Visit Xinjiang ourselves? Stop playing propaganda with Uighurs, Malaysian Muslim youth group tells Beijing

Jerry Choong
ABIM president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said the Xinjiang minority Muslim community were widely known to be under Chinese persecution and faced atrocities that had been well documented by recognised international bodies. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — The Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim) today called on the Chinese government to stop “playing with political propaganda” concerning the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang by inviting Malaysians to visit the province.

Abim president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said the Xinjiang minority Muslim community were widely known to be under Chinese persecution and faced atrocities that had been well documented by recognised international bodies.

“As far as this issue is concerned, we from the international communities analyze carefully the international reports by international bodies such as United Nations (UN) and Amnesty International, and the international mainstream media which have recorded the gross infringement of fundamental rights of the Uighur people,” he said in a statement.

Faisal was responding to an open invitation from a Chinese government official Tang Tang, to visit China and see the “beautiful, peaceful and prosperous real Xinjiang with your own eyes” following a mass demonstration by Malaysians near the embassy here last Friday.

Faisal also said Abim has taken time to study the “draconian” laws enforced in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Regulation on De-extremification 2017, pointing out that several of its provisions include prohibiting Muslims from wearing hijabs, keeping beards, or promoting the claim that the concept of halal interfered with the secular lives of others.

“These oppressive provisions of law have given space for the Chinese authorities to abuse the fundamental rights of the Uighur by interpreting any religious practice as equivalent to the definition or as a symbol of extremism and radicalism.

“Similarly, Article 4 of said provision also indicates the government's persistence in making the religion of Islam more Chinese, which is totally against the spirit of religious freedm and belief of the people when there are unreasonable interferences of Muslim religious affairs,” he said.

Faisal also suggested an alternative for the Chinese authorities to resolve Xinjiang's issues by allowing the UN to independently observe all situations in Xinjiang with reasonable access to all sources of information without any interference from the state.

“Abim is open to a frank dialogue and positive engagements with the Chinese government if the issues raised above are to be addressed transparently and in good faith. In fact, the stuffed panda and flowers brought by Abim during the protest the other day symbolised our peaceful intention to achieve those commitments,” he said.

On December 27, some 600 Malaysian Muslims marched to Jalan Ampang near the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur after Friday prayers to protest China's alleged abuse of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

The demonstration saw five NGOs participating, with Abim leading three others and taking a moderate, reconciliatory tone, while the other standalone was by hardline pro-caliphate group Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia, who demanded the Malaysian government sever ties with Beijing and declare jihad if China refuses to listen.

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