Press Release: World Uyghur Congress Condemns OIC Visit to East Turkistan
On August 17, a delegation of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) led by Ambassador Dya-Eddine Bamakhrama, arrived in China to meet with China’s Vice Foreign Minister, Deng Li, and other CCP officials. The delegation will also visit East Turkistan to “observe the living conditions of the Muslim community”.
“The OIC falls trap into the Chinese propaganda machinery by believing they can observe Uyghurs living free without any religious or cultural repression,” says WUC President Dolkun Isa. “Islam and Uyghur culture are being showcased to visitors, while millions of our people are prohibited, criminalised and punished from practising their religion. With this visit the OIC acts in complete disregard to the ongoing genocide perpetrated against Uyghurs of East Turkistan.”
Since 2014, with the ‘Strike Hard Campaign’ the Chinese government has linked the religious practice of Islam to extremism and terrorism. The enacted restrictive legislations criminalise and punish any signs or practice of Islam. Uyghurs are under constant surveillance as all expression and the physical manifestations of the Uyghur cultural and religious identity are eroded. Slogans that proclaim that for China, Islam is a “mental disease” that needs to be “cured”, were heard everywhere in East Turkistan. The OIC vows in Art. 1 of their Charter “to safeguard the rights, dignity and religious and cultural identity of Muslim communities and minorities in non-Member States”. Nevertheless OIC members stayed silent during the mass burning of religious books and of the Quran by the CCP and continue to be silent as Uyghurs are being subjected to gross human rights violations in the form of torture, rape, forced labour and arbitrary detention in modern concentration camps.
The World Uyghur Congress condemns the complete disregard for Uyghur lives and calls on the OIC to uphold their own moral values and principles, and to not be complicit in the atrocity crimes of the Chinese government. OIC member states must collectively denounce the systematic persecution of Uyghurs. Freedom and human rights must be held as core values and the OIC cannot stand blind witness to the destruction of the fundamental human rights of Uyghurs and their genocide. We remind the OIC delegation that Islamic values are universal and should be protected everywhere. The organisation should remain true to their commitment of being an advocate for the elimination of discrimination against Muslims in all forms and manifestations.