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Islam and Islamophobia – and why the Left has got it wrong both in China and Western Europe

Author: Omer Ghazi
Publication: Dailyo.in
Date: November 13, 2018
URL:      https://www.dailyo.in/politics/islam-and-islamophobia-uyghurs-muslims-china-western-europe-angela-merkel-theresa-may/story/1/27758.html

In the last few years, China has faced harsh scrutiny from numerous Human Rights Groups, including the United Nation Human Rights Council, for its treatment of religious minority population – the Uyghur Muslims – in Xinjiang district. Despite denial and obfuscation by Chinese officials, there are harrowing reports and firsthand accounts of blatant human rights violation inside the “re-education camps” designed to integrate the Uyghur community into the mainstream political narratives.

On the other hand, Western Europe has opened its gates to hordes of migrants who are not shying away from expressing their dreams of establishing a Caliphate in Europe, and subsequently, in rest of the world.

From Angela Merkel to Theresa May and from Emmanuel Macron to Sadiq Khan, the apologia for Islamic radicalism does not seem to end anytime soon. And the blasphemy laws in accordance with Sharia law are also finding their way into the European Court of Human Rights as well.

Let’s take a look at the ideological roots of the Uyghur population, why the methods adopted by Chinese officials are never going to work, how Western Europe is committing cultural suicide by succumbing to radical Islam and why the Left has got it wrong in both these situations.

Uyghur Community is a Turkish ethnic group who have their own Asian Turkic language that is very much similar to Uzbek. They follow Sunni Islam and post the 1980s, China saw an upsurge in the number of mosques, Islamic dressings, and debates for proselytising.

It is not news for anybody that Communist regimes have never been huge proponents of free speech, religious freedom and non-conformist views. To add fuel to the fire, with the rise in Muslim population inside Xinjiang district, a separatist movement got initiated just like everywhere else in the world.

As the hostility grew, 2009 saw a violent clash between Uyghurs and Han Chinese population followed by the killing of 33 people by Uyghur separatists in 2014 in a train station in Kunming. Moreover, the bombing of a train station in Urumqi that killed 46 people was dubbed as “planned terrorist attack” to demand outright secession from China.

An SUV drove over a crowd in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and burst in flames killing five people, and the Uyghur suspects who got arrested were in possession of knives and flags proclaiming Jihad. As per a report published in the Washington Post: “Separatists who seek full independence from China call the Xinjiang region “East Turkestan” and want the right to govern themselves”.

This was a little more than Chinese officials could take and they orchestrated their camps to suppress seditious views and started portraying Islam as a mental illness. As part of their “re-education”, Uyghur Muslims are reportedly forced to shave their beards, abandon scarves, give up Koran, smoke, drink, eat pork and sing Chinese National Anthem.

There are reports of one million Uyghurs subjected to mass incarceration, torture and cultural humiliation for their religious beliefs. Uyghur Muslims even have to pass through special metal detectors and apply for a convenience card if they wish to leave the town.

Communist persecution of religious minorities might not be a surprise but what is surprising is the deafening silence from 52 Muslim countries, neither of whom branded persecution of a million Muslims by China as Islamophobia. In fact, Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, who was denouncing Islamophobia in Europe merely months ago, was seen in the company of Chinese PM Xi Jinping asking for aid, as millions of Muslims were being tortured while they spoke.

The United States demanded answers from Chinese officials which were denied by Chinese vice foreign minister Le Yucheng as “politically driven accusations from a few countries that are fraught with biases.” It is also ironical that the United Nations had Saudi Arabia as the head of UNHRC as it urged upon China to free Uyghur detainees. After all, Saudi Arabia and China are each other’s mirror images in their treatment of religious minorities.

On the other hand, Western Europe, for reasons best known to its politicians, is succumbing to radical Islam faster than you can say “Islamophobia”. Anyone espousing securing borders to protect national integrity is branded as a Nazi and racist and any criticism of radical Islam is branded as hate speech.

In Britain, people are reportedly arrested in the middle of the night if they make a single tweet or Facebook post expressing contempt for Islamic extremism. In 2016 alone, 3300 people were arrested in the UK alone for “offensive messages” online while Tommy Robinson was convicted for merely stating facts in public.

Things are not any better in France either, where a right-wing politician, Marine Le Pen was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to see if her mental health could be a risk to the public – all because she made a tweet criticising the ISIS.

The methods adopted by Chinese officials will not work because mass incarceration only leads to strengthening of beliefs, an individual becomes more defensive for one’s beliefs and more convinced of its veracity when subjected to cultural humiliation. This method has been tried and failed umpteen times throughout history – and if anything China is merely strengthening its separatist movement in efforts to curb it.

Western Europe, on the other hand, is nurturing a huge threat to freedom of speech and religious freedom by genuflecting in front of radical Islam, because if Sharia law gets implemented throughout Europe, the religious minorities and subversive European individuals would be treated the same way as Uyghur Muslims are being treated in China.

China is treating Islam like a mental illness and Western Europe is treating Islamophobia like a mental illness, what both of these extremists from the Left do not understand is that you can neither kill an idea by torturing its adherents nor you can integrate its followers by banning its criticism.

- Omer Ghazi is a blogger who takes special interest in history, philosophy and geopolitics. He co-founded Vicharak, an organisation that spreads awareness about social evils and is currently serving as its Vice President. When he is not writing articles on culture and religion, he enjoys playing the drums and writing rap.
 
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