UHRP Commends Muslim Voices Rejecting Clerics’ Tour That Whitewashes Atrocities Against Uyghurs

East Turkistan Staged Tour 2023

January 17, 2023 | 2:00 p.m. EST
For Immediate Release
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 819-0598, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) commends Muslim voices of conscience who have rejected the Chinese government’s staged tour for Islamic clerics to East Turkistan earlier this month. UHRP calls attention to broad support for Uyghurs from Muslim leaders, advocates, scholars, and civil society groups.

“Nobody should be fooled by these stage-managed trips. A handful of leaders who accept Chinese government invitations are certainly not representative of Muslims around the world,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “Their views run counter to what countless Muslim leaders, advocates, scholars, and civil society groups have already expressed, which is disapproval and condemnation of the treatment of Uyghurs.”

UHRP commends the statements of the advisor to the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Husein Kasazovic, who rejected the delegation’s statements supporting the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs, saying that “the Islamic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina has data that is not in accordance with” the comments of the two Balkan members of the delegation to China.

A January 17 joint statement by 92 organizations and scholars, from more than a dozen countries, condemned the WMCC delegation’s visit to East Turkistan. The statement called on Muslim scholars, communities, organizations, and governments to treat the plight of Uyghurs and of Islam in East Turkistan as an “urgent matter for the whole Muslim community and humanity.”

The delegation from the World Muslim Communities Council (TWMCC), including clerics from 14 Muslim-majority countries, visited East Turkistan on a staged tour, meeting with regional officials and touring sites around the region. Following the tour, the Chairman of the Council, Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, said, “We congratulate China on the completion of the counter-terrorism plan in Xinjiang.”

The World Muslim Communities Council claims, as part of its mission, a mandate to address “agendas that harm Muslims wherever they are.” UHRP therefore calls on the TWMCC to retract its praise for the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, and open a dialogue with the victims and survivors of torture, forced sterilization, forced marriage, forced labor, and forced renunciation of faith.

UHRP thanks all those who stand in solidarity with Uyghurs, including all those who participated in the joint statements and actions below. 

  • In July 2022, the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) issued a national khutbah sermon urging the faithful to participate in the #Stand4Uyghur Muslim movement, and to financially support Uyghur refugees and Uyghur campaigns. This statement followed up on the ANIC 2018 statement condemning the persecution of Uyghurs. 
  • In January 2022, civil society groups from six countries formed the Muslim Coalition for Uyghurs, by committing to working together to stop the ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in East Turkistan, based on Islamic values of peace and justice, as well as universal human rights principles.
  • Ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the Global Imams Council stated that participation or attendance at the Games was prohibited on account of the Chinese government’s abuses targeting Muslims and “…genocide and ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs.”
  • Ahead of the OIC Assembly of Foreign Ministers in December 2021, 90 Muslim organizations around the world published an open letter calling on the OIC to take a firm stand against the Chinese government’s abuses targeting Uyghurs.
  • In December 2020, over 150 Muslim organizations around the world supported a joint statement expressing deep concern over the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs, and called on the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to uphold its founding Charter, provide relief and protection for Uyghurs, and support an independent investigation into human rights abuses. 
  • In October 2020, the American Muslim Bar Association led a joint call on the international community to end corporate complicity in abuses in the Uyghur region, and for the global business community to stop using forced labor goods.
  • In February 2019, more than 130 American Muslim Imams, scholars and community leaders signed a statement calling on the Chinese government to free Uyghurs from detention, return children to their families, and protect religious freedom.
  • In June 2018, the International Union of Muslim Scholars released a statement of concern over the persecution of Muslims in China, calling on the Chinese government to respect the religious and rights of the Muslim community in China.

Read more:

Muslim Coalition Urges a “Yes” Vote at the UN Human Rights Council on Uyghur Atrocities, October 3, 2022

UHRP Calls on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to Condemn Genocide, Ahead of Meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister, March 21, 2022

Muslim Leaders in Asia Call for Action by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), December 18, 2021

UHRP Explainer: Uyghur activists ask world to #HearUyghurs, April 24, 2020