Muslim leaders in Europe discuss plight of Uighurs

13.02.2019
COPENHAGEN 

Muslims leaders in Europe met in Denmark to discuss the humanitarian situation facing the Uighur people in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Ongoing human rights violations in the region are "unacceptable", European Muslim Forum (EMF) head Abdulvahed Niyazov said at the 4th EMF board meeting, held Tuesday in Copenhagen.

"We will visit the Chinese embassy in Copenhagen and tell them that their policies towards the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are unacceptable," Niyazov said. 

Along with EMF board members, the meeting was attended by Turghunjan Alawudun, director of religious affairs for the World Uighur Congress; Gadzhimurad Omarov, a member of the Russian State Duma’s foreign relations committee; and a number of foreign diplomats. 

Several meeting participants also stated their intention to raise the issue with religious figures in Denmark.

China’s Xinjiang region is home to some 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which accounts for roughly 45 percent of Xinjiang’s total population, has long accused the Chinese authorities of political, economic and cultural discrimination.

Over the last two years, China has subjected the region to increasingly draconian restrictions, including banning men from growing beards and women from wearing veils. 

China has also introduced what many observers see as the world’s most extensive electronic surveillance program, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, as many as 1 million people -- roughly 7 percent of Xinjiang’s Muslim population -- have been incarcerated in an ever-expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to both U.S. and UN officials.

Reporting by Davut Colak:Writing by Faruk Zorlu

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