The Notre-Dame burning had the world by storm. People across the world were in tears at the loss of a historic monument. What people failed to realise was that the reaction towards the Notre-Dame was an extremely Eurocentric, one as a few weeks later satellite images emerged of what was once the Keriya Aitika Mosque in Xinjiang; a mosque as old as the Notre-Dame, was now a levelled piece of land. The two images that the activist posted from Google Earth clearly demonstrate that the building has been razed.
Bulldozing mosques is China’s latest strategy to wipe out the existence of Islam from its Xinjiang region. The existence of the ‘intermediated camps’ has been in place since 2014 but the government now is resorting to extreme means to fulfill its propaganda. Xinjiang has always been an autonomous region in China but lately has seen a growing significance due to it being the main area for China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Sources claim that this area is also referred to as ‘East Turkey’ and the people may demand succession. The government seems to be working under these reports and also to supposedly prevent the area to become subject to the ‘Islamic radicalisation’. The Chinese are using the excuse of war against terror to wipe out the Uyghur population and completely reform society. Approximately 800 mosques were scheduled to have been demolished out of which 200 have already been demolished, the land levelled and their traces of history vanishing.
Human rights activists and journalists are visiting the area and getting in touch with the locals and the families of the detained person and exposing the harsh realities to the world but what we lack is a response from the world towards these atrocities by the Chinese. The increasingly silent are the countries and people of the Muslim Ummah; the Muslim community. The Chinese have invested heavily in all the countries through their BRI which prevents these countries from speaking out against China. The hypocrisy of these countries is ever growing with some even supporting the actions of the Chinese. Institutions, national governments as well as companies that nod towards human rights need to be held accountable for their actions if they choose to engage with the products, technologies and policy initiatives that enable what is going on in Xinjiang.
When we talk about preserving world culture and history, we shouldn’t restrict that feeling to just the historic spots of the west. When we talk about human rights, we should talk about the rights of all the humans on this planet. The international community needs to step forward and condemn China’s actions of putting people in such camps for the use of ‘vocational training’. It is disheartening to see cultural heritage get erased from across the world. A state of crisis is underway with such aggressive attempts from the Chinese and everyone in the international community needs to take a stand. Leaders such as Imran Khan in a recent interview in TRT World of Turkey, stated that he was unaware of the happenings in Uyghur. When asked further of how he would react if he found out about the Uyghurs, Prime Minister Imran Khan says he wouldn’t publicly condemn the Chinese, rather he would approach them in confidentiality. This is just an example of how the leaders of the world are currently dealing with the situation at hand. I would leave you all with a thought of how in a state of crisis, staying neutral; as done by current world leader, is worse than taking a side, it is a sin.