Clerics stand up for rights of Uyghur Muslims

July 14, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani and Ayatollah Yousef Sanei have issued separate statements condemning the ethnic violence in China’s Xinjiang region that has left 184 people dead so far.

Chinese police shot and killed two Uyghur men and wounded a third on Monday after they attacked officers who broke up a street fight. The crisis began on July 5 when Chinese police cracked down on a peaceful demonstration held by Muslims in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Unfortunately, a crime has happened in China the dimensions of which are “greater and more horrific” than what happened to the Muslim woman in Germany for wearing hijab, Ayatollah Hamedani said in his statement.
It is incumbent upon every Muslim not to remain indifferent to any injustice committed against a Muslim, no matter where in the world it occurs, “either in the West or the East.”
The Chinese government has called the incident a sectarian conflict, but its support for the rival group, the massacre of Muslims, the closure of mosques show that it is an anti-Muslim conspiracy and Muslims should not remain silent, he added.
Even though China has established good economic and political relations with Muslim nations, Muslims should make no differentiation between the East and the West and should not remain silent about this issue, he noted.
“We not only strongly condemn this crime, but we also ask all Muslims and liberal persons around the world to express their strong protest over this crime.”
The ayatollah also asked the Chinese government to bring the culprits behind the incident to book and to respect the civil rights of all its citizens.
And it is expected that the Islamic Republic will adopt a proper stance toward the issue and fulfill its Islamic duty to help the Muslim brothers and sisters, he stated.
The violence began when Uyghurs, who were protesting the deaths of Uyghur factory workers in a brawl in southern China, clashed with police in Urumqi. Crowds scattered throughout the city, attacking ethnic Han Chinese and setting cars on fire.
Of the dead, the government has said 137 Han Chinese and 46 Uyghurs died, with one minority Hui Muslim also killed. Uyghurs say they believe many more from their ethnic group died in the government crackdown.
Unforgivable sin
Ayatollah Sanei said silence about the massacre of Chinese Muslims is an “unforgivable sin”.
The ayatollah said he was deeply influenced by the Chinese government’s “inhumane and harsh” treatment of Muslims.
Instead of meeting the needs of Muslims, who form a considerable segment of the Chinese population, Beijing has tried to blame foreign powers for the protests and it is suppressing popular protests under a news blackout.
The World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought also issued a statement condemning the suppression of Muslims who were only protesting against discrimination in China.
Its statement said it is the duty of Islamic states to act in a more united way in response to the recent events. It added that silence about such events will be regarded as disrespect for human rights.
The rights of people in every part of the world must be respected and nobody should be subjected to injustice.
The World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought added that it expects China to treat all its ethnic groups equally and to respect the civil rights of all its Muslim citizens