Connect with us

#Current Affairs

5 Amazing Lessons Muslims Should Learn From Muhammad Ali

Dr Muhammad Wajid Akhter

Published

on

Somewhere between the eulogies, the obituaries, the tweets, the memes and the acres of press coverage on the passing of Muhammad Ali… lies a set of transformative lessons.

Lessons that took a young African American Cassius Clay from Louisville, Kentucky to becoming Muhammad Ali – heavyweight champion and one of the most recognisable and loved figures on the planet.

Lessons that a Muslim world in turmoil is desperately in need of.

 

Lesson #1: Have a vision

Muhammad Ali knew exactly what he wanted to achieve from an early age. His school friends recall him sparring with them as a scrawny kid and telling them he was going to be Heavyweight Champion of the world. Even though it looked like an impossible dream then, he had already taken the first step toward his goal just by having one in the first place.

greatest

Without a vision, there can be no hope of achieving our dreams. Instead we wander the wilderness, forever reacting instead of acting. The Muslim world is desperately in need of a positive vision to aim for, to marshal our abilities towards and to inspire us.

Lesson #2: Work hard

Everyone knows that it takes hard work to become world champion. But to become world champion 3 times over and after a prolonged enforced break at the height of your physical abilities? That’s when you know that Muhammad Ali had an exceptional work ethic.

He put the hours in, he used to train wearing extra layers of clothes and weights tied to his legs. He went to the limits of his physical abilities… and then kept going.

dance under the lights

The Muslim world used to be the nation that revelled in working hard. We would put the hours in to make new discoveries, build the most magnificent structures and uplift the human race. Today, we are amongst the least productive people on Earth. We need to regain our love of sweating for our supper.

Lesson #3: Inspire yourself and others

ali quotes

There have been many exceptional individuals in the past century, but few have been so keen to share the secrets of what made them great with the rest of us. Muhammad Ali was transparent and open to constantly sharing words of inspiration and motivation to anyone and everyone.

He inspired people who didn’t like boxing, who didn’t speak his language and who didn’t share his faith. This isn’t just amazing – it is almost magical. Then again, the Prophet (SAW) did say, “In eloquence there is magic…

The Muslim world suffers from a crisis of communication. We are unable to articulate ourselves and our faith to each other and to the rest of the world in terms that even begin to show the beauty of Islam and the wisdom behind it. We need to regain that eloquence, the magic and the words to inspire once more.

Lesson #4: Admit your mistakes

malcolm-x-muhammad-ali-3

There are few figures more iconic, more quotable and more consequential in the past century than Muhammad Ali, but his mentor Malcolm X was one of them. In the early years of their friendship, Malcolm was like an older brother to Muhammad Ali. But then Malcolm broke with the Nation of Islam and Ali ostracised Malcolm as the leadership of the Nation demanded.

One day, they passed by each other outside a hotel in Ghana. Malcolm tried to say salaam to his old friend, but Ali ignored him. Years later, when Ali also joined traditional Islam and Malcolm had been assassinated – Ali regretted this incident deeply.

Turning my back on Malcolm was one of the mistakes that I regret most in my life. I wish I’d been able to tell Malcolm I was sorry, that he was right about so many things. But he was killed before I got the chance. He was a visionary ahead of us all.

Muhammad Ali was big enough to admit his mistakes publicly. There are many areas in which we are on the receiving end of injustice and oppression, but the Muslim world needs to be open and honest with itself about our own failings and how we have fallen from our better selves.

Lesson #5: Have dignity and self-respect – for yourself and your faith

hollywood star

When he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, there were many who refused to use the new foreign sounding Islamic moniker for him. Muhammad refused to given in to their prejudice just to fit in. There was a boxer who point blank refused to call him Muhammad Ali. When they finally got in the ring, Ali rained blow after blow on him each time bellowing “What’s my name?” until his prejudiced opponent gave in.

The respect he had for the name was seen once more when he was given his own star on the Hollywood walk of fame. He requested that his star not be placed on the floor like those of others, but instead fixed into a wall. When asked why he replied that he could not bear to have the name of the Prophet (SAW) on the ground where it could be walked over.

This dignity and self-respect is something missing from many parts of the Muslim world today. He was unashamedly black, unapologetically Muslim, unimpeachably confident and yet unbelievably likeable – and in doing so, showed that we don’t need to compromise on our values in order to gain respect… or even love.

Conclusion

Ali spent the majority of his life saying he was “the greatest.” He was known to be loud mouthed and cocky, but few minded because he did it with class, a knowing wink and then proved himself right time and time again. Yet when he was once asked about his debilitating Parkinsons, he replied “Perhaps it is Gods way of showing me He is the greatest… not me.”

Muhammad Ali meant something special to everyone, but to Muslims he was an incredibly inspirational figure. You have to understand that for a once great civilization, Muslims have precious few public figures that represent the best of what we used to be and not where we are right now. All across the Muslim world, Ali stood out as an example of someone who was comfortable in his own skin and the world was comfortable with him too.

To the world he was a boxer, a legend, a champion and even “the Greatest of All Time.” To Muslims he was something far more precious. He was one of us.

WAJiD Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter - Doctor, Medical Tutor (Social Media, History & Medicine) - Islamic Historian - Founder of, and current board member to Charity Week for Orphans and needy children. www.charityweek.com - Council member, British Islamic Medical Association

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ibrahim

    June 4, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    Allahu Akbar! I felt emotional after reading this article. Jazaka’llahu kairan!

    • Avatar

      Séri

      June 7, 2016 at 4:51 AM

      I have tears in my eyes after finishing reading it.

    • Avatar

      Dr. Bahari

      June 7, 2016 at 12:31 PM

      I trully agree its inspirational and heart touching reading this. May Allah SWT grant Him Jannah and forgive Him All His Sins .

      • Avatar

        Shabina

        June 7, 2016 at 3:51 PM

        Yeah an irreparable loss to not only d world but to all muslims.May Allah grant him jannah.

  2. Avatar

    Ririn

    June 4, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiun. Selamat jalan Muhammad Ali, semoga Allah menghadiahimu surga.

  3. Avatar

    fatima

    June 4, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    JazakaAllahukhayr,

    This was truly inspiring! May Allah forgive him and grant him the highest place in jannah, near to the one whose name he proudly proclaimed and respected.

    • Avatar

      Manna

      June 7, 2016 at 3:01 PM

      Ameen, ameen, ameen.

  4. Avatar

    Yusuf Ahsan

    June 4, 2016 at 2:33 PM

    Great article. He was truly a role model for the modern Muslims.

    • Avatar

      Yu Long

      June 5, 2016 at 7:09 AM

      Shall modern muslims then denounce Islamic radicalization… and voice against Saudi’s Wahabism…

      • Avatar

        Mare

        June 8, 2016 at 9:04 AM

        That’s besides the point.

      • Avatar

        Serdar Atila

        June 9, 2016 at 4:40 AM

        Muslims are doing it so already.

  5. Avatar

    Datu Oskie Muhammad

    June 4, 2016 at 9:02 PM

    We are all from God and to God we will all return,,, my sincerest condolence to the whole family of the great legend boxing history, Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali, your body will only the part to be disappeared, but your name and history of life will be forever and the whole future generations will read about you…. may God bless you to the best and more comfortable place in jannah…

  6. Avatar

    Hamid Akhtar

    June 4, 2016 at 11:00 PM

    Alas, we should have learnt all this while he was alive. I think, there might me many more such greay people around we should know the details, so we can copy the traits. Can we have more about Mohammad Ali’ s recent achievements?

    • Avatar

      Kristy

      June 4, 2016 at 11:43 PM

      Muhammad Ali easily moved from the Nation of Islam, to Sunni Islam, to Sufi Islam in 2005. In this day of Islamic sectarianism, the absence of negative comments by him about past religious experiences is commendable. Many people do not know this, but he was greatly influenced by the peaceful writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, “Founder of the Sufi Order in the West”. There are interviews from a week or so ago with his daughter when it became apparent that Ali was dying. She reveals much about his religious influence in his life as well as in hers.

      • Avatar

        Roohi

        June 7, 2016 at 12:36 AM

        TQ for that information.

  7. Avatar

    Fahim

    June 5, 2016 at 6:09 AM

    MashaAllah
    MashaAllah
    This article has brought tears to my eyes, purely out of a mixture of reverence for its beauty and shame for the state we are in.
    May Allah guide us all – Ameen !

  8. Avatar

    Miftah

    June 5, 2016 at 8:58 AM

    Jezakellah it is truly inspiring

  9. Avatar

    Valerie

    June 5, 2016 at 1:47 PM

    Sincère condolences to Muhammed Ali’s family. May Allah grant him forgiveness and peace!

  10. Avatar

    Maznah

    June 5, 2016 at 8:40 PM

    I admired him since 1970. MAY ALLAH BLESS MOHAMMAD ALI.

  11. Avatar

    Faezah

    June 5, 2016 at 10:18 PM

    Innalillahiwainnailaihirojiun. The world will miss him very much. He is and will always be an inspiration to us all. May Allah pardon all his sins, grant him mercy and place him in the highest Jannah. Ameen.

  12. Avatar

    SaiamUK

    June 6, 2016 at 1:58 PM

    jazakAllah khairan for this beautiful tribute Wajid bhai (Y)

  13. Avatar

    Roohi

    June 7, 2016 at 12:38 AM

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon. This article is so emotionally inspiring because it speaks the truth, about Ali about Islam about Muslims and us as people.

  14. Avatar

    Zain Zubair

    June 7, 2016 at 3:46 AM

    MashAllah!!! A great sportsman and role model for all Muslims. RIP

  15. Avatar

    Salman Ahmad

    June 7, 2016 at 3:07 PM

    Allahu akbar…the best part of this article is about suffering from Parkinson, where he said when asked “Perhaps it is Gods way of showing me He is the greatest… not me.”

  16. Avatar

    D Noralizah

    June 7, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Innalilahiwainnaillahirajioon
    Allahuakbar.
    Beautifully said for a great legend a wonderful soul. So proud that He was one of us.

  17. Avatar

    Saadiyah

    June 9, 2016 at 3:55 AM

    May Allah showers His blessings on Muhammad Ali’s soul. Amiiiiin.

  18. Avatar

    Nurammar

    June 9, 2016 at 7:39 PM

    May Allah bless him…aminnn..

  19. Avatar

    Sufyan Abubakar

    June 9, 2016 at 10:24 PM

    I was surprised by my own grief. We knew he was severely ill, aging, and barely able to communicate. It was only a matter of time so why did it hurt so much? I still don’t know that I fully understand as many people have expressed the same feelings. But what I do believe is that Allah put the love of Muhammad Ali in the hearts of so many people. This is a special connection. It can’t but be divine. May Allah shower him in His mercy, raise him to levels in the hereafter even higher than the ones he reached in this world, and join us with him and the one he was named after in the highest level of Jannatul firdaws. Ameen

  20. Avatar

    Aba Haziq

    June 9, 2016 at 11:02 PM

    jazakAllah khairan for this beautiful tribute

  21. Avatar

    Leya nabi

    June 11, 2016 at 1:37 PM

    Ameen lets all take a moment and pray for the greatest

  22. Avatar

    Faaizah

    June 11, 2016 at 10:48 PM

    Masha Allah, what a beautifully written article.

  23. Avatar

    muhammed h

    June 12, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    As Salaamu Alaikum

    A tribute to a worthy Muslim espousing all the values which should be dear to all Muslims. We have so much to learn from Muhammed Ali. The tragedy is that it took his return to the Creator for us to appreciate his qualities. From HIM to we come and to HIM is our return. Innal lahi.

  24. Avatar

    Moumina

    June 16, 2016 at 4:42 AM

    Quote; “when he was once asked about his debilitating Parkinsons, he replied “Perhaps it is Gods way of showing me He is the greatest… not me.” Allahu Akbar!
    JazakumAllah for this memorial article which truly give our brother Muhammed Ali the tribute he deserve. Rahmatu Allah.
    I watched the memorial service live on net from my home in Oslo,Norway; and it truly showed the legacy left for us as an ummah. It is to rise ourself above all racism and discrimination, to be a servant of Allah Azza Wa Jall between all religions or ethnicity. To view the tribute shown to Muhammed Alis(RahmatuLlah) memory by not only figurative muslims, but also christian and jewish leaders, buddhists and native indians….surely was the best memorial service ever and indeed justified to brother Muhammed Alis memory. I pray that his name in history not only inspire to courage, but also that our duty as a global muslim, is that our concern for the fellow human being is without border, no matter religion, status or beliefs. May he rest in peace, and may his family be blessed.
    Wish you all Ramadan Kareem.

  25. Avatar

    Abu waliyya

    June 22, 2016 at 12:39 AM

    That’s fantastic may the Muslim world now take a look at words and phrases, and put in to practice, amin. Wa jazaakum Allah khairan.

  26. Avatar

    Abu waliyya

    June 22, 2016 at 12:41 AM

    That’s fantastic may the Muslim world now take a look at this words and phrases, and put in to practice, amin. Wa jazaakum Allah khairan.

  27. Avatar

    Ali

    September 9, 2016 at 3:12 AM

    R.I.P. Muhammed Ali

  28. Avatar

    Zia-e-Taiba

    October 31, 2016 at 9:08 AM

    Nice to see an article about Amazing Power Of Memory

  29. Avatar

    shreejon

    January 15, 2017 at 11:42 PM

    I am learn more about Muhammed Ali in this article which is unknown for me before. May Allah blessing him and reach Jannatul Ferdous. Amiiiiin.

Leave a Reply

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

#Current Affairs

Malaysians Ask China To Free Uyghurs, Close The Camps

Hena Zuberi

Published

on

Free Uyghur Malaysia

By Gulnaz Uighur

Muslims are standing up for Uyghurs, protests held in Malaysia.

5th of July could be just like another day for people but for Uyghurs, it brings back dark memories of a bloody past. This day, in 2009, thousands of Uyghur students were massacred by Chinese police in Urumqi. These young students were demanding an investigation into the rising number of homicides in a toy factory. These people only wanted justice. They were also upset by the ongoing discrimination in the employment sector. Graduates were denied jobs because of their Uyghur ethnicity. After the protests, China started abducting the Uyghur youth and no one knows where the missing went. Its been 10 years since that horrifying incident and the condition of Muslims have devolved in a genocidal nightmare.

Communist Government in China Has over 2 Million Uyghurs in Concentration Camps

Beijing has now locked over 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. People in these places are forced to denounce Islam, forget the teachings of Quran, prohibited from praying, asked to learn Xi Jinping’s speech and tortured for not obeying these orders. Sadly, Islam is being treated as a disease in China and most of the Islamic nations are turning a blind eye to it.

So Malaysia came as a breath of fresh air when Muslim NGOs organized an anti-China protest against Uyghur persecution.

On 5th July 2019, a coalition of 34 Malaysian NGOs gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to protest the persecution of Uyghurs. The organizations prepared a memo of protest to be submitted to Chinese officials. In the memo, they demanded Beijing to ‘Respect the human rights of the Uyghur people, in particular, their right to life and freedom of religion and belief.’ , ‘immediately stop the persecution and extreme repression of the Uyghur people.’ and close the camps. They also called upon the International community to increase the voices of protest and disfavour upon the Chinese government and to work together to improve the situation for the Uyghur people through concrete actions.

The protesters shouted slogans like ‘Me Too Uyghur’ and ‘Save Uyghur’. In a media interview, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), Mohamad Raimi Abdul Rahim asked immediate freedom for all those who have been detained in concentration camps.

Malaysians Stand With Uyghurs

Abim secretary Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz accused the Chinese government of concealing the plight of the Uyghurs by offering NGOs and government agencies free trips and painting a rosy picture of the camps. Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organizations (Mapim), said the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs could not be denied or disguised. The Group of NGOs also included Ikram Association and the Malaysian Youth Council among others.

Though no Chinese official came out to accept the memo, the message was clear that now people won’t keep quiet about the Uyghur persecution. There is a dire need for Muslim countries to break their silence on this issue. There is enough evidence to prove that something unholy and inhumane is happening with Uyghurs. If these countries consider China their friend then ask it to stop being a Shaitan. The leaders must realize that their first duty is towards the Ummah and not towards China.

Now is the time to stand for Uyghurs before nothing is left to be saved.

This protest in  Malaysia has proved that people in Muslim countries do support Uyghurs even if their governments are silent and are upset with Beijing’s policies. This event proved that governments may fail to fight but people won’t.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

The Environmental Cost Of War With Iran

Abu Ryan Dardir

Published

on

war with Iran

Report after report shows how planet Earth may reach a point of no return. An analysis written by Ian Dunlop claims the planet cannot be saved by the mid-century if we continue on this path. And yet here we are marching towards a war with Iran.

When we think of climate change, we rarely think of war. On June 12th, 2019, Brown University released a report declaring the Department of Defence to be “the world’s largest institution to use petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.” Burning jet fuel for transportation of troops and weapons make up 70 percent of the Pentagon’s emissions.  Ironically, earlier this year the Pentagon released a 22-page report to Congress stating the ⅔ of their mission-essential installation in the US are vulnerable to flooding, and ½ are susceptible to wildfires. To no surprise, Trump rejected those findings at the time. The Pentagon is now concerned with the impact climate change has on their “foreign missions.”

war, iran, America, Climate change, pentagonWith tensions high with Iran, and several thousand troops are expected to be deployed, if war with Iran is to happen, it may lead us to a more damaged planet that may not recover. This makes the Pentagon guilty of killing people and the earth. The Department of Defense has consistently used between 77-80% of the entire US energy consumption. We see spikes during times of massive war (since America is in a constant state of war), like in 1991, 2001, and so on.

Here is a list of the seven significant sources of greenhouse emissions done by the Department of Defense:

  1. Overall military emissions for installations and non-war operations.
  2. War-related emissions by the US military in overseas contingency operations.
  3. Emissions caused by US military industry   — for instance, for production of weapons and ammunition.
  4. Emissions caused by the direct targeting of petroleum,   namely the deliberate burning of oil wells and refineries by all parties.
  5. Sources of emissions by other belligerents.
  6. Energy consumed by reconstruction of damaged and destroyed infrastructure.
  7. Emissions from other sources, such as fire suppression and extinguishing chemicals, including   Halon, a greenhouse gas, and from explosions and fires due to the destruction of non-petroleum targets in warzones.

This impact on the climate is just the portion from America, in the Iraq war, 37 countries fought alongside America, and 60 are allied against ISIS. There is a way to calculate those emissions as well.

The Rules of War

Before engaging in battle, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) instructed his soldiers:

  1. Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
  2. Do not practice treachery or mutilation. (Al-Muwatta)
  3. Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees. (Al-Muwatta)
  4. Do not slaughter a sheep or a cow or a camel, except for food. (Al-Muwatta)
  5. If one fights his brother, [he must] avoid striking the face, for God created him in the image of Adam. (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
  6. Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)
  7. Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle. (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud)
  8. Do not wish for an encounter with the enemy; pray to God to grant you security; but when you [are forced to] encounter them, exercise patience. (Sahih Muslim)
  9. No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire. (Sunan Abu Dawud).
  10. Accustom yourselves to do good if people do good, and not to do wrong even if they commit evil. (Al-Tirmidhi)

A verse in the Holy Qur’an

4:75 (Y. Ali) And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!”

How does this potential war against Iran play into all this?

Our first call to action is to organize an anti-war rally. This type of work is weak in America, and virtually non-existent within the Muslim community.

فَقَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ أَمَّا هَذَا فَقَدْ قَضَى مَا عَلَيْهِ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ مَنْ رَأَى مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُنْكِرْهُ بِيَدِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمَانِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏

Abu Sa’eed said: ‘As for this, he has fulfilled what is upon him. I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying: ‘Whoever among you sees an evil, then let him stop it with his hand. Whoever is not able, then with his tongue, and whoever is not able, then with his heart. That is the weakest of faith.”‘

War with Iran will be a Greater Mistake than War with Iraq

Historically, anti-war sentiment in America has grown over the years. When the Iraq war first started only 23% thought it was a mistake, today it is close to 60% that believe the war is a mistake. Yes, this is in hindsight, but that it is also growth. The reason the anti-war movement is feeble in America is that there is no platform for the campaign to grow. Both parties are guilty of starting wars or taking over the wars from the past administration. Whether we do it alone as an individual or as a group, we should do everything we can as privileged members of this planet to save and protect those that can’t defend themselves.

There is a famous quote of the famed boxer Muhammad Ali when explaining why he wasn’t fighting in the war. He said, “…I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.”

Fighting Earth

With that said, there is a significant interest in the region for more than just fuel and resources. It is truly a problem, our operations in the Gulf is to address our dependency on Persian oil, and the fuel that is used to address our dependence is to protect those resources and access to them. One estimate is that America spends $81 billion annually defending the global oil supply. They do this because the DOD feels its dependency will make it vulnerable on a larger scale.

In 1975 America decided to take away the fear of losing the resources and developed the “Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” and in 1978, they created the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). Their only purpose was to defend US interest in the Middle East. This, in turn, leads to extractivism of resources and supplies. (Which will be explained in a future article).

This war can be the end of all wars as it can accelerate us to the point of no return in regards to climate change.

A war with Iran is a war with Earth and all who live on it.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

5 Quick Things Americans Can Do For Uyghurs Today

Abu Ryan Dardir

Published

on

“I may die, but let it be known that my nation will continue their struggle so long the world continues to exist.” Kazakh leader Uthman Batur. He said these words as Chinese authorities executed him for resisting the communist occupation. Currently, China has, one million Uyghurs (Uighurs), Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities held in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) (East Turkistan) in northwestern China.

Their struggle surpasses the 10 or so years since we have become aware of it. Just like the Rohingya genocide, we waited till the last minute. We are always late and say, “Never Again.” It happens again and again.

In my lifetime, there have been horrendous genocides that could have been prevented to stopped. As a child, I remember Rwanda in the headlines, then a year later Bosnian genocide. Then we hear these demonic stories after the fact. I remember stories from survivors from Bosnia, and thinking to myself, “How are you here and functioning?”

Let us not be fooled to why this is happening now. It is related to economic advantages. The Chinese government’s present signature foreign policy initiative is the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that seeks to connect the PRC economically to the rest of the Eurasian continent through massive infrastructure projects that will stimulate international trade. The western and south-western components of the BRI require the XUAR to serve as a transportation and commercial hub to trade routes and pipelines that will join China with Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and the entirety of Europe. As a result, the XUAR has become an important strategic region for the Chinese, and the state views its indigenous populations as an obstacle to developing its vision for this future critical center of international commercial networks.1

The expansion of their trade route also ties in Iran hence the sanctions placed, but that’s a different report for a different time. China, of course, has defended their actions by claiming its an anti-terrorism plan. Getting reliable information is hard. China has made it a point to make things difficult for reporters. Yanan Wang, a China-based journalist from the Associated Press, has reported extensively on and from Xinjiang.

In a ceremony at Asia Society on Tuesday commemorating AP’s 2019 Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, Wang described the subtle ways government minders worked to thwart her reporting: “(Both of the times we went there we arrived at the airport, we had a welcoming committee from the local authorities. They’re always very polite and professional. They say that “you’ve arrived in Xinjiang and we’re here to assist you in your reporting. Tell us what you’re working on so we can help you.” They offer us drives in their car and plenty of hospitality.

Basically, from the moment we arrive, we’re followed by at least one car. There are a bunch of interesting scenarios that we came across. You can see that the local handlers are trying hard to be professional. They are members of the propaganda department, so they’re PR professionals. They don’t want to make it appear like it’s so stifling. At one point, we were taking photos, and someone suddenly appeared on the scene to say he was a “concerned citizen.” He said he’d seen us taking photos and that it was an infringement of his privacy rights. He had this long monologue about privacy rights and about how it wasn’t right for us to take photos of him without his knowledge. We asked him, “Well, where are you in these photos?” and he’d go through all of them. He said we had to delete all of them. He’d say, “This is my brother,” or “This is my place of work, you have to delete it.”

They had all of these interesting tactics to work around the idea that they were trying to obstruct our reporting and make it appear that someone who claims to be a concerned citizen.)”2

On top of that, locals that talk to journalist are punished, sometimes go missing.

I decided to do something this time around; I got in touch with an Uyghur community near my residence to see how an individual could help. It started at a Turkic restaurant, and from there, I have been involved in whatever capacity I am able. Through this effort, I got in touch with a Turkic professor in Turkey who has students stranded as they are cut off from contacting family back in Xinjiang. He helps them out financially; my family and friends help with what they can.

As Muslims in the West, there is no doubt we should act. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim).

How Can You Help Uyghurs

Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Ask Congress to pass To pass S.178 & H.R.649 Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. Urge your senator and representative to support this cause. It has been introduced. This bill can help the Uyghur community to be treated like Tibetans (another region oppressed by China).

2. Stay informed. The mainstream media is not the place to get accurate information on the situation. Be skeptical of where the data is coming from, stick to reliable sources that are verified. As mentioned above, journalists find it difficult to report.

3. Donate to Uyghur Human Rights Organizations to end concentration camps: UHRP, Uyghur American Association  Donate to Awareness Campaigns: Save Uigur Campaign 

4. Boycott or reduce buying Made in China products

5. Follow these links for updated information: facebook.com/Uyghur-Human-Rights-Project-227634297289994/ and facebook.com/ChinaMuslims

This crisis is an ethnic cleansing for profit. These are dark days as we value profit over people.

1.Statement by Concerned Scholars on mass detentions | MCLC …. https://u.osu.edu/mclc/2018/11/27/statement-by-concerned-scholars-on-mass-detention s/

2.Why It’s So Difficult for Journalists To Report From …. https://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/why-its-so-difficult-journalists-report-xinjiang

Continue Reading

Trending