3 reasons American Muslims must speak out for China’s Uighur Muslims

1. It is our Islamic obligation to do so

“O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well- acquainted with all that ye do” (Quran 4:135).

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim).

2. We have the freedom to do so

Muslims in America are beneficiaries of the blessing of freedom of religion. This is a core part of our belief as Muslims (Quran 2:256), as well as of our Constitution as Americans. This is also the very freedom that Uighur Muslims have been stripped of.

Practicing Islam has been made forbidden in parts of China, with individuals caught praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab, a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion, facing the threat of arrest.

This is unacceptable for anyone anywhere in the world. It also violates Article 36 of China’s constitution, which says that citizens “enjoy freedom of religious belief”, and bans discrimination based on religion. As well, no one in the country, including state bodies, public organizations, or individuals are permitted to force citizens to believe or not believe in any specific faith.

3. Our voice as American Muslims counts - a lot

As people of faith, fellow Muslims to the Uighurs, as well as Americans living in a democracy, we are in a unique position to speak up on their behalf. And our government can and will listen.

For example, through the efforts of the American Muslim-led Burma Task Force, the United States House of Representative recently voted in favor of H.R. 1091, a bipartisan measure that declares the Burmese military atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority genocide.

Your voice matters. Our voice matters. Your voice counts. Our voice counts.


References

1. China passes law to make Islam 'compatible with socialism

2. Religion in China

3. Burma Task Force applauds U.S. House for acting on atrocities in Burma by passing H. Res. 1091

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