Connect with us

#Current Affairs

The Pain of a Black Muslim

Arthur Richards

Published

on

God is sufficient, and what an excellent guardian is He. God is sufficient, and what an excellent guardian is He. God is sufficient, and what an excellent guardian is He. My lips have been whispering this since this evening as my heart yells, “why?”

For the last 7 months I’ve been living abroad, fulfilling the goal of many students of the Islamic sciences in a country with a corrupt government and instability. Before I left America my community members and friends all continually reminded me that I’m leaving a country of freedom and safety to a country where I would need to be on my best behavior, where I would need to avoid confrontations with the police, where I would need to make sure I am not in the wrong place at the wrong time (not sure how that’s done), and that ultimately I would need to be conscious that at any moment something could happen to threaten my life. Little do they know that these safety precautions were taught to me with more vigor than an Islamic school teacher teaches his students to pray, they were shouted into my ears, and they were beaten into me when I forgot until the tears of my father hurt more than the belt on my behind.

I so desperately want to make something clear to you all. Even with all of the trials and tribulations that come with living away from America, I’ve never felt safer in my life. The immense weight and trauma that my heart is currently carrying isn’t there because of my current surroundings or because of the corrupt government that I now find myself living in, it’s there because I heard the yells and screams of Keith Scott’s wife as she said “Keith, come on out the car.” I could hear the realization in her voice that something was going to happen. The intuition that every black mother, wife, or mother of a black child has. It’s that realization that says I’m about to lose my world and it’s about to happen right now. That realization that no matter how many years you’ve had to mentally prepare yourself for this moment, those long talks of telling your son to cut his hair because an afro is like a dart board for the police, those talks of not wearing jackets because having an extra place to put your hands isn’t safe for you. Those reminders that you have to speak loud and clear and don’t allow anyone to doubt your command of a language that long ago was forced upon your ancestors.

God is sufficient, and what an excellent guardian is He. God is sufficient, and what an excellent guardian is He. I’m still trying to remind myself that He is in complete control and that I am being broken so that can I fully rely on Him, but it was recently released that Keith Scott’s mother believes that the last book he was reading was the Quran, “He loved to read that book”, she said. This black man sitting in his car reading the book of a group of people that unfortunately didn’t have the remorse to say his name in a Friday sermon, or to at least mention one of the 172 other black people killed by police this year. Maybe the Khateeb could have at least mentioned what is going on in the black world. I say world because it truly is a completely different place, for many believers it is like the world of the unseen, a world that many are blind to, sometimes intentionally so. A world that isn’t as important as their own and will never be.

God is sufficient, and what an excellent guardian is He. If this were a letter written with ink then it would probably be ruined right now with these drops of pain from my eyes. Gaines, Garner, Brown, Martin, Rice, Crutcher, Castile, Sterling, Bland, Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray. God is sufficient, and what an excellent guardian is He. Within 24 hours I have viewed videos of congressman, ex-mayors, “Black people hate white people, because white people are successful and they’re not.” I’ve spoken to acquaintances tell me that I should look at these killings objectively, that no doubt there is some racism but that I might be missing something, “not everything is about race,” they tell me. I’ve had my own beloved teachers who I love for the sake of God, they are the ones who have set me on this path of knowledge tell me blatantly that I’m taking this race issue too far and that they fear for me. They fear for me. But they can never understand the fear my mother has for me. I want to ask Shaykh, “Do you fear for me because you know at any moment when I arrive back on American soil that it could be me sitting in my car listening to Mishary or to your own Halaqah when it happens? When they call me and say, Come out with your hands in the air. . . only for me to awake and hear, Who is your Lord?”

I have no doubt in my mind that I need counseling; that every person of color in America is in need of counseling. That being Black and Muslim feels more like something a doctor diagnoses you with more than the perfect will of God. I feel so much pain; pain for those who are losing life, those afraid of losing someone, afraid of the next khutbah that they have to attend that neglects to mention the loss of life in their own neighborhood. Life that if walked in the masjid to embrace this faith would be hailed with praise but when that life is taken in a hail of bullets is met with silence.

I’ll continue to do my part, to educate, and to inspire. But this hole in my heart isn’t going anywhere, and I so desperately just want God to fill it. So I’ll keep saying it until my heart is filled and the pain goes away, “God is sufficient, and what an excellent guardian is He.”

HasbiAllah

“Hasbunallahu wa ni`mal Wakil’: حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ
Allah (alone) is Sufficient for us, and what an Excellent Guardian He is!.”
 آل عمران‎ : Surah Al ‘Imran (3:173)
Arthur Richards is a student of literature specializing in postcolonial theory, Islamic literature, and Muslim Africa. He has studied Islam through traditional methods among various scholars, du’at and students of knowledge here in the US and Mishkah University. He is currently studying Islamic sciences overseas.

Arthur Richards is a student of literature specializing in postcolonial theory, Islamic literature, and Muslim Africa. He has studied Islam through traditional methods among various scholars, du’at and students of knowledge here in the US and Mishkah University.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Noor

    September 24, 2016 at 2:35 AM

    Always remember the sacrifices of the valient Sahaba (ra). The lost their lives loved ones wealth and propert , all in the way of Islam.

    • Avatar

      Arthur Richards

      September 24, 2016 at 10:25 AM

      Indeed they were killed, starved and persecuted. Yet there is something so very important that we need to remember, our faith is one of action and wisdom. While we take the time toremember the companions (God be pleased with them), we should remember that the reason we remember them is because they placed their wisdom and action together. They saw injustice and fought it, they conquered themselves and allowed our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to mold them into the pearls they became.

      Today we have people around us suffering, we have pearls around us waiting to be molded but they are being killed. People we can directly affect for the better if we only decide to be of those that submit to God and serve His creation.

      Let us remember the sacrifices the companions made and the sacrifices that we can make as well for a stronger tomorrow.

    • Avatar

      Brittney Slavonjack

      September 29, 2016 at 5:43 PM

      verily, the help of Allah I’d near.

      • Avatar

        Brittney Slavonjack

        September 29, 2016 at 5:44 PM

        verily, the help of Allah is near.

  2. Avatar

    Sameen

    September 24, 2016 at 8:31 AM

    All I can say to you my brother is, May Allah fill your heart with peace and give you the strength to continue your mission. I will speak up whenever I will get the chance and I hope my voice will be of help!

    • Avatar

      Naeeyma

      September 24, 2016 at 9:46 AM

      Oh Allah respond to the cry of the oppressed. Allah is sufficient for the needs of His creatures.

    • Avatar

      Arthur Richards

      September 24, 2016 at 10:26 AM

      Amīn to your beautiful prayer. We are all branches of the same tree, and with our Prophet as our trunk and God as our nourishment we will continue to bare fruit that will change the world for the better.

      May you be blessed.

      • Avatar

        Rafeena Khan

        September 24, 2016 at 7:51 PM

        Ameen May Allah swt keep you safe to fulfill your journey, fill your heart with peace and grant mercy and shelter to his servant. May Allah swt open out hearts and minds to accept all of humanity regardless of race or religion.

  3. Avatar

    GregAbdul

    September 24, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    May Allah reward those who run this website, for giving this black man an audience and a hearing.

    We have a divide in American Islam. We have the immigrants and we have the black Americans. For me, we are all wrong. We live in a non-Muslim place that is full of riches and suffering at the same time. Most of us seem a little to pre-occupied with the riches. Black American Muslims have a cultural tradition of withdrawing from the larger black American non-Muslim community and hiding in our mosques only to pretend the leaders are kings or bosses whenever they see any black American Muslim. These black American Muslim groups run from the actions of Malcolm X, who went out into the streets to beg suffering black people to leave the religion that was forced on us during slavery.

    Our American immigrants often leave places run by Muslims to come to this place run by Christians. Some sheiks long ago told me this is an act of disbelief UNLESS, you make dawah your prime mission here in this non-Muslim place. If you immigrated to come here to get money for you and your family and to take money for running from or hiding your Islam, make no mistake, you will answer to Allah. I love both groups. Because of my upbringing, I could only enter Islam through a masjid operating under the leadership of Warith Deen Muhammad, may Allah shower light into his grave. Today I seek Muslim integration and I am blessed to attend an immigrant masjid where the people are not perfect, but I see them, working hard, to be inclusive and to leave the immigrant intolerance of the older generations behind.

    Keith Scott died trying to enter Islam. This is the version we as Muslims believe of him and it reminds us of the man who killed the 99. Islam teaches us that Allah and his deen are the answer. Malcolm famously said Islam is the cure for racial division in America. We are failing, mostly ourselves, but then even our nation and our black American fellow citizens, when we see and know they are suffering because many black people are stuck in a shirk forced on them during our captivity, yet we pretend it’s tolerance to sit and watch black Americans die and suffer in bad religion because many of my people simply do not know existential happiness.

    This is the only power of Shaytaun and the fruit of when he tricks or blinds people about the greatness of Allah. He is the author of much of the suffering we see around us, as a test from Allah. The shaytaun is our open and greatest enemy and we must fight him for every soul within our reach and we must move beyond lip service and make this a real priority in our American Ummah. We didn’t reach this man in time. We should be afraid. We did not reach him, yet he died trying to reach us as we sat comfortably in our ever-expanding mosques. Allah and His messenger are always the answer. I pray we as Muslims fulfill our duties and that Allah grants us true happiness.

    • Avatar

      Zeinab

      September 25, 2016 at 5:54 AM

      I know lots of black Muslims who have gone to Muslim countries in search of the utopia you seem to allude to, only to find that racism and class elitism is just as bad there, if not worse. To the point that some of them are questioning whether they want to be Muslim anymore. Black people who live in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia are discriminated against all the time. Even African Muslims in the U.S. disrespect blackamericans even though none of those immigrants would be here without our sacrifices. So where is the refuge? Islam is great but Muslims are often horrible, even to their own.

      • Avatar

        GregAbdul

        September 25, 2016 at 9:04 AM

        asa Sister,
        Neither I nor Br. Arthur, who wrote this article said that overseas was a black Utopia. There is prejudice in the Ummah. I am only a commenter, but writers featured here have openly said racism exists within the Ummah. We have major Imams like Dawwud Walid talk often about racism and Muslims.

        We are not perfect. But please be fair. If you go to Africa, the people in Africa are not color blind or without tribal bias. Farrakhan is an old black American bigot who claims he is a Muslim. Discrimination belongs to those with power, but the idea that you treat people badly simply because they are not from your place or because their skin is not like yours, is not the province of any particular group. The key issue is movement and for me, the main movement I do not see as a black man are the millions of black people who refuse to openly denounce Louis Farrakhan. Maybe we should take the log out of our own eye first?

        Br. Arthur said he was warned of the dangers overseas by his sheik, yet he hurts for the dangers he faces here at home. I said, American Muslims ignore blacks trapped in bad religion. I criticize my immigrant brothers and sisters, but they are not some foreign group I bash. Allah commands me that they are my brothers and sisters, even when they don’t behave as such. Farrakhan is an immigrant basher who lies on Islam. Do you stand against him and his open racism?

      • Avatar

        Brittney Slavonjack

        September 29, 2016 at 5:59 PM

        I agree, the grass always seems green on the other side. we as Muslims have to remember everyone has their trials. blacks whites, Arab Ethiopian Muslim’s and non nomuslims ect.

        trying to figure everything (injustices) out here is useless in my opinion. that’s Allah’s work. keeping the pillars of islam’s should be our only concern. weather we are in usa, Australia, or Antarctica.

  4. Avatar

    abu taubah

    September 27, 2016 at 11:18 PM

    Maa shaa Allaah, and baarakallaahi feek. You have touched on the topic well and I hope that we grow from it and do more to fight the injustices that we face as afrikan amerikkkan muslims.

  5. Avatar

    Latifah

    September 28, 2016 at 12:17 PM

    “Hasbunallahu wa ni`mal Wakil’: حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ1

    Allah (alone) is Sufficient for us, and what an Excellent Guardian He is!.”

    آل عمران‎ : Surah Al ‘Imran (3:173)

  6. Avatar

    Haroon

    September 28, 2016 at 2:56 PM

    So do not lose heart, nor fall into despair: For you will eventually have the upper hand if you are true in Faith. If a wound hath touched you, be sure a similar wound hath touched the others. Such days of varying fortunes, We give to men and men by turns: that Allah may make evident those that believe, and that He may take to Himself from your ranks Martyr-witnesses. And Allah loves not those that do wrong. Surat Al-Imran 3: 139-140

  7. Avatar

    Umm Hadi

    October 9, 2016 at 1:37 PM

    Br Arthur,
    Very Inspiring and thought provoking. May Allah add barakah to your work and may the world see more leaders like you in wisdom and action.
    Ameen ya Rabbul Alameen.

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