the Oxus Society have compiled a detailed report and dataset on transnational cooperation with China in containing the Uyghurs.[6]

They note that Arab States have actively cooperated with China’s requests to arrest, detain, interrogate and deport Uyghurs, with at least 295 known incidents between 2001 and 2022.

In one of the reported incidents, Egyptian authorities arrested 200 Uyghur residents in 2017, many of whom were students at Al-Azhar University. At least 45 individuals were deported to China, some of whom were subsequently never heard of again.

More recently, Saudi Arabia arrested, detained and prepared to deport a 13-year-old Uyghur child and her mother alongside two male Uyghur individuals in Ramadan 2022. Reports provide conflicting information on whether or not the deportations took place.

Irrespective, Rayhan Asat, an Uyghur activist noted that their very arrest in Makkah in Ramadan

violated the sanctity of Islam’s holiest place during its holiest month”[7]

She also observes that China “frequently abuses Interpol red notice systems” – which requires law enforcement officials to locate and arrest individuals outside of their country of ordinary residence – to compel the return of Uyghur refugees back to China.

Uyghur activist Abdul Hakim Idris argues that many Muslim governments are enthralled by the lure of Chinese investment and development aid. He notes that some of the most vocal supporters of the CCP are recipients of major economic and military assistance from China.

Muslim governments that are aiding and abetting the CCP’s oppression of the Uyghurs are a disgrace to the legacy of Rasulullah Muhammad (ﷺ) and the early Muslims.

They gave their lives and wealth to build the Ummah and fearlessly struggled against injustice, unbelief and oppression. Muslims fleeing persecution in one location could count on the solidarity of Muslims elsewhere in granting them asylum, as demonstrated from the events of the Hijrah.

What would our Prophet think of Muslim governments’ endorsement of the demolition of mosques and criminalisation of basic forms of Islamic worship? What would he think of Muslim governments’ deportation of Uyghur refugees back to torture and possible death in China’s concentration camps?

[1] Maira Khan, ‘UN Report Recognises China’s Human Rights Violations Against the Uyghurs, Islam21c, 2 September 2022:

[2] Abdul Hakim Idris, ‘The UN Confirms China’s War on Islam – How Long Will the Islamic World Remain Silent?’, Islam21c, 4 September 2022:

[3] UN Digital Records, Letter Dated 12 July 2019 Regarding Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang, China:

[4] The Print, ‘Imran Khan Defends China on Uyghurs Issue Again’,

[5] Middle East Monitor, ‘Diplomats From 30 Muslim Countries Visit Xinjiang, China’,

[6] Uyghur Human Rights Project,

[7] Rayhan Asat, ‘China’s Transnational Repression Gets Saudi Arabia’s backing’, Foreign Policy,

Dr Suraina Pasha
Dr Suraina Pasha is a political sociologist. She writes on human rights and humanitarian issues from a Muslim perspective. She has a PhD from the University of Sydney, recently completed a fellowship at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE), and some of her research has been published in the British Journal of Sociology. Prior to her transition to academic research she worked professionally in the international development sector for national and regional organisations in Australia, Asia and the Middle East.

The People Declare China Guilty of Genocide

On account of the evidence of torture, systematic suppression of births with intent to destroy a community, and crimes against humanity beyond reasonable doubt, the People’s Tribunal has concluded that the Chinese government is committing genocide against Uyghurs.
Many Uyghur activists and members of the public gathered at Church House Westminster on 9 December to hear the verdict by the Uyghur tribunal. “The allegations are of the gravest human rights violations and international crimes,” said Sir Geoffrey Nice, the tribunal’s chair.

The tribunal called out the haunting evidence of a million Uyghurs being subject to detention by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) without any remotely sufficient reason. Evidence confirmed that detainees were subject to inhumane cell conditions; up to 50 people would sometimes be locked in a 22 square metre cell – making it impossible to lie on concrete – while only being given a communal bucket for a toilet. Some of the torture methods included the pulling off of finger nails, beating with sticks, being restrained in tiger chairs – where feet and hands were locked in position for days, and being put in containers filled with cold water up to the neck. Men and women were subjected to extreme sexual violence, including gang rape, forced penetration with electric shock rods, and iron bars. These are just some of the cruel violations that have taken place and continue to take place in China’s detention camps.

Further methods of control were evidenced by mass disappearances of Uyghur members, Han men forced into Uyghur homes, mass securitisation, neighbours spying on neighbours, intense monitoring of ‘separatist’ behaviour, and the involuntary removal of thousands of children from their families in order to send them to Han state-run boarding schools.

Sir Geoffrey Nice pointed to the lack of evidence of mass killings, as well as Uyghurs being allowed to return to society for short or long periods of time. For this reason, comparisons to the Holocaust were described as “well-intentioned but unhelpful”. Whilst the common understanding of genocide assumes mass killings, this is not the only indicator considered by scholars. It also constitutes the systematic suppression of births, as well as the utter destruction and eradication of a people’s lineage, culture, religion, thought, beliefs, and values, as evidenced by the ‘re-education’ camps and ‘anti-terror’ methods used by the PRC.

The PRC’s intent to biologically destroy the Uyghurs by preventing births met the legal elements of genocide. Surmounting evidence pertaining to the forced sterilisation of Uyghur women was found after considering the frequent insertion of IUD devices, which are only removable by surgical means. In addition, further findings were presented, such as forced abortions at early and late stages of pregnancy, involuntary removal of wombs, as well as the killing of babies at birth.

“The tribunal is satisfied that President Xi Jinping and other very senior officials in the PRC and CCP bear primary responsibility” for acts that occurred in East Turkistan. Let there be no mistake: the PRC’s treatment of Uyghurs links back to their agenda to destroy and eradicate Uyghur religion and culture through the use of ‘anti-terror’, ‘anti-extremism ’, and ‘separatist’ rhetoric. The Chinese state has already destroyed 16,000 mosques and has even torn down cemeteries to build ‘cafes’. In addition, “displays of religious adherence” like attending a mosque, wearing a hijab, having a beard, and not drinking alcohol or eating pork have been proscribed by the state.

Former Guantanamo prisoner and prominent War on Terror critic Moazzam Begg questioned the tribunal about the evidence suggesting the PRC’s exploitation of the War on Terror narrative through the enactment of ‘anti-terror’ policies. “To what extent do you think it has exploited that language and has been able to get away with the targeting of Muslims in East Turkistan as ‘extremists’ and ‘terrorists’?” A member of the tribunal agreed that China was able to “sweep their Uyghur problem under the global war on terrorism. They actually persuaded the US to join in on the categorisation of a Uyghur group outside Xinjiang as a terrorist group. The application of that lasted up until 2018”.

After a year and a half of compiling detailed forms of evidence and finally coming to the necessary outcome of genocide, the public are probably thinking, “What now?” Politicians who were present at the press conference after the tribunal called on the UK government to use the readily available evidence and publicly recognise that a genocide is taking place. This is something they have never succeeded to do while a genocide was ongoing. They also request the UK government to place sanctions on Chinese imports and declare a full diplomatic boycott.

There is no doubt that this tribunal is a significant step in the right direction towards putting pressure on China to end their crimes against the Uyghurs. Alḥamdulillāh, the tribunal did what governments had no courage to do. Sir Geoffrey Nice alludes that both the US and the UK acknowledged China’s crimes, but have done nothing about it.

It would be naïve to place full hopes on those who only seek to further their socio-political agenda. The essence of the problem must be addressed, which is China’s state run policies to suppress and eradicate Muslims and other minorities in East Turkistan, where individuals are tortured and persecuted for their religion. Unless this is done, we cannot expect their actions to sincerely have the Uyghur people’s interests at heart. We wait for the UK to make an open statement about the genocide and actually make references to the list of crimes against humanity taking place. We hope this sends a message to much of the international community who have shown complicity in the heinous crimes against Uyghur Muslims, and urge them once again to take action.

May Allah hasten the Ummah to success and bestow justice upon the Uyghurs and thousands of others around the world being persecuted for their dīn. And last but not least, may He aid us in standing firm with our brothers and sisters.


Communist China’s Barbaric Torture of the Uighurs

China is forcibly sterilizing Uighur women and giving them unwanted abortions in a mission to purge the Muslim minority, report says

FILE PHOTO - A perimeter fence is constructed around what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
A perimeter fence around a detention camp in the Dabancheng district of, Xinjiang, China.
  • Chinese authorities are forcibly sterilizing Uighur Muslim women and performing abortions on them, an Associated Press investigation found.
  • Since 2016, at least 1 million Uighurs have been imprisoned at detention camps as part of Beijing’s moves to stamp out their culture and ethnicity.
  • The AP reported that Uighur women were regularly made to take pregnancy tests and forced into abortions if they test positive.
  • Women have also been forcibly fitted with intrauterine devices, or IUDs, to prevent pregnancy, and in some cases they have been sterilized, the AP said.
  • Citing interviews and data, the AP reported that the measures had affected “hundreds of thousands” of Uighur women.

New evidence has come to light exposing the draconian tactics Chinese authorities are using to persecute Uighur Muslims, including forced abortions, birth control, and sterilization.

An Associated Press report published on Monday cited interviews with 30 former prisoners, family members, and a former detention-camp instructor, as well as government statistics and state documents.

Since 2016, China has interned at least 1 million Uighurs in hundreds of prisons, which it euphemistically calls “reeducation centers” or “vocational training and education centers.” They are, in reality, concentration camps designed to brainwash Uighurs and force them to abandon their heritage and religion.

According to the AP, authorities at the camps and in Xinjiang, the Uighur heartland also known as East Turkestan, have been cracking down on the birth rate by:

  • Regularly subjecting women to pregnancy tests.
  • Forcing those who test positive to have abortions.
  • Forcibly fitting women with intrauterine devices, or IUDs, to prevent pregnancy.
  • Force-feeding Uighur women birth-control pills or injecting them with fluids — without saying what they are — to make them sterile.

Reports of forced abortions and sterilization have surfaced in the past, but the AP investigation indicates that the forced birth control is much more widespread than previously thought. The AP said the measures affected “hundreds of thousands” of Uighur women.

The AP also found that a major reason Uighurs were sent to camps was being deemed to have too many children.

The government ordered one Chinese-born Kazakh woman to get an IUD inserted after her third child, the AP said. She was later told to pay a $2,685 fine for having more than two children.

The AP said it spoke with 15 Uighurs and Kazakhs who said they knew people who had been interned or jailed for having too many children.

Human-rights activists outside the Chinese Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 5.
Pierre Crom/Getty Images

Additionally, the AP said, citing several former detainees, that “women are subjected to forced IUDs and what appear to be pregnancy prevention shots.”

“Many felt dizzy, tired or ill, and women stopped getting their periods,” the AP reported. “After being released and leaving China, some went to get medical check-ups and found they were sterile.”

From 2016 to 2018, the number of sterilizations rose sevenfold in Xinjiang, the AP said.

The birth rate in Xinjiang has plummeted in recent years, largely as a result of the crackdown: It fell by nearly 24% in 2019, the AP said.

Protesters rally in support of the Uighur people in Hong Kong in December.
REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

“The parents of three or more” are “ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines,” the AP said. “Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children.”

Beijing’s mission to erase Uighur culture

Beijing is on a mission to erase non-Han Chinese culture. As Business Insider’s Alexandra Ma previously reported, it “sees all Uighur people as terrorists” and often uses religious extremism as a reason to crack down on them.

The government has harnessed tech to monitor the population, including installing spyware on Uighurs’ phonesidentifying them via a file-sharing app, and installing hundreds of thousands of facial-recognition cameras across Xinjiang.

A Chinese government official scanning a QR code on the wall of a house in Xinjiang, giving him access to the residents’ personal information.
Xinjiang state radio via Human Rights Watch

At the camps, prisoners are forced to redecorate their homes to make them look traditionally Chinese and to sing propaganda songs to get food.

Prisoners are also subjected to medical experiments. China has been accused of harvesting the organs of some Uighurs. It has denied the claim.

Last week, the spotlight on China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims intensified after John Bolton, the former US national security adviser, wrote in his new tell-all book that President Donald Trump said Chinese President Xi Jinping “should go ahead with building the camps,” adding that Trump thought it “was exactly the right thing to do.”

Shortly after reports about Bolton’s book were published, Trump signed a bill to sanction China over its oppression of Uighurs.

Muslim Leaders Are Betraying the Uighurs


Empty streets. Sprawling encampments in the desert nearby, spoken of in hushed whispers. That’s what a modern terror regime looks like.

More than 1 million Muslim Uighurs in the Xinjiang region of China, their native land, are believed to have been interned in so-called reeducation camps by the Chinese authorities. The number may be as high as 2 or 3 million—out of a population of 11 million. Trapped along with them are Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Uzbeks, other Muslim minorities, though in smaller numbers. The Uighurs still on the outside are living in one of the world’s most pervasive and heavy-handed surveillance regimes, in which the camps are just one form of containment and punishment. Uighurs live in constant fear of arbitrary detention and can expect swift retribution for any expression of Turkic or Muslim identity—to the absurd extent that giving your child a traditional Muslim name is illegal.

Yet when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the self-styled defender of Muslims worldwide, visited China last week, state media reported that he said all the people in Xinjiang were “living happily” there, thanks to China’s general upward economic trajectory. Erdogan’s attitude is all too typical of the approach taken by the world’s most prominent Muslim leaders toward the Uighurs.

Erdogan’s buddy-buddy act with Chinese President Xi Jinping came despite a proclamation by the Turkish Foreign Ministry in February. “It is no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks incurring arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in internment camps and prisons. Uighurs who are not detained in these camps are under heavy pressure,” the statement read. The ministry insisted that Turkey had raised the issue with Beijing.

Beijing reacted forcefully to the gesture, and Ankara folded without hesitation. Erdogan’s priority is now reviving historical links and “strengthening cooperation” between Turkey and China, as Turkey is bidding for a key role in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Any road or rail channel between China and Turkey would have to go through Xinjiang, the westernmost part of China, so, in Ankara’s view, a shared faith, history, and kinship with the Turkic Uighurs should not get in the way of China’s handling of the local population. Ordinary Turks are strong supporters of Uighur rights, but Erdogan has a country to run—and he will not get sentimental about the issue. Muslim solidarity is a good campaign slogan and good international public relations, but that seems about as far as it goes for Turkey and others.

Pakistan, just across the border from Xinjiang, emerged as a country in 1947 specifically to be a place of refuge for Muslims. Since then, the country’s political, military, and religious leaders have taken it upon themselves to champion Islam and defend Muslims wherever they may be. Pakistan is, after all, the only Muslim nuclear state, so, by at least one measure, it has the most powerful military and the greatest capacity to intervene on behalf of oppressed Muslims anywhere.

Except, perhaps, if those Muslims live in China. Some go as far as describing Pakistan as a client state of China. Regardless, in an otherwise hugely fractured country and society, there is one thing everyone from military intelligence to radical preachers to politicians agree on: Chinese investment is vital for the country’s development and perhaps necessary even just to have enough economic activity to sustain the state and its massive army. That’s why there has been silence out of Islamabad—and why Prime Minister Imran Khan pretended not to even know about the issue when asked. Pakistani men married to Uighur women have seen their spouses disappear into the camps but received no aid from their government. China has been running a vehement propaganda campaign on the issue, spearheaded from its embassy—and spying on Uighurs in Pakistan itself.

That’s why there has been silence out of Islamabad—and why Prime Minister Imran Khan pretended not to even know about the issue when asked.

Nor can Uighurs expect much sympathy from their other Turkic Muslim neighbors across the border in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, or any of the other Central Asian republics. They may share the religion of Islam, and even a common ethnic and cultural history, but all the governments in the region are looking to curry favor with Beijing as China is building its Belt and Road westward.

On the one hand, there are the hard geopolitical realities of having a landlocked country dependent on powerful neighbors for trade. On the other, there is the local governments’ predilection to lock up their own citizens. These countries hardly have the moral standing to censure China, even if they had the capacity to do so. Diplomatic pressure behind the scenes, coupled with public outcry in their home countries, has ensured the release of Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and others from the camps—but that sympathy doesn’t extend to Uighurs themselves.

What about the Muslim world’s most prominent spokespeople? Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt are far away from China and not as dependent on its goodwill as its neighbors. They proclaim themselves leaders of the Muslim world and guardians of the global ummah, expected to come to the aid of oppressed Muslim people. They are certainly quick to rattle sabers, issue fatwas, and call jihads in other instances of slights against the faithful—most prominently regarding the Palestinians but also in Kashmir and Myanmar.

But they say nothing about the Uighurs. Despite having its security and trade guaranteed by the United States, and claiming global leadership on Muslim matters worldwide in its role as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saudi Arabia has absolutely nothing to say about the Uighurs.

Iran styles itself as a neo-Rashidun state—fashioned in the same way as the first of the four caliphates after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. And just like the first caliphate it believes in the process of carving up a role for itself as the dominant regional power in the Middle East. But if China has to lock up an entire Muslim population in lands once deeply influenced by the Persian Empire, Tehran is hardly going to argue.

Egypt, the great cultural home of Arabic Islam, has taken this one step further: It has gone as far as detaining and deporting Uighurs back to China at the behest of Beijing.

Advocacy of Islam and of Muslim togetherness and solidarity is the claimed moral basis of each of these countries, as each harks back to a historical time when it was the center of the Muslim world. Today, each and every one of them is supplicant to China—even if there is no need.

To top it all off, even the (ironically named) Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is keeping silent on the Uighurs. Cooperation is all well and good, but as things stand, for all these countries and their leaders, cooperation which China is more valuable than cooperation along religious lines.

In the Middle East, even the countries that can rely on the United States for protection and trade look to China to include them in the Belt and Road trade network. The hard fact of the matter is that all the land-bound routes on the Belt and Road go through Xinjiang. So nobody wants there to be any instability in the region that might hinder trade—to say nothing of the downsides of upsetting Beijing on the issue.

Emerging Muslim-majority countries outside the Middle East—such as Malaysia and especially Indonesia, a country firmly on an upward economic trajectory and a country with the largest Muslim population, respectively, and both natural allies of the United States in their shared efforts to contain China in Southeast Asia—have perhaps the most latitude and incentive to speak out for the Uighurs. After all, the less trade traffic goes through Xinjiang, the more has to go through waters controlled by them. But even they have succumbed to Beijing’s checkbook. While the oppositions in both countries have sometimes spoken out on behalf of the Uighurs, that may well disappear should they get into government.

This position may be pragmatic. But it stands in stark contrast with the Muslim world’s response to actual and even just claimed injustices against Muslims committed by Western countries or Israel.

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories is terrible and by now an overt process of ethnic cleansing. But Palestinians are not detained in reeducation camps and are not subject to the same degree of relentless surveillance and cultural erasure. The Uighurs in Xinjiang have it worse. Yet no ayatollah or imam is calling for China to be wiped off the face of the Earth.

Western countries waging dumb culture wars around hijabs and burkas is of acute concern when it comes to how safe, welcome, and free Muslims feel to practice their faith. Similarly concerning is the increased Islamophobia and occasionally violent tensions between Muslim and other communities in the United States and elsewhere in the West.

Yet the so-called “infidels” and “crusaders” have been much more forthright and explicit in their concerns for the safety of the Uighurs, even though many of them have just as much to gain from trade and good relations with China as the so-called “defenders of the faith.” Even when they recognize that they have little power and influence over Chinese policy in Xinjiang, and that making a principled stand is practically futile, many Western leaders have nonetheless spoken up—although there are also shameful exceptions, such as New Zealand. They act not on the basis of shared faith but of shared humanity.

There is no doubt that if Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and all the rest had nothing to gain from China, there would have been several jihads called against Beijing by now. Calling for wars against nonbelievers who oppress Muslims is one of history’s most reliable way to popularity for any Muslim leader.

But when Beijing wants to be your friend, Muslim solidarity becomes just an inconvenient anachronism. For all the discourse in the Muslim world that Western governments are morally corrupt and hypocritical about human rights—and the West certainly has grave lapses in its commitment to universal values—Muslim governments barely even try to pretend that religious solidarity requires them to speak out for their fellow Uighur Muslims. Nor do they offer safe refuge for those in need.

Yet the supreme irony is that Donald Trump’s administration has been the most robust in its censure of Beijing over its treatment of the Uighurs. Let that sink in. The administration of a man who called for the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” has shown more moral fiber and human solidarity with the Uighurs of Xinjiang than every single major leader of a Muslim country anywhere in the world.

The United States had a lot less to lose doing that, for sure—and the general turn against China may also have contributed. And when even an American administration that is instinctively hostile to Muslims has been moved to speak out for the Uighurs on humanitarian grounds, it exposes the hollow echo of the Muslim world’s incessant, empty mantras of Muslim solidarity.