Connect with us

News and Views

Bangladesh in Turmoil | War Crimes Protests Escalate

The death toll from riots that have enraged the streets of Dhaka for over a month has risen to 61. Fresh set of protests were sparked when Delwar Hossain Sayedee, a politician and religious leader, was sentenced to death last week.  Police and protestors have clashed violently leading to these deaths; hundreds more have been injured. The police have been accused of firing openly on protesters according to witnesses on the ground.

Protests erupted over a month ago when the Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunal sentenced Abdul Qader Molla to life imprisonment. He is a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami; the nation’s largest Islamic political party and the current opposition. Government officials, members of the ruling Awami League party, and segments of the public reacted with outrage that Mollah was not sentenced to death. Large crowds assembled in the Shahbag area of Dhaka demanding the death penalty for Molla.

Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a domestic court, was set up in 2010 to try people suspected of crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. The brutal civil war led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands; estimates vary between 300,000 and 3 million. Murder, rape and bloodshed were rampant during this period. Some estimates suggest over 200,000 women were raped by militias.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

The Jamaat-e-Islami party, part of the current opposition, is widely viewed in the country as a supporter of Pakistan during the war and their leaders are accused of perpetrating war crimes. However, the party contends that while some of its leaders did not want a new state, it did not commit any such atrocities.

The war crimes tribunal has been criticized as being politically motivated and out of step with international standards. All of the 10 people indicted for war crimes by the tribunal are opposition politicians, eight of them from the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Human Rights Watch has found trials conducted thus far to be replete with irregularities. The defense has alleged intimidation and harassment of their witnesses, including the November 2012 abduction of a witness from the gates of the courthouse. In December 2012 The Economist published a series of intercepted communications between the senior judge and an external adviser, suggesting close and prohibited collaboration between the judge, prosecutors, and the government.

In response to the mass protests calling for the execution of Molla, originally sentenced to life imprisonment, Bangladesh’s parliament amended a law allowing the state to appeal any verdict in war-crimes trials it deemed inadequate and not in sync with public opinion. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was reported by media as saying she would talk to the judges to convince them to take the sentiments of the protesters into account in formulating their decisions.

While recognizing the need to serve justice for war crimes of 1971, human rights organizations have strongly criticized Bangladesh’s government for making these legal amendments to please protestors. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated that that the tribunal does not adhere to international standards of a fair trial and due process. It urged the government to serve justice, instead of perpetrating vengeance.

Amnesty International has also condemned the move. Human Rights Watch stated that these amendments violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR states that “no one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offense for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country.”

This episode has sharply widened the secular and religious divide in the country. Some view it as a movement for righting a historical wrong, while other considers it to be a veiled, government-sponsored attempt to curb the influence of Islam. Pro-execution supporters have been accused of blasphemy and insulting Islam using their platforms.

Protests and strikes have intensified since Delwar Hussian Sayedee was sentenced to death on March 2nd; he is vice-president of the Jamaat and a vocal Muslim orator.  Supporters of Sayedee attacked police and government offices, uprooted railroad tracks, and set fire to trains and houses belonging to government supporters. Police responded with bullets and tear gas. Violence continues in Dhaka and protestor from both sides continue rally support to advance their objectives.

Compiled from Al-Jazeera, Human Rights Watch, The Guardian and BBC.

 

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Waleed Ahmed writes on current affairs and politics for MuslimMatters. He focuses on Muslim minorities, human rights and the Middle-Eastern conflict. Based out of Montreal, he's currently pursuing a Ph.D. at McGill University in fundamental physics. Waleed also has a keen interest in studying Arabic and French. He spends his spare time reading, playing basketball and praying for Jon Stewart to run in the next presidential election. contact: waleed dot ahmed at muslimmatters.org

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Siraaj

    March 7, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Great summary, had no idea this was all happening, you wouldn’t know from US mainstream media sources at all, jzk for compiling this.

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      March 8, 2013 at 1:11 AM

      waiyyak. Yeah, its surprising how little coverage this has gotten. I myself didn’t know about it until Hena brought it up. Had to look quite hard to find news stories about this.

  2. Avatar

    Abu Moosaa

    March 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Assalaamu’alaikum, this is for you to be aware of the plight of our
    brothers and sisters in Bangladesh. Please remember them in your Dua
    and all of the Muslim Ummah, that Allah rectifies our affairs.

    The oppressive, unjust secular, Awami League Government of Bangladesh
    has been oppressing anyone who is practicing the religion and calling
    to it and more particularly anyone who is a member of the Islamic
    political party, Jamati Islami. Accusing the leaders of this party to
    be collaborators in the 1971 war against Pakistan, then East Pakistan
    and West Pakistan (now known as Bangladesh) in criminal acts of
    killing, rape etc during the war. Where Bangladeshies fought for
    liberation to protect their language. There is no specific evidence
    that individual leaders of Jamati Islami are guilty of criminal acts.
    The real criminals if found guilty of these acts, no doubt are to be
    punished. Aim of the Awami League is however to suppress and demonise
    any opposition party, especially Jamati Islami, in their mids they
    have non-Believers, Hindus, atheist assisting them.

    As Muslims who wish to follow the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of
    al-Rasool sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam upon the methodology and
    understanding of our Salaf as-Salih, from the Companions and all those
    who follow them. We, who are traversing their path are well aware that
    Islam, Khilafah, Shareah, Islamic State will not come or return
    through present western system of democratic secular politics. Rather
    Khilafah will only return if we Muslims in general and as a large
    portion of the Ummah, return to the correct and original Islam and
    learn and practice it. And ultimately Allah will decree an Islamic
    society/Khilafah when the time is right and when He wishes. We are not
    to get involve in kufr politics, but rather learn, act and give Dawah,
    educate the people and advice the government, rulers, kings,
    presidents etc, with knowledge, sincerity, wisdom and fair preaching,
    in person, in writing and by any other means.. If they accept, we
    thank Allah, if they dont, we have done our part. Through this way
    Khilafah will come. Insha’Allah. As this is the prophetic way.

    Politics is part of Islam and has its own principles, rules and
    regulations, time and place. Just like any other aspects of Islam,
    such as Jihad, enjoyning the good and forbidding the evil etc. Jamati
    Islami have participated in the present western system of politics to
    bring about an Islamic country with no success. Compromising the
    issues of the deen. Even forming a coalition with the second biggest
    political party in Bangladesh a few years ago, Bangladesh National
    Party (BNP) yet again with no success to bring about a peaceful just
    society, let alone a Khilafah state. We still find the country is
    corrupted, people are generally ignorant in the deen, shirk, bidah,
    superstition, magic is widespread, people having no concern for the
    deen, . Thus the country is in turmoil and poverty stricken. Only a
    minority following the methodology of the early Muslims can be found
    in certain parts of the country.

    Having said that, these are our brothers and we should be concerned
    and help them whatever way we can.

    Inside story – Bangladesh …most important to listen from 7:30
    minutes to 10:15minutes
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWlTVRPFQDM

  3. Avatar

    Abu Moosaa

    March 7, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Bangladesh and Di-Islamisation
    http://www.islam21c.com/politics/8847-bangladesh-and-di-islamisation?utm_source=Islam21c+2012&utm_campaign=3d7285473b-rabi&utm_medium=email

    You may know that Bangladesh is now going through the worst crisis in its
    history. This third largest Muslim country of over 160 million people was
    once one of the two parts of Pakistan which was created to give space to
    aspiring Muslims for a separate homeland.

    However, the leaders of Pakistan had failed to realise the founding
    principles of the country leading to a war of secession and eventual break
    up in 1971; and the birth of Bangladesh as an independent state.

    During that era, the nation became divided into two, those who supported
    the break up of Pakistan and those who did not. All the Islamic parties and
    Ulema of the country wanted to maintain the unity of Pakistan in order to
    be secured from Indian hegemony. On the other hand, the liberation war was
    led by the left-leaning secularists under the close supervision of Indian
    military and intelligence.

    Since the independence, communists and ultra-secularists are working
    closely to uproot Islam from the fabric of the society and its moderate
    reference to the constitution and other spheres of life.

    Although the previous efforts for de-islamisation were harmful, no doubt,
    but the present government, with the blessings of the powerful neighbour,
    for the first time in the history of Bangladesh, was formed as a direct
    result of communist-secularist coalition with an agenda to defame and
    degrade Islam. A large number of the cabinet ministers of the present
    government are atheist and was heavily involved in communist movements.
    They not only hate Islam but also want to wipe out the Islamic symbol and
    practices forever.

    Needless to mention that almost 89% of population are Muslim; however, the
    situation today has become so dire that Islam, is treated in Bangladesh as
    if it is something alien or foreign . Young men are discriminated in the
    work place and on the street because of their practice of Islam and
    sporting of beard.

    There are times when the teachers forced the Muslim pupils to take their
    headscarf off in front of other students or at times headscarf were torn
    apart on the street in broad daylight. This amounts to almost a ban on
    young women with hijab entering the school/college/university/work place.
    Many had to stop education or work to save their belief. Prayer facilities
    within the educational premises had been shut on health and safety pretext.
    For the first time Islamic Studies has been withdrawn from the curriculum
    during this government.

    Police had been raiding mosques and other places of worships, mainly to
    harass Islamic dawah activists belonging to opposition parties and
    arresting over 20,000, many thousands were tortured and hundreds went
    missing or shot dead by the state intelligence and police. Alongside the
    government, a large section of journalists, intellectuals, writers and
    media outlets have been working day and night to fulfil their anti-Islamic
    agenda.

    The process of de-Islamisation has reached its climax when recently the
    Muslims of Bangladesh were stunned by discovering most abhorrent blogs and
    facebook writings degrading Allah, the Prophet and everything Muslims hold
    dear. No one in the 1400 years history of Islam ever dared to vilify Islam
    to this extent A group of atheist writers and bloggers are promoted and
    protected by state to defame Islam and Islamic. Despite the order from the
    highest court and call from the Imams and Khatibs around to shut down
    those Islam-bashing websites, the government not only turned a blind eye
    rather used encouraged such bloggers in Shahabagh protest to chant vile
    slogans such as; ‘Hang Islamic leaders and scholars’, ‘ban the Qur’an’ and
    ‘Ban islamic organisations’.

    When on Friday the February 22nd the faithful came out en mass to protest
    against such vulgar attack on Islam, the police attacked the peaceful
    procession and shot over a dozen to death. A number of Imams and Khatibs
    were harassed and beaten inside the mosques by the ruling party thugs and
    police and hundreds arrested. However, on Thursday the 28th February an
    unprecedented mass-killing of Muslim protesters took place all around the
    country and 74 people were mercilessly shot dead while protesting against
    the unjust sentence of death verdict imposed upon the most popular Islamic
    scholar, Mawlana Delwar Hossain Saydee.

    Since last three years, the government had set up a highly controversial
    tribunal to prosecute the pro-Islamic opposition leaders under the pretext
    of crimes against humanity committed during the liberation war in 1971. The
    controversial tribunal had already sentenced two prominent ulema, Sheikh
    Abul Kalam Azad and Shiekh Dilowar Hussain Sayedee, to death by hanging for
    no other reason but for Islamic dawah.

    The entire international community, international NGOs, Jurists, Human
    Rights organisations including the United Nations had severely criticised
    the trial process and termed it flawed and not in accordance with the
    international standard but the government took no heed as they just want to
    hang the Islamic leaders.

    Presently, a public campaign has been orchestrated by intelligence and
    popular left-wing medias to ban not only the Islamic parties but also the
    businesses, banks and newspapers and media outlets owned by pro-Islamic
    block were attacked, smashed and burned down by the ruling party thugs
    watched by the police.

    The picture above is a small part of the large and alarming reality; if our
    brothers in Ummah do not come forward to save 160 million Muslims and their
    faith from such onslaught and carnage, we will all stand responsible in the
    eyes of Allah Subhanahu Ta’ala.
    **

    ——————————

    • Avatar

      Gibran

      March 7, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      “All the Islamic parties and
      Ulema of the country wanted to maintain the unity of Pakistan in order to
      be secured from Indian hegemony. On the other hand, the liberation war was
      led by the left-leaning secularists under the close supervision of Indian
      military and intelligence.”

      You see, Ulema should always stand up to oppression no? Why is it that these Ulema haven’t gone after the war criminals? Or have they?

      And how do you know Saeedi is innocent? Why not create an Islamic state there and then address the charges against them.

      Bangladeshi people want justice. Think about all those thugs in Pakistan that committed these atrocities and haven’t been given any justice…why not all go after them. I’m not saying don’t go after secularists and Islam haters-they are truly evil. But also go after the war criminals.

    • Avatar

      Gibran

      March 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Fellow Bangla Muslims…..how about we seek Allah’s aid? Firstly dua, secondly, we need to know that the secularist/atheists are our enemies…

      Secondly, we need to know that we cannot be defending war criminals. SubhanAllah, if charges are brought against a man, the burden of proof is on the claimant and it’s probable that in this trial injustice has occurred so we need to redo the trial…but we cannot just claim Saeedi is innocent! We need to put him in a new proper trial and be just before Allah, even if he is a scholar. If he committed those crimes, inshaa Allah his victims will get all his good deeds…

      We should not let the injustice of the secularists cause us as Muslims to be unjust.

      • Avatar

        Aboo Moosa

        March 8, 2013 at 5:57 AM

        Wa alaikumussalam wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatu Gibran. I’m sure you have heard the phrase: Innocent, until proven guilty’ …The trials taking place in Bangladesh against so called war criminals, is it fair, have you read about it, their procedure? etc…why are they not than tried in UN war criminial courts and not in Bdesh? Just cause jahil young supporters of Awami Leaugue want something do we bow to it? It has to be proven that a certain individual is guilty of committing the crime, proof has to be established.

    • Avatar

      Tanveer Khan

      March 11, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Are the bloggers called the Mukto Mona?

  4. Avatar

    Jamils

    March 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    BANGLADESH is again plunging itself into another phase of political turmoil and violence.

    The decision by the Dhaka-based International Criminal Tribunal (ICT) to award capital punishment to two key leaders of the Bangladeshi Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on charges of war crimes during the March-December 1971 civil war in the former East Pakistan has triggered large-scale violent protests and clashes with police killing and injuring a large number of people.

    It must be asked why the Awami League (AL) government of Sheikh Hasina decided to establish the ICT and try those whom it accused of “collaborating” with the Pakistan Army in the “genocide” of Bengali people during the military operation.

    On Feb 28, the controversial ICT found JI vice-president and former member of parliament Delwar Hossain Sayedee guilty of murder, religious persecution and rape and sentenced him to death. The verdict triggered widespread protests in different parts of Bangladesh and also invited counter-demonstrations by those who supported the court’s verdict.

    In Dhaka’s Shahbagh square, thousands of protesters demanded “exemplary punishment” for war criminals and a ban on the Jamaat. The tribunal is trying a total of nine JI leaders and two members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for their alleged war crimes.

    AL is blamed by its opponents, including the BNP, of transforming Bangladesh into a fascist state by using excessive force against opponents, manipulating the events of 1971 for political consumption and transforming the country’s Islamic identity into a secular one.

    Because of three major reasons, Bangladesh is unable to detach itself from the events of 1971. First, anti-Pakistan rhetoric has become an integral part of Bangladesh’s political discourse. It is one thing which has been used by various regimes since 1971 to remind people of the liberation war and the value of freedom. Dec 16 in Bangladesh is celebrated as Victory Day. In fact, most of the national days celebrated in Bangladesh are based on anti-Pakistan rhetoric.

    Feb 21 is celebrated as Language Day to mark the struggle launched in East Pakistan to oppose the imposition of Urdu as a national language. March 26 is celebrated as Independence Day to mark the launch of the brutal military operation by the West Pakistan-dominated regime to quell the Awami League-led civil disobedience movement.

    Second, some political parties, particularly the Awami League, which fought the liberation war consider it useful to exploit 1971 for political purposes. By diverting people’s attention from ‘real issues’ like corruption, nepotism and bad governance, the AL government is targeting what it calls ‘war criminals’.

    Finally, the sufferings caused to the people of Bangladesh in view of the exploitative and unequal relationship with the West Pakistan-dominated regimes have nurtured anti-Pakistan feelings, which persist even after 41 years of independence from Pakistan. The military operation of 1971 alienated the Bengali population of the former eastern wing, and became the source of Bangladesh’s national identity. It is perceived that no government in Bangladesh can detach itself from the events of 1971 and the liberation struggle because the survival of that country rests predominantly on keeping these memories alive.

    The BNP and other opposition parties in Bangladesh have alleged that the AL, by pursuing a policy of vendetta, wants to eliminate political opponents before the next elections, due in December 2013. By augmenting the level of political polarisation and targeting religious parties, particularly the Jamaat, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has caused her country to plunge into a serious crisis.

    There have been reported attacks on Hindu temples and two Hindu leaders of AL were recently targeted. Islamists in Bangladesh blame India for sponsoring demonstrations supporting the ICT’s verdict against JI leaders. Furthermore, the recent killing of an anti-Islam blogger by five university students and the demand made by Islamic parties to hang other bloggers on charges of blasphemy also indicate a surge of religious extremism in Bangladesh.

    Steps taken by the AL government in the last few years to reverse the process of Islamisation by military dictators, generals Ziaur Rehman and Hossein Mohammad Ershad, during the late 1970s and 1980s have also deepened the conflict between Islamists and secularists.

    Putting the matter in historical perspective, in 1974, as a result of Pakistan’s recognition of Bangladesh and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s visit to Lahore for the Second Islamic Summit Conference in Feb 1974, Dhaka agreed not to press for the trial of 195 Pakistani prisoners of war — detained in Indian PoW camps — on charges of war crimes.

    Pakistan has expressed regret to Bangladesh about the excesses committed during 1971 but has so far refused to tender a full apology. Therefore, one way to keep the issue of 1971 alive was to try the Bengali nationals, termed collaborators, who primarily belonged to the Al Badr and Al Shams wings of Jamaat-i-Islami.

    One plausible way to deal with the 1971 syndrome is to start the process of reconciliation by forming an independent commission to thoroughly investigate excesses committed during the military operation of 1971 by the Pakistan Army as well as the killings of non-Bengalis in East Pakistan by armed Bengalis and the Mukti Bahini.

    The proposed commission, which can be called the Bangladesh-Pakistan Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will help heal the wounds of 1971 in Bangladesh and in Pakistan and will also help improve relations between the two South Asian countries.

    The writer is professor of International Relations, University of Karachi and has authored a study titled Bangladesh and Pakistan: From Conflict to Cooperation.

    http://dawn.com/2013/03/05/bangladesh-1971-syndrome/

  5. Avatar

    Ibn Ashraful

    March 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM

  6. Avatar

    alex

    March 7, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    what a load of right bollocks. supporting rapists is NOT Islamic, this is NOT a war against Islam but holding people accountable for their actions.

    burning trains and uprooting railroads and shooting police is also not Islamic. But who cares, let’s not let facts get in the way of your arguments.

    • Avatar

      Aboo Moosa

      March 8, 2013 at 6:03 AM

      Yes, no doubt you are correct. Even demonstarting is questioinable, is it isalmic. Never the less. We see that teh Awami Government allows their supporters to peacefully demonstrate, yet not Jamati, BNP or any other opposing party, tehy fire on them. These police are worse than Arab police, as the Arab police stopped after a certain level, but these are hungry for money so they are not stopping. Hear and obey the ruler for them cos of poverty. There are Kuffar amongst them aswell supporting this nationalism, bogottry. Islamic studies have beed taken out of its National Curriculum. Yet 90% are Muslims and it is regarded as a muslim country…well may be not any more. Under the banner of democracy the government protects those who insult Islam….So what does this all say, now its Islam and Muslim issue.

  7. Avatar

    Umme Hadi

    March 7, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    People are in the depths of darkness and ignorance….

  8. Avatar

    alex

    March 7, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    According to an Amnesty statement dated Mar 6, 2013 – Over the past week, individuals taking part in strikes called for by Islamic parties have vandalized more than 40 Hindu temples across Bangladesh. Scores of shops and houses belonging to the Hindu community have also been burned down, leaving hundreds of people homeless.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/bangladesh-wave-violent-attacks-against-hindu-minority-2013-03-06

    this is very Islamic.

  9. Avatar

    Aseey/jos

    March 7, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    please are we guilty just because we are muslim. Muslims will we wait until thousand of us have been wiped out? We need to come together as one ummah. forget ancestral glory, nationhood, and any form of tribal baground.
    We need to put the hadith of the prophet(saw) as our daily pledge ‘ you are not a muslim until you love for your brother what you love for yourself ‘.

  10. WAJiD

    WAJiD

    March 7, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Asalaam Alaikum,

    JazakAllah khairun for a timely article.

    A few points:

    – There is NO evidence that the islamic groups committed war crimes. They were against the break up of Pakistan (just as they were originally against the break up of India) but that does not = war crimes.

    – There is NO evidence that Islamic groups have been vandalising non-Muslim temples. In fact, evidence to the contrary with well documented pictures of them guarding the temples from attacks by secular thugs who would then blame the islamic groups for this.

    – The secularists have been vile in their hatred of Islam including making fun of the Prophet (SAW) , aspects of the faith and one of the bloggers who organised the protest going so far as saying that “if Allah came down, we would hang him too.” Nauzubillah.

    • Avatar

      Gibran

      March 26, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      wa alaykumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Yes, it’s not easy to accept that Muslims, the ones who were supporting the implementation of the deen of Truth happened to also slaughter innocent kaffirs and Muslims.

      The revolutionaries aren’t necessarily innocent either. I remember reading that they committed massacres as well.

      If all this is true, it means every group committed atrocities. Just because someone is Muslim does not mean they cannot commit atrocities. We must put them to justice even if they are claiming to support Allah’s deen and even if their opponents are disbelievers.

      Justice, Allah’s justice, is sweet and clean cut. Allah who knows the falling of a leaf can certainly settle every injustice on Yawm ad Din.

      Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Muhammad bin `Aqil heard Jabir bin `Abdullah say, “I was told about a Hadith which a man heard from the Prophet , so I bought a camel and put my saddle on it, then I traveled on it for a month until I came to Ash-Sham, where `Abdullah bin Unays was. I said to the doorkeeper, `Tell him that Jabir is at the door.’ He said, `Jabir bin `Abdullah’ I said, `Yes.’ So he came out, still putting his garment on, and embraced me, and I embraced him, and said: `I heard a Hadith narrated by you, that you heard from the Messenger of Allah about reciprocal punishments. I was afraid that you or I would die before I could hear it.’ He said, `I heard the Messenger of Allah say:

      «يَحْشُرُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ النَّاسَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَوْ قَالَ: الْعِبَادَ عُرَاةً غُرْلًا بُهْمًا»

      (Allah will gather the people — or His servants — on the Day of Resurrection, naked, uncircumcised and Buhman.) I asked, `What is Buhman’ He said,

      لَيْسَ مَعَهُمْ شَيْءٌ، ثُمَّ يُنَادِيهِمْ بِصَوْتٍ يَسْمَعُهُ مَنْ بَعُدَ كَمَا يَسْمَعُهُ مَنْ قَرُبَ: أَنَا الْمَلِكُ، أَنَا الدَّيَّانُ لَا يَنْبَغِي لِأَحَدٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ أَنْ يَدْخُلَ النَّارَ وَلَهُ عِنْدَ أَحَدٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ حَقٌّ حَتَّى أُقِصَّهُ مِنْهُ، وَلَا يَنْبَغِي لِأَحَدٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ أَنْ يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَهُ عِنْدَ رَجُلٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ حَقٌّ حَتَّى أُقِصَّهُ مِنْهُ حَتَّى اللَّطْمَة»

      (They will have nothing with them. Then a voice will call out to them that will be heard by those far away just as easily as it will be heard by those near: “I am the Sovereign, I am the Judge. None of the people of Hell should enter Hell if he is owed something by one of the people of Paradise, until I have settled the matter, and none of the people of Paradise should enter Paradise if he is owed something by one of the people of Hell, until I settle the matter — even if it is only the case of a slap.”) We said, `How will that be, when we have come before Allah barefooted, naked, uncircumcised and having nothing with us’ He said,

      «بِالْحَسَنَاتِ وَالسَّيِّئَات»

      (By ﴿merit for﴾ good deeds, and ﴿recompense﴾ for evil deeds.) Shu`bah narrated from Al-`Awwam bin Muzahim from Abu `Uthman from `Uthman bin `Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah said:

      «إِنَّ الْجَمَّاءَ لَتَقْتَصُّ مِنَ الْقَرْنَاءِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة»

      (The animal who lost a horn will settle the score with the one that has horns on the Day of Resurrection.) It was recorded by `Abdullah the son of Imam Ahmad, and there are corroborating narrations through other routes.
      http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2723&Itemid=73

  11. Avatar

    Ismail

    March 8, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    After the sad incident that took place in India a few months back, it seems that rapists are the ones everyone hates now. So what better way than to accuse your political opponents of that particular crime, eh? The timing of the Bangladeshi government is impeccable and calculated. Today, if someone is accused of rape, most do not want to see any evidence. He is a rapist, kill him! Forget the irregularities in the panel of “experts” compiled by the Awami League, there’s a Muslim who’s just been accused of rape. The secularists are frothing at their mouths, rubbing their hands with glee! Oh, joy!

  12. Avatar

    O H

    March 16, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    The current secular, anti-Islamic political system has to be opposed as much as possible but the problem is Jamaat Islam do not necessarily represent the solution.There is no doubt Awami league is far worse than Jamaat Islam but the latter have to seriously make some reforms if they are to be observed in a more positive light among people. A lot of the negative sentiments regarding Jamaat is due to their own shortcomings & behaviour although Awami league & other secularists have exaggerated & blown out of proportion the negatives of Jamaat Islam. The other problem is large sections of the population are secularist, nationalistic & are against Islam based politics & even though they may want to see the end of oppresive & corrupt governments, many do not want the Islamic Shariah to be established & implemented despite nearly 90% of the population being Muslim. The pictures from the Shahbaq square are really saddening to see as a Muslim. Thousands of people with mass intermingling of sexes, all sorts of un-Islamic behaviour & many may have skipped their obligation of prayer as they scream on top of their lungs for justice.Really sad state of affairs for the Bengali Muslim youth.

    May Allaah replace the current oppresors with people who rule with the Qur’an & Sunnah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Current Affairs

Will The Real Aya Sofia Please Stand Up?

They say history is the biography of great men and women. Well, history is also the story of great buildings. This case is rarely more painfully obvious than when it comes to identity of The Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofia (“the Holy Wisdom”).

Church, Mosque, Museum: the Aya Sofia has lived under many guises over the years and each transformation came hand-in-hand with momentous political change. This year, it was no different.

By reverting to the previous designation of Aya Sofia into a mosque, the Turkish courts have set off a firestorm of controversy across the world. It is understandable that faithful Christians would object. The sense of loss they must feel is the same feeling that many Muslims get when they see the Grand Mosque of Cordoba’s conversion into a cathedral. However, what is confusing is that some Muslims are also conflicted – or even downright hostile – to the idea of the Aya Sofia being used as a mosque.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Why are they upset? Is there weight to their feeling that this was an act that was against the laws and spirit of Islam? How true is it that this was pure political theatre?

A summary of the arguments are detailed below as each point reveals a great deal about us as Muslims today and our current mentality:

The Vatican – a clear example of Museum and Church buildings in one

1. “It should just remain a museum…”

The Aya Sofia IS remaining a museum. The ruling states and the government echoes that it is a mosque and museum but, unfortunately, if you read the headlines you will be given the impression that the museum is being destroyed. This is not the case.

The world is full of buildings with dual functions. The White House is the seat of government and the residence of the President. The Vatican is a museum, a church and the home of the Pope. St Paul’s Cathedral is a tourist attraction as well as functioning church. If Muslims alone were somehow exempt from the ability to combine museum and mosque in one building, then that would be very strange indeed. Yet that is exactly what opponents of the mosque designation are saying.

What opponents for the reversion of the building are arguing for is not for the preservation of the museum – in fact, it will be more accessible than ever by becoming free and open till the late evening – but for the prevention of worship in a building that was built and intended for that very purpose.

2. “It was illegal to turn it into a mosque in the first place…”

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: many Muslims quote the example of Umar (R) and his treatment of the Church of The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. In fact, this is the number one excuse used by many so-called Muslim intellectuals who lazily have projected their own biases on to our pious predecessors. They say, not without a little pious sanctimony, that Umar (R) exemplified that Islam is not a triumphalist religion and – though he could have converted the church into a mosque – he chose not to.

For most of history, it was common practice that any conquering army gained full ownership of the conquered lands. Islamic law was actually quite progressive in this regard, stipulating that property in surrendered lands would remain with their owners and not the conquerors. It was only if a land was taken without surrender, according to Imam Al Qurtubi amongst others, should their properties be forfeit. Jerusalem surrendered and Damascus surrendered. Constantinople – despite multiple attempts requesting it to do so – did not. Therefore, Islamically and according to the norms of the time, the conversion of the Church into a mosque was legal.

This is highlighted by the case of a district of Constantinople called Psamatya (present day Koca Mustafa Pasha) whose residents surrendered to Muhammad Fatih separately. The area had the highest density of extant churches, since none were touched or taken over.

Muhammad Fatih and The Patriarch Genaddios discussing the patriarchate

3. “But it has been a museum for so long now, so why turn it back?”

Some sources say that they have found evidence of the Church being purchased by Muhammad Fatih with his own money. The evidence has yet to be verified by external sources although it is accepted by the Turkish authorities, but even if you withhold it, the established status of the entire complex as a Waqf (Islamic endowment) is definitive. Waqfs cannot be unilaterally taken over or converted to another use.

The reality is that the conversion of the Aya Sofia from mosque to museum was a highly contentious decision taken in a manner that went against the then legal, moral and spiritual standards. It was a state sanctioned action to satisfy a political objective of the hyper-secular post-war Government. This was an injustice and it is not a good look to say that an injustice should be allowed to continue because it has been there for over eight decades.

4. “We don’t need more mosques in Istanbul…”

Would anyone think it reasonable if their local mosque was taken over unilaterally by the Government and then, when they ask for it back, they are brushed off by officials saying, “there are lots of mosques in the city and many are half empty: we are keeping this one.” Of course not. So, if it is not good enough for you, why should it be good enough for anyone else? In fact, this was the argument used by the RSS in taking over the Barbari mosque in India.

A mosque is not a property like every other. It is owned by Allah and not something we are allowed to rationalise or barter away. Allah has no need for even one mosque, but that does not mean we should stop building them or start giving them away. To go by the utilitarian argument, then anything that is not in full use by its owner is fair game for someone else to usurp. We would never accept this for our possessions so how can we accept it for something that does not belong to us?

The hadith about the conquest of Constantinople and praising Muhammad Fatih

5. “This is all a politically motivated…”

Every decision in a public sphere is political, or can be construed to be political, in some way. Building the Aya Sofia into a magnificent cathedral was a political decision by Justinian. Turning it into a mosque upon conquest was also a political decision by Muhammad Fatih. Stopping prayers in the mosque and converting it into a museum was a political decision by Mustafa Kemal. And now, returning the building to use as a mosque and museum is also a political decision by the current Turkish state.

The question is not whether it is a political act to convert the building: it will always have a political dimension. The question is whether you like the politics of someone who was praised by the Prophet ﷺ in a hadith and turned it into a mosque (Muhammad Fatih) or someone who insulted that same Prophet ﷺ as an “immoral Arab” and turned it into a museum (Mustafa Kemal.)

Pick a side.

The Grand Cathedral of Cordoba – formally the Grand Mosque

6. “This will hurt the feelings of non-Muslims and make us look bad.”

This is perhaps the only real argument of them all that has any weight to it. All the previous arguments are intellectual (and less than intellectual) smokescreens for the desire to not hurt the feelings of others – especially when we need all the friends we can get. This is understandable given our current geopolitical situation. This is also why you are more likely to find those Muslims living as minorities objecting to the change of status, reflecting their own precarious situations in their respective countries.

However, if looking at it objectively, we see that this argument also has limitations. Muslims are equally if not more hurt at the ethnic cleansing that took place in Andalusia. Does that mean we get the Al-Hambra or the Cordoba Mosque back? What about the Parthenon – since that used to be a mosque – conquered by the same Muhammad Fatih? What about the Kremlin, where St Basil’s Basilica was made from bricks of a Tatar mosque? And can we have the Philippines back while we are all trying to not offend each other?

Making decisions such as these on the highly subjective grounds of causing offence is not only impractical, but untenable. Many expressions of Islamic faith outside a narrow paradigm of what is palatable to specific audiences, can be seen as offensive to some. If we were to make decisions based first and foremost to protect the comfort of others, you would end up with a set of groundless rituals rather than a faith. It is the equivalent of changing your name to Bob instead of Muhammad since you were worried that even Mo was too exotic. Sometimes, the proper practice of our faith and upholding of our cultural and historical traditions will upset others not because what we are doing is deliberately offensive or wrong, but because we have different values and different standards.

Conclusion

What is most upsetting about the change of use for the Aya Sofia is the double standard at play. Athens has not even one mosque whilst Istanbul has hundreds of churches and synagogues: yet the Greeks are calling the Turks intolerant. The Roman Catholics plundered the Aya Sofia of all treasures and took them to St Marks church in Venice (where they still are to this day): yet it is the Pope that says that he is distressed at the Muslims – who preserved the Byzantine inheritance- for turning it into a mosque and Catholic churches calling for a day of mourning.

All the commentators calling for it to not be converted back into a mosque are also correspondingly mute regarding the Granada Cathedral built on site of a mosque, or the Barbri Mosque turned temple in India, or the Al Ahmar Mosque turned into a bar in Palestine.

But this is human nature and they will shoot their shot. Nonetheless, as Muslims, if we are against the reversion of the Aya Sofia to be a mosque again, then we really need to take a long hard look at ourselves. Just as Muhammad Fatih conquered Constantinople, we need to conquer our own ignorance, our own inferiority complex and our own insecurities.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

رد على الشيخ حبيب علي الجفري

 

بداية نود الاعتراف بوجوب احترام وتقديرهؤلاء الأفراد الذين كرسوا حياتهم لخدمة التمكين الديني والروحي للآخرين. فغالبًا ما تعمل قيادتهم العلمية والأخلاقية كمنارات للتوجيه ومصدر محاكاة للأمة. ومن المتوقع، لما لدورهم من أهمية بالغة، أن يتحدثوا ويتصرفوا وفقًا لأعلى مستويات الصدق والنزاهة الأخلاقية. لذلك فإن من المخيب للآمال، بشكل خاص، أن تصدر تعليقات خاطئة من عالم يجب أن يكون جزءًا من تراث الصرامة الفكرية العالية والسلوك الأخلاقي المتفوق. الأمر الأكثر إشكالية هو أن هذه التصريحات غير اللائقة تتعلق بمجموعة من إخوانهم المسلمين الذين يتعرضون لإكراه غير مسبوق للتخلي عن دينهم وهويتهم.     

في الصورة أعلاه ، خريطة تركستان الشرقية فيما يتعلق بباقي آسيا الوسطى. تركستان الشرقية هي بنفس حجم كاليفورنيا وأريزونا ونيو مكسيكو وكولورادو ويوتا ونيفادا مجتمعة

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

                                                                                              

ومن المؤسف أن الشيخ حبيب علي الجفري، وهو عالم مشهور في العالم العربي، أساء استخدام محاضرته الأخيرة بنشر معلومات غير صحيحة أو متحيزة سياسياً أو تضر بحياة أمة مسلمة بأكملها مستعمرة ومضطهدة من قبل الصين. وعلى الرغم من أنه يقر بأن الصين قد ارتكبت خطأً تجاه الأويغور وأنها ليست بريئة تمامًا، إلا أن الكثير من ادعاءاته لا تزال غير دقيقة وتحتاج إلى لفت انتباهه وانتباه تلاميذه. وتحاول هذه المقالة استعراض بعض هذه المغالطات وتصحيح هذه الادعاءات التي تنزع الشرعية عن الحقيقة البائسة للأويغور والشعب التركي الآخر في تركستان الشرقية (والتي أعيد تسميتها ويشار إليها باسم سينجيان)  .  

Ghulja

الاحتجاجات التي سبقت مذبحة الغولجة ۱۹۹۷                                                                                                    

وقد ظهر الحضور الصوفي الكبير في تركستان الشرقية من خلال مزاراتها الصوفية – التي تم التخلي عن معظمها بشكل منهجي أو تدميرها أو قطع أوصالها بأسلاك شائكة من قبل الحزب الشيوعي الصيني.                                                 

وتسلط المخطوطات القرآنية القديمة من المنطقة، وكذلك المخطوطات من القرنين التاسع عشر والعشرين، الضوء على الحفاظ على هذه التقاليد الإسلامية وأهميتها. وكثيراً من آلاف المساجد الجميلة المشيدة على الأرض، قام الحزب الشيوعي الصيني في الآونة الأخيرة بتدميرها. ونؤكد، لو أنها لم تكن أماكن زيارة وذات أهمية تاريخية، فلماذا قام الحزب الشيوعي الصيني بتجريفها؟ أصبحت كاشغر، عاصمة سلطنة الكراخانية و “جوهرة” طريق الحرير، مركزًا تعليميًا بارزًا للإسلام ومركزًا يعرض ماضي الأويغور الغني.                                                                                                            

ومن الواضح الآن أن الغالبية العظمى من الأويغور ليسوا مسلمين منذ القرن الحادي عشر فحسب ، بل أيضًا لا يمكن فصل تاريخ تركستان الشرقية عن تاريخ العالم الإسلامي. يتبع الأويغور بشكل موحد التيار السائد لأهل السنة حسب مدرسة الحنفية ، ولديهم حب كبير لأهل البيت النبيل (عائلة وأحفاد النبي ) – من الذي يدعي حبيب علي جفري أيضًا أصله – مثل جميع المسلمين الأتراك. وكان الأويغور قد أقاموا مقامًا لعالم من القرن الثامن وحفيد للنبي ، الإمام جعفر الصادق ، بالقرب من خوتان من تركستان الشرقية، والذي تم تدميره الآن من قبل نظام الحزب الشيوعي الصيني. 

إذا كانت شرائح من مجتمع الأويغور لا تمارس الاسلام اليوم ، فهذا يرجع في الغالب إلى القمع الايديولوجي الشيوعي منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية ، مثل سقوط محو الأمية الدينية والممارسات التي حدثت تحت الحكم السوفياتي في الجمهوريات التركية المجاورة. ومع ذلك ، فمن الجدير بالذكر أن نرى بعض جمهوريات آسيا الوسطى تشهد حاليًا إحياءً تدريجيًا للاحتفال الإسلامي بفضل زوال السياسات القمعية ، ملمحًا إلى الكيفية التي يمكن أن تزدهر بها الحياة الأويغورية الدينية عندما تتوقف السياسات القمعية بشأن تركستان الشرقية.

إن الأهمية التاريخية للأعمال التي أنتجها علماء الأويغور، والعديد من المدن القديمة الموجودة في جميع أنحاء تركستان الشرقية واضحة من العدوان الممنهج الذي سعت الحكومة الصينية للقضاء عليها. من حظر نشر النصوص باللغة الأويغورية ، وإغلاق جميع الأماكن الدينية ، وتحويل المواقع التاريخية إلى مراكز دعائية لنشر أويغورية علمانية مدعومة من الدولة ، دليل على أن الحزب الشيوعي الصيني ليس مهددًا فقط من قبل ثقافة الأويغور.

قبل وبعد ضريح الإمام الجعفري الصادق ايل آر ديسمبر١٠،٢٠١٣، ابريل ٢٠،٢٠١٩

رقم 2: يدعي أن مسألة القمع الأويغوري مسألة سياسية وليست دينية.

في حين أنه من الصحيح أن الاستعمار يُفهم في الغالب على أنه ظاهرة سياسية وليست دينية ، ولكن في هذه الحالة تم استخدام “الدين” كذريعة لتنفيذ عمليات الاعتقال والمراقبة الجماعية لشعب الأويغور.  وتدعي الصين أنها تقاتل ضد “التطرف الإسلامي” لحماية نفسها من ردة الفعل التي قد تواجهها نتيجة لوحشيتها في تركستان الشرقية. مثلها مثل الهند والعديد من الدول الغربية ، تستغل الصين تخوف العالم من “الإرهاب الإسلامي” لتبرير قمعها للمسلمين الأبرياء.

إن ممارسة الإسلام محظور بشكل قاطع في تركستان الشرقية ، على الرغم من الضمان الدستوري الصيني لحرية الدين. تحظر النصوص والأسماء الإسلامية ، ويُحظر ممارسة أركان الإسلام الخمسة ، وقد تم تدمير المؤسسات الإسلامية القديمة وتحويلها إلى مراكز دعائية شيوعية. اختفى علماء الدين ، أو حُكم عليهم بالسجن المؤبد أو قتلوا.

صورة الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ يصافح الأئمة الأويغور الموضوعة في مسجد عيد كاش التاريخي قاشغرفي تركستان الشرقية. علما أن الصورة في اتجاه صلاة المسلمين – القبلة

وبطبيعة الحال ، لن يكتمل التناغم في العرض بين الحزب الشيوعي الصيني دون الملايين من الصينيين الهان غير المسلمين الذين استقروا ، بمساعدة الحكومة ، داخل حدود تركستان الشرقية. في حين يتم نقل الأويغور بشكل منهجي خارج حدود وطنهم وداخل البر الرئيسي للصين للعمل كعمال قسريين أو للسجن و”إعادة التأهيل” ، فمن الصعب تجاهل الإزالة الديموغرافية للأويغور في تركستان الشرقية. ومع جلب المزيد والمزيد من الهان الصينيين إلى أراضي الأويغور ليحلوا محل السكان النازحين، دمر الحزب الشيوعي الصيني المساجد القديمة والمنازل والملاذات لإفساح المجال للمستوطنين الجدد. ويعتبر هؤلاء المستوطنون بمثابة تذكير مستمر لاختفاء الحكم الذاتي للأويغور وكذلك حراس على ما تبقى من سكان الأويغور على حد سواء. وهناك العديد من الروايات عن الصينيين الهان الذين يعيشون مع عائلات الأويغور في منازلهم على أنهم “أشقاء كبيرون” – يغذون الحكومة بالمعلومات عن كل خطوة تقوم بها العائلة ويساعدون في سجن الأويغور حتى في أدق المخالفات الدينية.

روى سجين سابق ، عادل عبد الغفور ، في مقابلة مع مؤلفنا المشارك السيدة أيدين ، كيف تم ضربه فاقداً للوعي من قبل سلطات السجن الصينية وأجبر على ارتداء كتلة من الأسمنت تزن 25 كجم لمدة شهر علقت بخيط رفيع حول عنقه لأنه قال ” بسم الله ” (بسم الله) في نومه. وقد تم اغتصاب عدد لا يحصى من النساء والرجال الأويغور ، الذين تم إرسالهم إلى المخيمات والسجون بسبب الممارسة الدينية ، وتعقيمهم قسراً ، وتخديرهم ، واستخدام أجسادهم لحصاد الأعضاء. ويعاقب الأويغور بالسجن لفترات طويلة. فقد حُكم على امرأة من الأويغور بالسجن 10 سنوات لترويجها ارتداء الحجاب ، وحُكم على رجل كازاخستاني بالسجن 16 سنة بعد أن وجدت السلطات الصينية تسجيلات صوتية للقرآن على جهاز الكمبيوتر الخاص به وقال العديد من اللاجئين الأويغور الذين قابلناهم أنه حتى التحيات الإسلامية – السلام عليكم – يمكن أن تسجنهم لمدة عشر سنوات.  

“مشهد منتشر في شوارع شينجيانغ # هذه الأيام. الرجال والنساء (بما في ذلك كبار السن) يتجولون بأندية ضخمة ، وهي جزء من “حرب الشعب” على الإرهاب

رقم 3:  يقول الشيخ إن السبب الذي يجعل الناس يكافحون من أجل تركستان الشرقية هو أنهم لا يريدون أن تبني الصين مبادرة حزام واحد بشارع واحد وتصبح أقوى بمرتين من أمريكا اقتصاديًا.  

يقلل هذا الادعاء من صراع تركستان الشرقية إلى ثنائي الصين مقابل أمريكا – وبالتالي يمحو العقود التي رزحتها تركستان الشرقية تحت الاحتلال الصيني. ففي عام 1759 ، غزت إمبراطورية مانشو تشينغ تركستان الشرقية وجعلتها مستعمرتها الجديدة .                                                                                                                            

وقد وقع أحدث احتلال في عام 1949 عندما وصل الحزب الشيوعي الصيني إلى السلطة ، ومنذ ذلك الحين، تعرض ملايين التركستانيين الشرقيين لأشكال مختلفة من الوحشية المنظمة والإبادة العرقية والثقافية الجماعية.

إنه لمن دواعي الأسف الشديد ليس فقط بنزع الشرعية عن جهود الشعب المسلم في الوقوف ضد مضطهديهم ، ولكن أيضًا باعتبارهم ليسوا سوى مجرد بيادق أمريكية. 

وبالتالي ، من السخف حقًا فهم قضية استعمار الأويغور من خلال عدسة السياسة الصينية الأمريكية. بدأ استعمار تركستان الشرقية قبل وقت طويل من أن تصبح الصين منافسًا حقيقيًا في سعيها للهيمنة الاقتصادية الدولية وستستمر لفترة طويلة بعد أن تغير الولايات المتحدة أو الصين سياستها الخارجية .

مشهد من جولة على “مركز التدريب المهني”. يعزف محتجزو الأويغور الموسيقى لإظهار “الانسجام” و “السعادة” داخل المخيمات. المصدر: بي بي سي

رقم 4:  يسأل كيف يمكن أن يكون فيروس كورونا عقابًا إلهيًا إذا بقيت سلطات الحزب الشيوعي نفسها دون أن يمسها الفيروس بسوء.

 بينما نتفق مع الشيخ على أننا لسنا في وضع يسمح لنا بالحكم على ما إذا كان أي حدث دنيوي هو فعل مباشر للعقاب الإلهي فإننا نتساءل عن بعض الآثار المترتبة المقدمة خلال محاضرته. فعلى سبيل المثال ، يسأل الشيخ كيف يمكن أن يكون كوفيد-19 عقابًا إلهيًا إذا ظل الأفراد الذين اتخذوا القرارات الحكومية المباشرة التي شكلت الجزء الأكبر من القمع ضد الأويغور أنفسهم سالمين من الفيروس. ونحن نجيب: كيف يمكن للفيروس الذي يضعف الاقتصاد والبنية الاجتماعية لبلد ترتكب حكومته الإبادة الجماعية ضد ملايين الشعوب المستعمرة ، ولكن يمكننا ببساطة أن نسأل كيف يعرف الشيخ أن أياً من هؤلاء الأفراد لم يصب بالمرض؟ بالإضافة إلى ذلك ، نتساءل لماذا لا يمكن للعقاب الإلهي أن يستهدف نظامًا فاسدًا بالكامل ، وليس مجرد بعض الأفراد الذين قد يعتبرهم لا يتطلب الأمر فعلًا من العقاب الإلهي حتى ندرك عدم أخلاقية فعل أو حدث. نحن لا ننتظر أن تصيبنا صاعقة قبل أن ندرك أننا ربما ارتكبنا إثماً. وبنفس الطريقة ، لا نعرف ما إذا كان كوفيد-19هو عقاب إلهي ، لكننا نعرف أن اضطهاد الأويغور مدمر، وأن حجته ضد هذا ليست مقنعة.

محمد صالح حاج (٨٢) ، المعروف على نطاق واسع كأول باحث لقد ترجم القرآن الكريم إلى الأويغور الحديث ، هو من بين أحد الشهداء وقتل في الاحتجاز في يناير٢٠١٨

ملاحظات ختاميـة

نحن لا نسعى لمعرفة السبب وراء خطب الشيخ حول وضع إخواننا وأخواتنا الأويغور بشكل كبير على قضيتهم – ولا يمكننا معرفة السبب بالتأكيد. لكن ما يمكننا فعله هو التساؤل عن مصادر معلوماته وإبراز خطورة أفعاله وكلماته. فالملايين من المسلمين في الصين قمعوا لمجرد ارتكابهم أفعالاً إيمانية بسيطة يسعد الناس في أماكن أخرى القيام بها كل يوم – بما في ذلك قول “بسم الله” قبل أن يأخذوا لقمة من الطعام. ومع مرور رمضان بسرعة ، من المحزن التفكير في الأويغور الذين يجبرون على تناول الطعام والشراب ، ناهيك عن شرب الكحول وتناول لحم الخنزير ، خلال الشهر الكريم لإثبات بعدهم عن الإسلام وقربهم من الحكومة الصينية. وبينما نجلس نحن مع عائلاتنا للإفطار ، يعاني الأويغور وغيرهم من الأتراك بصمت في آلاف السجون ومعسكرات العمل البعيدة عن أسرهم.

هذا الباحث ، أو أولئك الذين أضلوه ، لم يتجاهلوا انتهاكات الحزب الشيوعي الصيني ضد ديننا والأمة عمومًا فحسب ، بل حاولوا أيضًا تثبيط مئات الآلاف من المسلمين الأحرار من مساعدة الأويغور في محنتهم ضد الحزب الشيوعي الصيني. وكما ذكرنا سابقًا ، نحن لا نسعى للعمل كمترجمين لمشيئة الله. بل على العكس ، نحن نسعى فقط للعمل وفق تقاليد إسلامية راسخة في أخذ عبرة ، ودرس مستمد من تجربة أخلاقية مما نلاحظه في العالم. وحتى أثناء إجراء هذه الملاحظة بعناية، فإننا نعترف بأن مصادرنا هي ظنية ، أو من عدم اليقين. ومع ذلك ، نعتقد أن تاريخنا وإيماننا قد دعوا بوضوح إلى العدالة والحرية الدينية بحيث تجاهل القمع المباشر للإسلام أو المسلمين ، خاصة من خلال وسائل عنيفة وقاسية مثل تلك التي يمارسها الحزب الشيوعي الصيني ، هو ارتكاب خطأ أخلاقي أكيد .       

إعلان استقلال جمهورية تركستان الشرقية الإسلامية، نوفمبر ١٩٣٣،١٢
ملاحظة: كما هو واضح، قاد العلماء / العلماء المحليون جهود الاستقلال

                                                                                                

في الختام ، نطلب بتواضع من العالم الشيخ جفري التمسك بالتعاليم الأبدية للإسلام قبل الإدلاء بمثل هذه التعليقات العمياء التي تضر بشكل صارخ بصورة الملايين من الإخوة والأخوات المسلمين المضطهدين.  والقرآن ينصح بكل وضوح بعدم الوقوف مع الظالمين ضد إخوانكم المسلمين ، “ولا تركنوا إلى الذين ظلموا فتمسكم النار”. سوره هود:١١٤               

وقد أكد زعيمنا بلا منازع ، النبي محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، أنه إذا أردت أن تقول شيئًا ، فقل شيئًا جيدًا ، وإلا فالتزم الصمت  “من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليقل خيراً أو ليصمت” متفق عليه.

 

١ .الاستمرار في الدعاء للمضطهدين من تركستان الشرقية والعالم.

مقاطعة المنتجات الصينية – لا ترضى بعمالة السخرة

٢. رفع الوعي حول محنة الأويغور وقضية تركستان الشرقية ، تعرّف على المزيد من موقع:  

                                                              SaveUighur.org

٣. العمل على تقليل الاعتماد الاقتصادي لبلدك على الصين.

٤. بناء تحالفات مع جميع أصحاب الضمير للمطالبة بوقف قمع الصين لجميع الجماعات الدينية ، سواء كانت الأويغور المسلمون أو الهوي أو المسيحيون أو البوذيون التبتيون.

٥. تشجيع وتعزيز التجارة العادلة مع المسلمين وغيرهم بدلاً من الصين.

٦. الاستفسار عن أعضاء الشتات الأويغور في منطقتك.  تنظيم مساعدة للأيتام والأرامل والطلاب.   

 ٧. الضغط على الحكومات لتوفير الحماية القانونية للاجئين الأويغور المنفيين إما عن طريق الجنسية أو اللجوء.  أوقفوا “تسليم – ترحيل”  الأويغور إلى الصين!

٨. احصل على أوقاف جامعاتك للتخلص من الصين. رفع الوعي بالتجسس الصيني والبنادق المستأجرة في الأوساط الأكاديمية.  طلب الدعم الأكاديمي والمالي للعلماء والطلاب الأويغور.

  1. طلب المزيد من الاهتمام الأكاديمي والتمويل للدراسات المتعلقة بآسيا الوسطى والأويغور والتركستانية.

رد على الشيخ حبيب علي الجف __ – PDFArabic Habib Ali

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

A Response To Habib Ali Al-Jifri’s Comments On Uyghurs

Toqa Badran and Aydin Anwar respond to the statements made by Shaykh Habib Ali Al-Jifri

Ghulja

Protests preceding the Ghulja Massacre, 1997

Disclaimer 

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

By Toqa Badran, Aydin Anwar 

We acknowledge that those individuals who have devoted their lives to the spiritual empowerment of others are to be admired and respected. The Ulema often serve as beacons of guidance and sources of emulation for the Ummah with their scholarly and moral leadership. Their critical role means that they are also expected to speak and act according to a higher standard of truthfulness and ethics. Bearing this in mind makes it especially dismaying and hurtful to witness inaccurate comments from a famous preacher and scholar who should be a part of this heritage of high intellectual rigour and superior moral conduct. It is even more problematic that these erroneous statements pertain to a group of fellow Muslims presently experiencing almost unprecedented duress to criminalize and eradicate their religion and cultural identity. 

It is unfortunate that Habib Ali al-Jifri, a popular scholar in the Arab world, in a recent lecture has misused his platform by propagating information that is all at once incorrect, biased, and otherwise detrimental to the lives of an entire Muslim nation colonized and oppressed by China. Although he tepidly acknowledges that China has done wrong to Uyghurs and is not fully innocent, a number of his claims remain inaccurate and deserve to be corrected. This article attempts to walk through some of these inaccuracies, and correct such claims that ultimately work to delegitimize and downplay the deplorable reality of Uyghurs and other Turkic-Muslim peoples, such as Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, of East Turkistan (renamed and referred to as Xinjiang, meaning new territory in Mandarin, by the Chinese occupation). 

#1: Shaykh Ali al-Jifri claims that only around half of Uyghurs are Muslim

The first glaring error made by the shaykh is his statement that only around half of the Uyghur population is Muslim. His error may have been a result of confusing the presently reported demographic makeup of East Turkistan with the religious composition of the Uyghur people. While the Uyghur and indigenous inhabitants of the region are overwhelmingly Muslim, the Han Chinese population has climbed drastically from only 6% in 1949 to an estimated 40% – due largely to incentivized migration and other – settler colonial programs embarked upon by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This statistic itself may be unreliable as many undocumented Uyghurs are unaccounted for and, in recent years, scores of Uyghur prisoners and forced laborers have been forcibly transferred to mainland China. 

If, however, al-Jifri meant to propogate the notion that only half of Uyghurs are Muslim, this is another matter altogether. To deny the self-professed Islamic faith of the utter majority of Uyghur people is to commit one of atrocities perpetrated by the CCP itself — the denial and erasure of this long persecuted population’s faith. As for the rootedness of Islam among this people, it has been the predominant religion among Uyghurs in East Turkistan– long before Egypt, or even the Levant, became majority Muslim societies during the Mamluk era. Much of the Islamicization of Central Asia and the Turkic world has been credited to the Karakhanids – a group of Turkic tribes who lived in the Uyghur homeland and converted to Islam in the 10th century (4th century Hijri), after their ruler Sultan Abdulkerim Bughra Khan entered the faith (Svat Soucek. A History of Inner Asia. Cambridge University Press. 2002, pp 84).

Uyghurs were also historically part of the Chagatay Turkic Khanate, whence the rulers of the Mughal Dynasty — who ruled much of India for over two centuries — hailed. Tasawwuf-inflected preaching was a key driver in conversions among these Turkic tribes in ways reminiscent of Islam’s spread at the hands of itinerant Hadhrami Sufi scholars and merchants — from whom Habib Ali hails  — across the Indian Ocean littoral and Nusantara (Malay world).

Map of East Turkistan in relation to the rest of Central Asia. East Turkistan is the same size as California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada combined. 

Source: International Crisis Group

Starting with the aforementioned Karakhanids in the 10th century, Islamic institutions were founded and devoted to the study of theology, natural science, arts, music, and more. These institutions allowed for the emergence of hundreds of prominent Turkic scholars, who helped shape and record Islamic, Turkic, and specifically Uyghur history through their works: The likes of Mahmud Kashgari’s Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk, the first comprehensive dictionary of Turkic languages. Yusuf Khās Hājib’s Kutadgu Bilig, a mirror-for-princes in prose from the 11th century that shed light on Turkish-Islamic history and culture, and is perhaps one of the earliest surviving Turkic works in the genre of akhlāq (Islamic morality and ethics). The Turks of the region have also been greatly impacted by the Yasawī sufi order which helped make communal dhikr gatherings part and parcel of Uyghur culture. The influence of sufism is also evident in the prevalence of  Sufi shrines — most of which have since been systematically destroyed or left abandoned after being blocked off with barbed wire by the CCP.

The survival of old Quranic manuscripts from the area, as well as manuscripts from the 19th and 20th century, testify to the centrality of the Islamic intellectual tradition and its preservation within Uyghur culture. Thousands of beautiful mosques were constructed throughout the region, many of which have been demolished in recent years by the CCP regime. Had they not been places of great significance and visitation, it begs the question as to why the Chinese government would  bother razing them. Kashgar, the historic capital of the Karakhanid Empire and “jewel” of the Silk Road, became a prominent center of learning and hub showcasing the rich Uyghur past. Yarkend had also been a particular center of Islamic learning and culture for centuries, with dozens of madrasahs present in the last decades of the nineteenth century. It even holds Queen Amanisa Khan’s shrine, where the 12 Muqam (classical Sufi dance and song performance pieces that are a central Uyghur heritage form) were established. 

It is now clear that not only have the vast majority of Uyghurs been Muslim since the 11th century at least, but that the history of East Turkistan cannot be separated from that of the greater Muslim world. Like most Turkic Muslims, Uyghurs have traditionally belonged to Ahl as-Sunnah (the mainstream and overwhelming majority of Muslims), the legal school of Hanafism, and have immense love for the noble Ahl al-Bayt (family and descendants of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ). Uyghurs had even established a maqam (shrine) dedicated to the 8th century scholar and descendant of the Prophet ﷺ, Imam Jafar al-Sadiq – through whom Habib Ali traces his lineage back to the Prophet ﷺ – near the town of Khotan in East Turkistan, which was destroyed by the CCP. If segments of Uyghur society are not practicing Muslims today, it is mostly due to the Communist repression since WWII, just as Soviet anti-religious repression led to the radical decrease in religious literacy and practice in neighbouring Turkic republics. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy and heartening to see that some of the Central Asian republics are currently experiencing a gradual revival of Islamic observance thanks to the demise of oppressive policies, hinting at how the Uyghur religious life could flourish if and when repressive policies in East Turkistan cease.

Before and After of Imam Jafari al-Sadiq shrine. L-R Dec 10 2013, April 20, 2019. 

Photograph: Google Earth/Planet Labs 

The systematic aggression with which the Chinese government has sought to stamp out the works produced by Uyghur scholars and the many ancient Muslim cities scattered across East Turkistan is evidence of their historical importance. From banning the publication of texts in the Uyghur language, closing all religious spaces, and transforming historic sites into propaganda centers for the dissemination of a sanitized, non-religious, and state-sponsored Uyghur identity, it is clear that the CCP feels not only threatened by Uyghur culture, but is aware of its power in maintaining a social fabric worthy of any independent nation. 

And with all of the aforementioned said, we pose the question: Even if the majority of Uyghurs were not Muslim as the shaykh incorrectly claimed, does this excuse Muslims elsewhere of their duty to stand against oppression? Over the course of his commentary on the plight of the Uyghur people, the shaykh himself asked the audience why we [Muslims] are only angry when China oppresses Uyghurs and not the Buddhist Tibetans. Not only does this question contradict his initial premise that the Uyghur community cannot be referred to as overwhelmingly Muslim, but also deeply confuses the listener: “Are we to fight against oppression, regardless of the religion of the oppressed, or not?” We would argue that it is not only an obligation for Muslims, but for all people to resist their own oppression and the oppression of others — especially if this oppression manifests as the criminalization of the most fundamental practices of a people’s faith, Islam in this case. The East Turkistani independence movement itself has always allied itself with those of the Tibetan, Palestinian, and Kashmiri people. It has been incorrectly posited by the shaykh that Uyghurs have only been oppressed for the last 3-5 years. While this is demonstrably false, through the decades-long occupation Uyghurs have faced, what is worse is that he makes this claim in order to draw a false equivalence (between East Turkistan and the Tibetan people) in the hopes of delegitimizing the plight and cause of those in East Turkistan. Worse still, is that when the shaykh is confronted with the truth of the 70+ long years of Chinese colonization of Uyghur lands, he contests its factuality by responding that if China were really so bad then we would see the individual politicians responsible for the colonization personally affected by the Chinese Coronavirus. We question the legitimacy of this apparently necessary correlation and will do so again later in this paper. Furthermore, now that we know that the Uyghur identity is as much an Islamic one as his own Arab identity and that Chinese oppression has been occurring for almost a century, do the scholar’s recommendations change? 

#2: Shaykh Al-Jifri claims that the question of Uyghur oppression is a political, not religious, one 

We would like to preface this section by making it clear that Islam rejects the false dichotomy between the religious and the secular. What is “political” is not necessarily devoid of religious significance, and what is “religious” is not necessarily apolitical. While the Sharia’s precepts pertaining to siyasah (governance and ‘urfi/customary-public law) are mostly general, with few exact prescriptions established by the sources of Sharia (al-adillah al-sharʿiyyah), Muslims have always conceived of politics as a space bound by Islamic morality and ethics, akhlāq. As with any other dimension of human life, a person’s moral culpability before God extends into the domain of the “political” just as it extends into the domain of the economic, familial, ritual, etc. 

While it is true that colonization is often understood as a political phenomenon and not a religious one, religion has featured prominently both as a pretext and the locus of subjugation in China’s crimes against the Uyghur people. China brands its campaign against the Uyghurs as a fight  against “Islamic extremism” in an attempt to ride on the coattails of the global “War on Terror” thereby garnering  sympathy for its policies — including the imprisonment of millions of Turkic peoples into concentration camps and prisons — and insulate itself from backlash it would otherwise face as a result of its inhumanity in East Turkistan. Like Modi’s India and many Western nations, China exploits the world’s frenzied paranoia surrounding “Muslim terror” to justify its crackdown on innocent Muslims.

“Ubiquitous scene on the streets of  #Xinjiang these days. Men and women (inc. the elderly) trudging around with enormous clubs, part of the ‘People’s War’ on terrorism.” – David Brophy, Nov 15th 2017 

We acknowledge, however, that if this matter was purely religious, and not political, we would see Hui Muslims, who do not have a territorial claim at stake, rounded up into concentration camps and being subject to the same forms of oppression Uyghurs and other Turkic people are. However, this is not the case. Huis have historically been left largely undisturbed for the sake of maintaining the CCP’s facade of religious acceptance — or at most they are subject to the usual disruptions any religious group faces under the anti-religious CCP. Historically, the Hui have been staunch supporters of the Chinese state, and even played a critical role in the dismantling of the first East Turkistan Republic of 1933 and the second of 1944.. This did not spare them, however, from the current religious crackdown they and other faith groups like Christians face, once again highlighting the inextricably religious dimension of the CCP’s supposedly merely “political” project. As though rounding up innocents into concentration camps and subjecting an entire people to violations of fundamental human rights as part of a larger campaign of ethnic cleansing and cultural destruction would be anything less than heinous, even if religion played no role in the matter.

Much of Uyghur and, by extension, all Central Asian Turkic identity, has centered on religion; Uyghurs and other Turks are Muslim, just like Malays have been Muslim based on historical development in the past millennium. Historically, up until the 1930s, Uyghurs were not commonly referred to as “Uyghurs” — they and other Turkic Muslims of East Turkistan were simply referred to as “Musulman” (Muslim), “Turki” (Turk), or “yerlik” (local). This truth further explains why China has been so adamant in removing religion from the lives of East Turkistanis — Islam is so critical to the history and culture of the Turkic presence that the CCP knows that, without it, East Turkistanis will be left weak and purposeless– easily converted into malleable forced worshippers of the party, and indistinguishable from the rest of China’s largely atheist, but nominally Confucian, Buddhist or Taoist Han majority. Not to mention that they are then exploited in China’s massive hypocritically capitalistic labour scheme — which most of Chinese masses also suffer from. 

Claiming that the oppression is not a religious matter implies that Muslims need not care about the Uyghurs out of religious concern, while in reality our blood should be boiling knowing that the rights of God and His worshippers are being violated by the CCP. Muslims around the world rightly condemn and stand in solidarity against zionist oppression in Palestine, though, by the shaykh’s standards, this would be appear a purely political project undeserving of collective Muslim outrage. The Israeli state-apparatus oppresses Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike. The CCP has singled out Muslims, however, especially those in East Turkistan, as the targets of their brutal project. Again, we see that this is both a religious and political issue against which all Muslims and conscientious human beings should speak and fight. Just as we all wish for the freedom of Palestine sooner rather than later, we should pray, speak, and fight for the freedom of our brothers and sisters in East Turkistan.

Practicing Islam is categorically forbidden in East Turkistan, despite China’s constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. Islamic texts and names are banned, practicing most of the five pillars of Islam is forbidden, and centuries old Islamic institutions have been destroyed and converted into communist propaganda centers. Religious scholars (ulema) have disappeared, sentenced to life in prison, or killed.

These tragedies are never publicized within China’s borders — and their occurrence is aggressively denied by the Chinese media apparatus. Instead, the media tokenizes and highlights a few religious acts, in reality no more than complex theatrics which the government has directed in order to showcase the power of “CCP Islam”. Journalists and political actors from other countries, especially Muslim ones, are invited to East Turkistan to witness a beautiful charade of “harmony” and happiness that, in reality, is no more than an open air prison for the Uyghurs. Albanian academic and journalist, Dr Olsi Jazexhi, was one of these visitors, who later reflected on his experiences and observations on such a CCP-sponsored trip. He and other journalists toured many mosques with the CCP’s aim being to show to the outside world that there are mosques, and indeed religious freedom, in East Turkistan. Jazexhi recalls venturing into one of the mosques near Urumqi’s Grand Bazaar and finding only a store. He also recalls his visit to a concentration camp or what China calls a “vocational training center”:

“The center was in the middle of the desert. It was a kind of Alcatraz, and by its appearance, we were expecting to find some criminals, terrorists, and killers, and people who were dangerous to society. When we went there, the criminals presented us with a concert. These poor boys and girls who were being held there since many years. They were told to dance to me; Uyghur dance, Chinese dance, and Western dance. The authorities wanted us to film them only dancing and smiling and singing. They were all speaking Chinese, even though they were Uyghurs [sic].” 

Jazexhi, a dual Albanian and Canadian citizen, was later fired from his university position in Albania — demonstrating the reach of Chinese economic blackmail diplomacy. The professor was blacklisted by China due to his truthful reports on East Turkistan, highlighting the CCP’s suppression of criticism abroad, even within the context of academia, with its diplomatic and economic pressure. 

Scene from a staged tour of a ‘vocational training center’. Uyghur detainees are playing music to show  ‘harmony’ and ‘happiness’ inside the camps. Source: BBC 

Of course, this harmony would not be complete without the millions of Han Chinese who have been settled, with the aid of the government, within the borders of East Turkistan. While Uyghurs are systematically transported outside of the borders of their homeland and into mainland China to work as forced laborers or to be imprisoned and “reeducated”, it is hard to ignore the demographic erasure of Uyghurs in East Turkistan. As more and more Han Chinese are brought into Uyghur land to replace the displaced natives, the CCP razes ancient mosques, homes, and sanctuaries to make room for the new settlers. 

Photo from Gilles Sabrie: “Sledgehammer: The Chinese say Kashgar must be destroyed because it is susceptible to earthquakes” (TIME

These settlers act both as continuous reminders of the disappearance of Uyghur autonomy as well as wardens over the remaining Uyghur population. There have been many accounts of Han Chinese living with Uyghur families in their homes as “big siblings”— feeding the government information on the family’s every move and assisting in Uyghur imprisonment for even the smallest of religious offences. Aside from simple demographic engineering and ethnic cleansing, the Chinese program of destroying Uyghur cities and patrimony is intended to deracinate East Turkistanis from their culture and make them self-internalize that they are a people with no heritage, and to imprison them in easy-to-surveil panopticons with Han colonialists wardens. Destroying ancient cities and heritage is an old authoritarian communist strategy, reflecting the idea brillianty summarized by Alexander Solzhenitsyn that “to destroy a people you must first sever their roots.” 

Muhammad Salih Hajim (82), widely known as the first scholar to translate the Quran to modern Uyghur, is amongst one of the martyred and was killed in detention in January 2018. Source: RFA

One former prisoner, Adil Abdulghufur, in an interview with our co-author, Aydin Anwar, recounted how he was beaten unconscious by Chinese prison authorities and forced to wear a 25 kg cement block for a month hung by a thin string around his neck after saying “Bismillah” (in the name of God) in his sleep. Countless Uyghur women and men, who have been sent to camps and prisons due to religious practice have been raped, forcibly sterilized, drugged, and their bodies used for organ harvesting. Uyghurs are punished with long prison sentences; one Uyghur woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison for promoting the wearing of headscarves, a Kazakh man was sentenced to 16 years in jail after Chinese authorities found audio recordings of the Quran on his computer, and several Uyghur refugees we have spoke with said that even saying the Muslim greeting Assalāmu Alaykum (Peace be upon you) can get them locked up for 10 years. Saying Insha’Allah (God-willing) is also prohibited. In one of the many documentaries published on the dystopian existence of the Uyghur people, VICE interviews a woman who states her charged crime was the learning of the Quran and the Arabic language. A man, later in the documentary, details how he was punished for refusing to eat pork even while imprisoned. By many accounts, the word God or Allah itself must be replaced with “Party” (Chinese Communist Party), or the name of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands with Uyghur Imams placed in Kasghar’s historical Id Kah (Eidgah) mosque in East Turkistan. Note that the picture is facing the congregants in the direction of Muslim prayer – Qiblah. Source: David Brophy 

#3: Shaykh Al-Jifri claims the reason people are fighting for East Turkistan is because they do not want China to build the so-called ‘New Silk Road’ and become 2x as strong as America economically

This claim reduces the East Turkistani freedom movement to a China vs America binary– thereby completely erasing the decades of occupation East Turkistan has endured under China. In 1759, the Manchu Qing Empire invaded East Turkistan and made it its new colony. Uyghurs rebelled against Qing rule, and in 1863 were able to break free and establish Kashgaria under their leader Yaqub Khan, now known as East Turkistan. Two decades later, the Uyghurs were invaded by the Qing again, and, this time, the Uyghur homeland was formally incorporated under the Chinese empire as “Xinjiang”. Chinese nationalists overthrew the Manchu Qing Dynasty in 1911, putting East Turkistan under the rule of Nationalist China. The Uyghurs carried out numerous rebellions and were able to establish the East Turkistan Islamic Republic in 1933 and 1944, both of which briefly lasted before the Chinese government reoccupied the region through the military intervention and political interest of the Soviet Union. The most recent occupation started in 1949 when the Communist Party of China came to power, and since then, millions of East Turkistanis have been subject to various forms of brutal systematic genocide. 

The Declaration of Independence of the Islamic Republic of East Turkistan, November 12, 1933 Note: As is visible, the local ulema/scholars spearheaded the effort for independence.

It is deeply condescending to not only delegitimize the efforts of a Muslim people in standing against their oppressors, but to also deem them to be no more than American pawns. Indeed, Xi Jinping’s China seeks to continue solidifying Chinese hard power in East Turkistan while working towards the larger CCP strategic goal of establishing China as a global hegemonic power with a new Chinese-dominated global economic-political order, via the multi-trillion dollar One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative. This strategic-economic project — the largest the Eurasian Landmass ever seen — spanning over 70 countries via railroads, gas pipelines, and other infrastructure projects, is one of the greatest attempts of China to secure itself a superpower position in the 21st century. Without East Turkistan, deemed by the CCP the “Chinese gateway” to Eurasia and the West in general, the entire OBOR initiative’s immediate feasibility is truly brought into question. In addition to this strategic importance East Turkistan, the land of the Uyghurs is also extremely rich in oil, gas, and coal. According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report, the region contains the second-highest natural gas reserves and highest oil reserves of any province-level jurisdiction of China, reportedly producing more than 30 BCM of natural gas in 2015. 

A statement that reduces the intention of the freedom movement to a simple modern economic enterprise further belittles the rich history of a people that once lived with centuries of independence, and its rightful effort to reclaim its full rights and freedom. The Uyghurs played a crucial role in establishing the Koktürk Khanate (552-744), the Uyghur Khanate (744-840), the Kara-Khanid Khanate (840-1212), Gansu Uyghur Kingdom (848-1036), and Idiqut State (856-1335). They lived co-independently in the Mongol Empire, even playing crucial roles in its administration through Gengiz Khan’s usage of the Uyghur yasa law system and the Uyghur script. After the Chagatai Khanate, East Turkistan was integrated into the Turkic-Muslim milieu of the larger Turkistan stretching from the Caspian to Mongolia including cities and polities like Bukhara, Samarkand, Kokand, etc. with scholars, traders and others moving east and west. Thus, it is truly ridiculous to understand the issue of Uyghur colonization solely through a lens of Sino-American politics. The colonization of East Turkistan began long before China was a real contender in the quest for international political-economic hegemony, and will continue –ceteris paribus– long after a change in the foreign policy of either the United States or China. The recent interest American politicians have taken in the plight of the Uyghurs has never even clearly crossed into the realm of East Turkistani independence– it is Uyghur, Turkic, Muslim, and anti-colonial activists who are at the forefront of the East Turkistani independence movement. Just as it was completely understandable that Afghans accepted American assistance in the fight against Soviet occupation, and that the Viet Cong accepted Chinese assistance to protect against American invasion on the other hand, the Uyghur crisis is so dire that the people are justly tempted to accept the assistance of any powerful nation against the century long Chinese oppression they have faced. Had China, under the yoke of CCP, not suffocated the Muslim peoples inhabiting East Turkistan, Uyghurs could maybe regard China differently…

The only way to secure Uyghurs and other East Turkistanis their essential rights — to practice their faith, operate economically, and take pride in their rich culture and history without fear of imprisonment, assault or death — is to secure the sovereignty of their occupied homeland. For many Uyghurs, the human rights/autonomy discourse is dead. The Chinese government has proven over the course of its long occupation that it can never guarantee Uyghurs the safety or the freedom they deserve. Although China claims Uyghurs to be one of its “proud 56 ethnic minorities”, it sees Uyghurs not only as foreigners, as made clear with their completely distinct language, history and culture, but also as existential threats to its despotic power. As internal but “foreign” threats, the Uyghur people have been imprisoned, enslaved, indoctrinated and murdered. There can be no going back after this horror. The only solution is for the Uyghur people, completely foreign to China, to formally exist outside of the jurisdiction of the Chinese government as their own nation.

#4: Al-Jifri asks how COVID-19 can be divine punishment if Communist Party authorities themselves remain untouched by the virus

While we agree with al-Jifri that we are in no position to state definitely whether any worldly occurrence is a direct act of Divine punishment, we question a few of the implications presented during the lecture. For example, the shaykh asks how the coronavirus pandemic can logically be considered Divine punishment if the individuals, who made the governmental decisions resulting directly in the oppression against Uyghurs, themselves remained unscathed by the virus. We respond: How can a virus which has debilitated the economy and social structure of a country, whose government is committing genocide against millions of colonized peoples, including millions of Muslims, not be? This article does not aim to delve into a metaphysical discussion on the nature of blame and culpability, but we can simply ask how the shaykh knows that none of those individuals he identifies did not fall ill. 

Additionally, we question why such a punishment could not target an entire corrupt regime — or even a complicit or apathetic populace — and not simply certain individuals, who he might deem actually culpable. 

The fact of the matter is this: We do not know how many of the Uyghurs who are trapped in concentration camps, prisons or forced labor factories, have been additionally subject to this seperate CCP oppression — a virus which only became as terrible of an international menace as it has due to the deception and inadequacy of the CCP. We hope their number is very low, but also understand that the illness of Uyghurs does not indicate that the CCP is any less problematic or morally horrific in its dealing with the virus and with the regime’s colonial holdings. The shaykh  also asks why other oppressors would not be more deserving of a plague such as this one. To this we repeat the shaykh’s  question to himself: Who are we to question God’s methods? The burning of the Amazon is not certainly a punishment for the South American nations whose borders it crosses, or it may be a punishment for humanity at large — we cannot know. 

It does not take an act of divine punishment for us to recognize the immorality of an action or event. We do not wait for lighting to strike us down before we realize we may have committed a misdeed. In the same way, we do not know if COVID -19 is divine punishment, but we do know that the oppression of Uyghurs is a moral outrage and requires immediate international action, especially from fellow Muslim brethren. 

 As previously noted, we do not seek to act as interpreters of God’s will. On the contrary, we only seek to act according to a well-established Islamic tradition of taking ʿibrah, a lesson derived from a moral experience, from what we observe in the world. Even while carefully performing this observation, we acknowledge that our derivations are zannī, or of uncertainty. This being said, we believe that our history and faith have so clearly called for justice and religious freedom that to ignore the direct suppression of Islam or Muslims, especially through means as violent and cruel as those practiced by the Chinese Communist Party, is to commit a definitive moral misdeed.

This kind of deduction by ulema and regular Muslims alike has been practiced for centuries. One pertinent example is of an individual named Mirza Ghulam of Qadiyan, who apostatized from Islam in the late 19th century as a claimant of prophethood, and experienced a rather gruesome death due to dysentery. His downfall has been commonly interpreted (taʾwīl) as punishment, for his attempting to act as a divinely ordained prophet of God. This kind of informed and qualified interpretation has been performed for centuries and is allowed for any individual so long as they ultimately believe in the finality of the Knowledge and the Will of God. W’Allāhu Aʿlam (God knows best).

Action Items & Closing Notes

We do not seek to find out the intention of Habib Ali al-Jifri’s speeches on the situation of our Uyghur brothers and sisters – he may have simply been misinformed. What we can do, however, is question the sources of his information and highlight the graveness of his actions and words. The fact of the matter is that millions of Muslims are detained by China for committing simple acts of faith that people elsewhere have the pleasure of doing each and every day– including saying “Bismillah” before they take a bite of food. As we observe Ramadan currently, it is devastating to think of the Uyghurs, who are forced to eat and drink, let alone drink alcohol and eat pork, during the holy month to prove their “innocence” from Islam to the Chinese government. While we sit with our families and break our fast, Uyghurs and other Turkic people suffer silently in thousands of prisons and labor camps far from their families. 

This scholar, or those who have misinformed him, have not only dismissed the CCP’s violations against our religion and the Ummah at large, but have also attempted to disincentivize hundreds of thousands of free Muslims from aiding the Uyghur people in their plight against the CCP.

We ask that you to pray that the oppression of the Uyghur people ceases as soon as possible; but also urge you to boycott Chinese or Chinese-made products likely to be reliant on Uyghur slave labor; to actively spread the word on the suffering of East Turkistan; and to build interest groups and networks to pressure governments to lower their dependency on China, while increasing economic and political collaboration between Muslim people. Change starts with and around each and every one of us; inquire about Uyghur-East Turkistani exiles in your area and country, and organize your communities to help stranded Uyghur orphans, students and other disadvantaged individuals survive as Muslim Uyghur people with their culture. Lobby for issuing Uyghurs passports and securing Uyghur emigres refugee-asylee status and protection. Stop “extradition-repatriation” of Uyghurs to China. Call for a united diplomatic effort of Muslim, Arab, and/or Turkic and others concerned for freedoms countries against China’s atrocities. They should act according to inter-state relations and not as slavish would-be vassal states, and hold a respectable diplomatic stand vis-à-vis China from our countries.

We ask that you get your universities involved by both raising awareness on campus as well as by assessing your university’s relationship with China. Check to see if your school has a Confucius or China Institute. These entities often serve as a public educational arm of the Chinese government abroad, and are controlled by the CCP — thereby enabling them to exercise soft power all over the world. Insist that these institutes make a statement and acknowledge the atrocities faced by those in East Turkistan, and call them out if they do not. Call for a double background check for Chinese researchers lest they actually be informants as often happens in the U.S. Countless events and panels discussing the horrors committed by the CCP have been canceled by universities around the world due directly to Chinese pressure. Call for university endowments to divest from China. Finally, call on your school to increase funding for Uyghur/Turkistani studies and to set up scholarships and grants to assist exiled Uyghur students and scholars — their lived experiences are essential to hear, accept, and make sure fewer people have to go through again. 

 It is important to ensure the political and economic independence of academia– without which generations of students will maintain worldviews colored by propaganda and complicit in the oppression of millions. Insist that your school cuts ties with Chinese bodies violating academic freedoms, similar to how Cornell cut ties with a Chinese university. Hold your universities accountable regardless if they are directly complicit in, or just silent on, the human rights abuses China commits. Demand that these important institutions divest from these China and the CCP. 

We have seen large-scale protests across the Muslim world, especially in countries, whose governments have remained silent against the oppression in East Turkistan for fear of Chinese retribution, and hope to see even more people push their governments to pressure the CCP. The shaykh encourages members of the audience to maintain an Islamic guiding moral principle and to act on it. We agree with this wholeheartedly — but we vigorously disagree with his calls to (in)action. Instead of focusing only on ourselves and our individual economic and academic developments, we also hope to fight for the Uyghur and other Turkic people’s ability to do the same — to practice their faith, live without fear of imprisonment, and in a homeland that is formally their own. This is not a hopeless cause– our voices can and must be heard, inshAllah. 

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رضي الله عنه قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِنْ قَامَتْ عَلَى أَحَدِكُمْ الْقِيَامَةُ وَفِي يَدِهِ فَسْلَةٌ فَلْيَغْرِسْهَا

From Anas Ibn Malik, Allah be pleased with him: The Prophet Muhammad, the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, said: if the day of judgement is upon you, and in your hand is a seed, plant it. 

Action Items:

  1. Keep making Dua for the oppressed of East Turkistan and the world
  2. Boycott Chinese products– do not be complicit in slave-labour
  3. Raise awareness on the plight of Uyghurs and the East Turkistani cause, learn more at SaveUighur.org
  4. Work towards reducing your country’s economic dependence on China
  5. Build alliances with all people of conscience to demand a cessation of China’s oppression of all faith groups, be it Muslim Uyghur, Hui, Christian or Tibetan Buddhist
  6. Encourage and promote fairer trade and commerce with Muslims and others rather than China
  7. Inquire about Uyghur diaspora members in your area. Organize to help out orphans, widows, and students.
  8. Pressure governments to provide legal protection to Uyghur refugees-exiles by either citizenship or refugee-asylee status. Stop the “extradition-repatriation” of Uyghurs to China! 
  9. Get your universities-endowments to divest from China. Raise awareness about Chinese espionage and hired guns in academia. Demand academic and financial support for Uyghur scholars and students. Request more academic attention and funds for Central Asian, Uyghur, Turkistani studies.

Dislclaimer: The authors acknowledge Habib Ali’s willingness to retract his statements, and appreciate his dua for the oppressed Uyghur when faced with rightful criticism. However, the retraction came to our attention towards the very end (on May 12, article published May 14) of writing the piece (a month long process) and despite being a welcome move, does not remove the falsehood of most of his takes. He only corrects the first item from his otherwise totally-problematic takes. After an online correspondence with Uyghur activist Abdulghani Thabit, Habib Ali only corrected his statement number 1 from the longer talk. The three other misleading takes remain and were thus addressed in the piece. The authors tried their best to give all due respect to someone who dons the mantle of ‘scholar’. Our intention is not to attack Habib Ali or any other scholar, rather we seek to use his misleading commentary (corrected albeit in part by the Shaykh later) as a segue into educating the largely ignorant Muslim masses susceptible to Chinese propaganda on Uyghurs and the East Turkistani cause.

Here is a condensed Arabic version of this article translated by Imam Abdul Jabbar

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading
.
.

MuslimMatters NewsLetter in Your Inbox

Sign up below to get started

Trending

you're currently offline