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130+ American Muslim Imams, Scholars and Community Leaders Sign A Statement On The Ongoing Oppression of Uighur Muslims

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In the Name of God, the Benevolent, the Merciful,

All praise is due to Allahﷻ and may the Creator send His blessings and salutations upon our master, Muhammadﷺ, as well as upon his family and companions.

We, imams, scholars and community leaders, hereby affirm and declare the following fundamental points:

We ask the People’s Republic of China to free Uighurs from its concentration camps, return children to their families, and restore their freedom of religion.

We call upon our neighbors of other faiths to support this demand.

We call upon fellow citizens to stop buying products produced through slave labor from these camps.

We thank the US government for raising the issue of human rights abuses and detainment in the concentration camps and ask the rest of the world to do the same.

We call upon all people to stand in solidarity with the Uighur people on April 6, 2019 in Washington DC.

Signed,

Dr Yasir Qadhi, The Islamic Seminary of America, TX
Dr Muzammil Siddiqi, The Islamic Society of Orange County, CA
Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda, TX
Mufti Mohammad Ibrahim Qureshi, Islamic Center of Northridge, CA
Imam Malik Mujahid, SoundVision, Burma Task Force
Shaykh Furhan Zubairi, Institute of Knowledge, CA
Shaykh Suleiman Hani, Islamic Center of Detroit, MI
Chaplain Bilal Ansari, Hartford Seminary, Williams College, MA
Ustadha Zainab Ansari, Tayseer Seminary, TN
Ameer Esedullah Uygur, Ummah Uyghur Awareness Coalition
Hena Zuberi, Justice For All, Muslimmatters.org
Shaykh Hasib Noor, The Legacy Institute
Ashfaq Taufique, Birmingham Islamic Society, AL
Imam Yaser Birjas, Valley Ranch Islamic Center, TX
Imam Khalid Fattah Grigg, Community Mosque of Winston-Salem, NC
Zahra Billoo, CAIR-SF, CA
Ameer Mustapha Elturk, Islamic Organization of North America (IONA),
Imam Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, Muslim Center of Long Island, NY
Jenny Yanez MSW, Jefferson Muslim Association, LA
Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, San Francisco Muslim Community Center, CA
Dr. Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini, Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, CA
Imam Mohamed Magid, VA
Sayyid M. Syeed, Islamic Society of North America
Shaykh Abdel Hamid, Noor Al Islam Society, NY
Dr Omar Shahin, Graduate Theological Foundation & North American Imams Federation (NAIF)
Khidr Nassam Bamba, Masjid Taqwa Bronx, NY
Dr. Hamud Al-Silwi, Bronx Muslim Center, NY
Imam Faisal Ahmad, The Fiqh & Dawah Center of America, NY
Adel Elmorsi, The Islamic Center of Morris County, NJ
Imam Ibrahim Atasoy, North East Islamic Community Center, NY
Shaykh AbdurRahman Ahmad , Islamic Center of New England, MA
Omar Kawam, Williams College Muslim Students’ Union, MA
Dr Ossama Bahloul, Islamic Center of Nashville, TN
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, Mosque Without Borders
Dr Ahmad M. Hemaya, New Haven Islamic Center, CT
Imam Reda A Sallam, Masjid Almostafa, Waterbury, CT
Shaykh Hani Salem, Paradise Hajj & Umrah/Baitulmaal
Imam ibn Al-Saeed Fouad Al-Balawi, ICNEO, OH
Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego, CA
Imam Imad Enchassi, ISGOC, CA
Imam Tamer Abdelaziz, Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin, WI
Imam Ibrahim Ezghair, Clear Lake Islamic Center, TX
Basem Hamid, Wasat Institute, Shadow Creek Muslim Community Center, TX
Imam Fateen Seifullah, Masjid As Sabur, NV
Shaykh Abdeljalil Mezgouri, Islamic Center of San Diego, CA
Mohamad Adam El Sheikh, Dar Al Noor Islamic Community Center, North American Imams Federation
Abdul Jebrin, Muslim American Society
Haj Dawoud S Abdullah, Islamic Cultural Center of Niagara Falls, NY
Imam Nadim Ali, Community Masjid of Atlanta, GA
Imam Ayman Soliman, AIC Masjid, IL
Imam Amr Dabour, Bay County Islamic Society, FL
Imam Amin Azim, Islamic Center of Yakima, WA
Imam Hussein Nasser, IL
Dr Yunus Adetunji Fasasi, Islamic Community of Puerto Rico, PR
Imam Mohamed Musa, IL
Moustafa Kamel, West Coast Islamic Center, CA
Wafaa Wahabi, AMC Everett Masjid, WA
Dr Mohammad Siddiqi, Kalamazoo Islamic Center, MI
Imam Obair Katchi, Islamic Society of Corona-NorCo, CA
Shaykh Abdelmoniem Elamin, Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center, VA
Abdallah Ddumba, Justice for All, Burma Task Force
Imam Azfar Uddin, Islamic Foundation North, IL
Mawlana Bilal Ali Ansari, Khalil Center, IL
Isam Zaiem, CAIR-Ohio
Imam Abdelghader Ould Siyam, Islamic Association of Cincinnati, OH
Ahmad Banna, MACE Islamic Center, OH
Imam Ashraf Ibrahim, Omar Islamic Center, MN
Mahgiub El-Arabi, Al-Umma Center of Santa Clarita Valley, CA
Naveed Ahmed, Helping Hand for Relief and Development; ICNA
Sheik Housein, Islamic Society of Washington Area, MD
Mohammed Saber Odeh, Mizquita Al Farouq, PR
Amir Al Hajj Khalid Samad, The International Council For Peace, Justice And Empowerment
Rudwan Abu-rumman, Anne Arundel County Muslim Council. MD
Shaykh Suhail Mulla, Islamic Society West Valley, CA
Dr Imam Khalid Nasr, Islamic Center of New England, MA
Imam Abdelsalam Abounar, Dareleman Educational Center, TX
Kadeer Ainiwaer, Ummah Uyghur Awareness Coalition
Salih Hudayar, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement
Zainab Chaudry, CAIR- Maryland
Waheedah Muhammad, CAIR-Kentucky
Ibrahim Sheikh, Islamic Society of Annapolis, MD
Imam Mohamed Elagami, Elhedaya Islamic Society, TX
Imam Ismail Bryant, National Amirate of Baytul Khaliq, NJ
Mahmoud Shalash, Islamic Center of Lexington, KY
Shaikh Joe Bradford, Houston Muslim Community, TX
Waqas Syed, Islamic Circle of North America
Yusuf Hanif, Dawah Brings Faith
Babatunde Ibrahim Tiamiyu, DeenUp Athletics
Imam Abdullah Sahin
Daoud Nassimi, Professor of Religion, NOVA Community College, VA
Imam Ismail Fenni, Yusuf Mosque, MA
Nihad Awad, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Imam Asif Hirani, Worcester Islamic Center, MA
Imam Adil Khan, ICCL – Islamic Community Center of Laurel, MD
Imam Mahmoud Harmoush, Islamic Center of Riverside, CA
Imam Obair Katchi, Islamic Society of Corona, Norco,CA
Imam Djilali Kacem, Ph.D, Dar-Aljalal Masjid, MO
Imam Ali M Bagegni, Ph.D, Northwest Islamic Center, MO
Imam Eldin Susa, St Louis Islamic Center Masjid Nur, MO
Dr Dris Djermoun, Islamic Council of New England, MA
Imam Ahmad H Durrani, Masjid Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, MO
Shaykh Saleh Saleh, Imam Council of Metro St. Louis, MO
Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali, Northeast Denver Islamic Center, CO
Imam M. A. Azeez, Tarbiya Institute, CA
Chaplain Nada El-Alami, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MA
Hasan Hammad, Islamic Society of Baltimore, MD
Dr. Ed Tori, Islamic Society of Baltimore, MD
Shaykh Tarik Ata, Orange County Islamic Foundation, CA
Zahid Bukhari, ICNA Council for Social Justice (CSJ)
Ismet Akcin, Islamic Society of Baltimore, MD
Saleem Ahmad, Baltimore County Muslim Council, MD
Adileh Sharieff, Islamic Center of Maryland, MD
Amin Ezzeddine, MAS Maryland
Saqib Ali, Former State Delegate Maryland
Jameel Aalim-Johnson, Prince George’s County Muslim Council, MD
Yusufi Vali, Islamic Society of Boston, MA
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik Ibn Seale, Muslim Society of Washington, DC
Mohamed Helmy, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, VA
Nasser Saleh, Al Firdaus Jinnaza Service, VA
Hossein Gosl, Dar Al Hijrah, VA
Mirvais Ayubi, Dar Al Hijrah, VA
Kuzzat Altay, Uyghur Entrepreneurs Network
Rafi Uddin Ahmed, Muslim Association of Virginia, Dar Al Noor Islamic Center, VA
Shaykh Omar Suleiman, Yaqeen Institute, TX
Khalid M. Mirza, Muslim Communities Association of South Florida, FL
Naveed Alvi, Chino Valley Islamic Center, CA
Mohamed Almasmari, Muslim Unity Center, MI
Chaplain Saffet A. Catovic, Drew University, NJ
Muhammad Farooq, Islamic Center of Northern Virginia Trust, VA
Shaykh Ismet Akcin, Islamic Society of Baltimore, MDImam M. Musa Azam-Ibrahimi Majlis Daawatul Haqq of America, IN
Imam Ayman Soliman, AIC, IL
Sr. Erin Ogborn, Tri-State Islamic Center, Dubuque, IA
Memet Emin, Columbia University, NY
Sahar Alsahlani, Religions for Peace, USA, NY
Qutaibah J. Abbasi, Duncanville Islamic Center, TX
Aneelah Afzali, MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network), WA
Rafik Beekun, University of Nevada and AMSS, NV
Jawad Rasul, Islamic Society of Augusta, GA
Imam Nadim Bashir, East Plano Islamic Center, TX
Morsy Salem At-Tawheed Islamic Center, MI
Imam Ali Siddiqui, Muslim Institute – Interfaith Studies & Understanding, D.C.
Zohra Lasania, CAIR Pittsburgh
Linda Sarsour, MPower Change, NY
Dr. Jobeh Nasser, Muslim Brotherhood, MI
Imam Qasim ibn Ali Khan, Masjid At-Tawhid, TX
Imam Qasim ibn Ali Khan, Masjid At-Tawhid, TX
Chaplain Bilal Mirza, Babson College, MA
Mufti Mohammed Uddin Kawthar, Rihlatul Ilm Foundation, PA
Imam Mahad, AMCC, FL
Imam Mohammad Kibria, Darul Uloom New York, NY
Imam Qarib Ur Rahman, Manassas Muslim Association, VA
Imam Ibrahim Ahmad, Masjid Noor, Huntington, NY
Imam Nihad Yesil,The Islamic Institute, Dallas, TX
Ahmed Abdurrab Rabbani, Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, MI
Mufti Sulaiman Yusufi, ICMC, NJ
Chaplain Kaiser Aslam, Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University, NJ
Shaykh Burhan, Peace Children Academy, Brooklyn, NY
Mohammad Kawser, Darus Sunnah USA, NY
Imam Lateef Rahman, Islamic Society Of Tracy, CA
Chaplain Mohammed Shahid, Somerville Masjid,MA
Fathi Alam, Darul Uloom New York, NY
Mahdi Baitul Hamd Institute, NY
Imam Abdurrahman, DQWS, NY
Shaykh Osman Umarji, UC Irvine, CA
Imam Omar Khan, Khatme Nubuwwat Center, VA
Shaykh Afzal Sheikh Jr, Islamic center of Deer Park, NY
Imam Abrar Malik, Masjid Alfalah New York City, NY
Imam Mufti Shazad M. Hussain, A.I.M. Masjid Noor VA
Shaykh Afzal Sheikh Jr, Islamic Center of Deer Park, NY
Ismail Hossain, Islamic Foundation of NJ, NJ
Amir Ali Muwallif Muhammad, The Islamic Freedom Foundation, MD
Imam Sabur Abdul-Salaam, New York State Department of Correction, NY
Aisha H.L. al-Adawiya, Women In Islam, inc.
Shaikh Hafiz Abu Sufian, United Imam and Ulama Council USA, NY

If you are a scholar, imam, an organizational or a masjid leader and would like to sign the statement please do so here 

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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.

Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of Muslimmatters.org. She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. hena.z@muslimmatters.org Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    pa.Mohmed Ameen

    February 7, 2019 at 11:10 PM

    What China should try is to give full autonomy to the region where these people live as China has done to Hong Kong

    The region of of Xinjiang is also called as East Turkestan and inhabited by Uyghurs who are culturally and geography near to the Central Asians

    China has illegally occupied East Turkestan along with region of Inner Mongolia and Tibet and has secured them by establishing close ties with some of neighboring countries , Pakistan and Tajikistan being one of them.

    China has close military ties with Pakistan and has been assisting them in areas of infrastructure development and technology transfer of military equipment. Pakistan should help to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict

    The Uyghurs are not religious bigot all they want is independence from Chinese Oppression. They look towards Tajikistan , Afghanistan and People of Pakistan to stand for them but none of these nation are match to China since they are too weak.

    Thus they are fighting for their independence which is looked by Chinese as ‘terrorism’. The casualties and losses in these attacks are negligible and the intensity is very low

  2. Avatar

    pa.Mohmed Ameen

    February 7, 2019 at 11:13 PM

    In the Muslim world some big nations like Indonesia , Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh are close friends of China many are impressive still, and the political leaders of these nations have the deceptive capacity shouting Islamic unity and but keeping silent about the oppression of Muslims in China and to some extent in Burma

    They ignore the Islamophobia raging in their most favoured state called China .

    That’s real unacceptable politik from the point of view of Islamic brotherhood .

    How does the Ummah react to the anti-Muslim bigotry across Europe and North America .

    The Ummah suppose that the Pakistani Prime Minister’s will make the next passionate speech on Sino-Pak friendship over the sound of the invisible elephant making a loud noise in the room.

    Islam is a priority but for many Muslim nations politics though injustice is given priority

    The game is Americans or Chinese Or Russians?NOT ISLAM and its followers

    https://www.dawn.com/news/1173034

  3. Avatar

    pa.mohamedameen

    February 7, 2019 at 11:22 PM

    Every man made ideologies like communism will be thrown into the dust bin of history

    China will get disintegrated as USSR if China persists in its oppression of Uyghor Muslims on the pretext of preventing the advance of Islam in China

    This is what the imam meant in his letter to Gorbachev It did happen

    http://en.imam-khomeini.ir/en/n29211/Revisiting-Imam-Khomeini-s-Letter-to-Gorbachev

    mam Khomeini, Letter to President Gorbachev, January 3, 1988

    Now a country, such as the Soviet Union, that was a military powerhouse, that had its own industry, culture and strength; while having its share of economic problems due to crippling sanctions, could – with some sensible restructuring and reform (that didn’t compromise its ideology) – become self-sufficient.

    How did such an entity succumb so catastrophically to the illusions presented by those who were instrumental in the soft war against her?

  4. Avatar

    Abu Muhaya

    February 8, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    Its not just the Uighurs, even the Hui are affected, my FIL was murdered by these animals, just 2 weeks after being detained, we don’t know what happened to him, he entered detention a healthy man and 2 weeks later, my MIL was contacted to meet him at hospital, unable to speak, a day later he died. He was a simple farmer, a 65 year old man who worked hard his whole life for his family. Yet these people tortured him to death, they MURDERED him, plain and simple! Half of my wife’s village was taken away including my brother-in-law, I don’t know how many thousands of Muslims were taken and tortured in these “reeducation” camps. Yet the silence of the Muslim world is deafening

  5. Avatar

    Bisma Jamil

    February 23, 2019 at 10:16 AM

    Thus they are fighting for their independence which is looked at by the Chinese as terrorism. Pakistan, iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries with Pakistan.

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Civil Rights

Podcast: The Unfinished Business of Martin Luther King | Imam Zaid Shakir

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Our Muslim community is one whose existence, contrary to popular misconception, is predicated on the establishment of peace.

I believe that we have been divinely prepared to take up the torch held aloft so courageously by Dr. King and dedicate ourselves to the completion of his work.Click To Tweet

– Imam Zaid Shakir

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Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

The New Scramble For Africa

Africa
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Africa is a blessed continent with resources and biodiversity that would impress anyone. Africa’s history in Islam (while neglected) played a major role, it was home to the first country to welcome the Muslims and allow them to practice freely. After the spread of Islam trough traders, regions across Africa became hubs for knowledge and trade. The richest man in history hailed from Africa and was Muslim, and his name was Mansa Musa. The riches of Africa have always sought after. People from all over the world have aimed to to do business or exploit the blessed continent. Unfortunately, the history of Africa is filled with strife, bloodshed, slavery, and holocausts. This rings true till today. The purpose of this article is not to dwell on the past, be it Arab influence or colonization. The events going on today needs out attention, we have ignored the struggles of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Africa long enough. 

The first major scramble for Africa was in the 19th century, when Europe carved it up like it was their property. The second was during the cold war, when East and West seek allegiances of newly independent African states. We are witnessing a third scramble that is less obvious, and more behind the scenes with “investments” and “wars”. It can be described as a cold war between China and America. 

African mines

Some see the resources they have like oil, chocolate, rare earth minerals, diamonds, etc. as a blessing (investors mostly), but to the people living through this every day it is a curse. Oil or mineral dependent countries in Africa suffer from enclave industrialization, limited diversity in their economy, and vulnerability to price shock. While this is happening, they see decay in their agriculture, manufacturing, and other trades. The continent is still traumatized by five centuries of exploitation. It is no easy obstacle to overcome. What we are seeing will only get worse as oil production is expected to peak in 2025, world scarcity will increase, and we will see more wars around oil. For the last decade, China has been using “soft power,” basically using money for leverage. This comes in the form of aid, trade, infrastructure projects, and loans. This is a plot to make them a superpower in the region. America, on the other hand, is doing what it has been doing since 1776, it is confronting Africa as a “battlefield,” basically running operations or anti-terrorism projects in dozens of countries that the American public is unaware of. 

One example is South Sudan, and the American campaign to split the Muslim country of Sudan to two. Before the split, China reportedly had invested $20 billion in Sudan. With American interventions occurring, China watched the events unfold. After the split the newly inaugurated president of South Sudan flew to China to secure an $8 billion investment. By 2013, China controlled 40% of their largest crude oil producers and was importing 77% of the country’s output. After unrest and bloodshed occurring in Libya, Mali, Sudan, etc, China has established a stronger effort with peacekeeping officers to protect their oil interest. As one superpower implements one tactic, another superpower follows its traditional method. Last year in Niger, American soldiers, including two commandos, were killed. This was surprising to me as I was unaware of American military operation in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world with Muslims making 98% of its population.

We have seen a dangerous rise of commandos in Africa. In 2006, under Bush, 1% of deployed commandos were in Africa, by 2011 under Obama it had risen to 3%. It does not stop there, before stepping down from office, in 2016, 16.5% of American commandos deployed were deployed in Africa.

In 2006, only 70 special ops were deployed across the continent, in 2014 we have 700 deployed special ops in Africa. “None of these special operations forces are intended to be engaged in direct combat operations,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert S. Karem. Despite this declaration, despite the deaths of soldiers in Niger, U.S. commandos keep finding themselves in situations that are indistinguishable from combat. 

In March of 2018, the New York Times released an article of 10 unreported attacks of American troops between 2015 and 2017. Despite these attacks and distrust towards the region, the Pentagon built a $100 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, regardless of the people’s concerns towards a base being built near their home. Our worldly desires is fueling this new scramble for Africa. Our need for resources, technology, and fuel comes at a cost. This cost manifests itself as the development of the rentier state (eventually developing into a kleptocracy across Africa, professional soldiers ruling the resource-rich lands or an expansion of the “war on terror”. 

Here are a few theoretical solutions, some are to be initiated by the government and some rely on people-power movements. The government needs to reduce corruption and that can be done through a menu of policies created to control and maintain corruption. Controlling corruption can be done through; changing the selections of national agents, modifying the rewards and punishments systems, and restructuring the relations between national agents and users to reduce monopolies. Another venue the government can explore is directly distributing resource revenues to the people. This is practiced in Alaska, and has been wildly successful. Finally, the government can invest the resource revenues in social development. Harnessing the revenues for human development to include education, healthcare, job training, and housing will lift up the urban and rural poor. 

The people can pressure the government to pursue any of those ideas mentioned. A power-people movement can look different depending on the need. One idea is that consumers in the West to boycott African minerals due to corruption and/or exploitation. This can develop into “smart boycotts” where we use internet hedge funds to attack corporations that exploit and feed into corruption. Developing campaigns like “blood diamonds” in the past have been proven effective to generate awareness and bring vital change. The same was done with the ivory, and now even China has laws making the product illegal.

People-power movements work and have helped locals rid of unwanted corporations in their region. Ken Saro-Wiwa, was a leader of the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta, he rallied against the abuses of the Nigerian military regime and the oil pollution created by multi-national companies, which resulted in a change of consciousness for the better. 

In his words: “Whether I live or die is immaterial. It is enough to know that there are people who commit time, money and energy to fight this one evil among so many others predominating worldwide. If they do not succeed today, they will succeed tomorrow.”

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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.

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#Current Affairs

CAA – NRC Row: Why There Is More To It Than An Attack On Secular Ethos

indian economy caa
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‘Indian Muslims have nothing to fear. No one knows what CAA/NRC is all about. They are simply protesting because they are misled’, thus proclaimed a former classmate of mine who himself left India for brighter prospects during PM Narendra Modi’s regime but continues to believe in his promise of ‘acche din’ (good days).

Today the whole of India is divided over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which is to be followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Thousands of students from India’s premier institutions like Jamia Milia Islamia, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, IITs and IIMs are thronging the streets to protest against the bigoted law.

The ripple effect has even reached top educational institutions across the world including Harvard, Oxford, Yale and MIT. From lawyers to celebrities to academicians, people across the world, belonging to different religions are raising their dissent against the law which is deemed to be against the secular fabric of the Indian Constitution.

What is this law all about?

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) provides an accelerated path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhists, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities from three countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an official record of all those who are legal Indian citizens. So far, such a database has only been created for the northeastern state of Assam which has been struggling with the issue of illegal immigration for a long time. In Assam 1.9 million people were effectively rendered stateless after NRC and were put into detention centers. Out of these 1.9 million, around 0.6 million are Muslim.

On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah declared during a parliamentary session that the register would be extended to the entire country.

Why the uproar?

At first glance the CAA seems to be a harmless law, which the government claims was made to help those who are facing religious persecution. However, the question arises why only those suffering religious persecution? Millions of people are suffering persecution in the name of race, region or language in India’s neighboring countries.

Even if we talk about just religious persecution, why does the law only accommodate those from three neighboring countries? Rohingyas are suffering brutal persecution in Myanmar. Christians are suffering in Sri Lanka. Tibetans have been persecuted because of their beliefs.

Many people opine that the CAA is not problematic in itself. It becomes problematic when it’s seen in conjunction with NRC. When NRC is implemented, millions of people will be declared illegal due to lack of documents in a country where the masses live in villages and documentation is a complicated bureaucratic process with a high error rate. According Professor Shruti Rajagopalan, the State Of Aadhaar Report 2017-18 by IDinsight, covering 2,947 households, found that 8.8% of Aadhaar holders reported errors in their name, age, address or other information in their Aadhaar letter (Aadhaar is the identity number issued to Indian residents). In the NRC, a spelling mistake can deprive one of citizenship and 8.8% affects over 120 million people.

They will be rendered stateless and sent to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Out of these ‘illegals’, everyone but Muslims can seek accelerated citizenship under CAA.

The fact is that even if we view CAA alone, the very act of offering citizenship on the basis of religion goes against the fundamentals of secularism and equality as mentioned in the Indian constitution.

UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has termed the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory”.

In this context, it’s also relevant to understand the revolt that is happening in the north eastern state of Assam. While the rest of India is against CAA and NRC for exclusion of Muslims, the people of Assam are protesting against the inclusion of 1.3 million undocumented Non-Muslims, as identified in the NCR. According to them, if these foreigners are granted citizenship under CAA, they pose a threat to the language and culture of Assam.

Police brutality against protesters

Student fraternity across the world was shocked when students of Jamia Milia Islamia who were peacefully protesting against the CAA were brutally attacked by police forces. Police accused students of destroying public property and fired tear gas shells, beat them up mercilessly and even open fired at them. They barged into the library, mosque and even the women’s hostels without authorization.

Video footage shot by students and reviewed by Reuters show students, including women, hiding beneath desks in the library, cowering in restrooms, jumping over broken furniture in an attempt to flee. It was later verified that none of the students had anything to do with some of the buses that were set ablaze outside the campus.

Reports of even more horrific police brutality surfaced from Aligarh Muslim University. A student’s hand had to be amputated after a tear gas shell hit him and exploded. Hundreds of students were severely injured.

Section 144 of the Criminal Code which prohibits any gathering of 5 or more people has been imposed across the entire state of UP. Internet has been shut down in several parts.

Videos showing police destroying properties of innocent Muslims in UP have surfaced which the ‘Godi media’, a term coined for PM Modi’s lapdog media, refuses to acknowledge. Innocent youth are being dragged out of their homes and their properties are being seized on the accusation of destruction of public property. Death toll has crossed 22. Thousands are in custody.

It’s not surprising that Narendra Modi is being compared to Adolf Hitler.

India’s secular ethos

Religion based politics is nothing new in India, the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue and Gujarat riots being two of the most glaring examples.

However, in day to day life ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, Aapas mein sab bhai bhai’ (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are all brothers) has not just been a slogan but a way of life.

Muslims in India have held prominent positions in every sphere of life, be it arts, literature, sports or leadership and have been admired by Hindus and Muslims alike.

The current BJP government aims to change all of that with its RSS-inspired fascist ideology of Hindutva – Hindu nationalism andHindu rashtra’ (nation).

India’s faltering economy and dejected youth

One of the heartening aspects of the CAA/NRC uprising is that it is not being seen as just a Muslim struggle. It is rightly being seen as a struggle to uphold the secular ethos of the Constitution of India. However, there is more to this struggle which is being led by the youth of the country.

Underlying the CAA-NRC struggles is the country’s deep disappointment with PM Modi’s lofty promises of ‘acche din’ (good days) which gave the country a new hope . Among other things he promised to make India an economic superpower. Today the nation’s economy is in doldrums which has led to frustration and dejection in the youth.

IMF’s last forecast for India was 6.1% growth in 2019. This has slumped to 4.9%. Unemployment is at a 45-year high and industrial growth rate is negative.

One of the major reasons for the economic slowdown has been the government’s radical decision of demonetization in 2016 which sent the entire country in a turmoil and failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. Small businesses took a further hit with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

At a time when the government’s primary concern should have been the faltering economy, the government diverted the country’s attention to the Babri Masjid -Ram Janmabhoomi issue. As soon as that ended it announced the CAA and NRC, continuing its propaganda of Hindu nationalism as opposed to real issues faced by the nation.

At this critical junction the economy can be expected to take a further hit by the cost of the implementation of the CAA and NRC exercise.By conservative estimates, nationwide NRC will cost Indians a whopping 500 billion rupees in admin expenses alone. Add to it the massive cost of building and maintaining detention centers across the country and the nation looks set for an economic and logistical nightmare.

Today the educated youth of the country is voicing its frustration at the price the country has been paying due to the government’s fascist ideologies. They no longer want the world to know India for its age old mandir-masjid disputes, mob lynchings, communal riots, human rights violations, poverty or illiteracy.

The current uprising is not just against one particular law.The people, especially the youth of India are protesting for their rights to work together as one nation to take the country towards being an exemplary democracy and an economic superpower.

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