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The Uyghurs: Muslims Deprived of the Blessings of Ramadan

CUS Press Release

For Immediate Release

March 11, 2024



On the occasion of the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan, the Center for Uyghur Studies (CUS) extends its warmest congratulations to Muslims around the world and wishes everyone observing a blessed Ramadan. We would like to also remind everyone to remember their Uyghur brothers and sisters in East Turkistan who are not able to fast and observe this important pillar of Islam.

As a recent report by Human Rights Watch indicates, there is no sign of stepping back in China’s war on Islam in East Turkistan. In fact, according to the HRW report published in January 2024, the Chinese communist government’s revised regulations in the region tighten religious practices of the Uyghurs and impose greater control over places of worship. In this regard, it is important to note that Chinese authorities have destroyed many mosques in East Turkistan since 2017, by closing down, or converting, or demolishing them.

Moreover, the Chinese Communist Party continues to pursue its “Sinicization” of Islam, a policy that directly violates the freedom of religion or faith. “The revisions, effective February 1, 2024, focus on “Sinicizing” religions, a government priority under President Xi Jinping since 2016 to make places of worship and religious teachings better reflect Han Chinese culture and Chinese Communist Party ideology.” The HRW report said. Top Chinese officials also confirm and carry out policies of religious persecution in East Turkistan. On March 7, 2024, just before the start of Ramadan, the CCP’s top official in East Turkistan Ma Xingrui reiterated that “Everyone knows that Islam in Xinjiang needs to be Sinicized, this is an inevitable trend.” Ma Xingrui’s statement underscores the CCP’s persistent commitment to forcibly assimilate Islam in East Turkistan, highlighting ongoing religious persecution of the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims.

Amid such restrictions on religious practices and war on their faith, Uyghur Muslims welcome yet another Ramadan. Executive Director Abdulhakim Idris said, “Since the Chinese communist government declared an all out war on Islam in East Turkistan in 2017, the Uyghur Muslims are not able to fast during Ramadan. Violating the sacred occasions for Muslims is part of the CCP’s long-term goals of eliminating the traces of Islamic culture in East Turkistan. However, we still do not see a single Muslim government denouncing the CCP’s religious persecution and genocide of the Uyghurs. If there is NO strong Muslim denunciation of its violations of Islamic values and oppression of Muslims, the CCP will continue to trample upon Islam and Muslims in East Turkistan. In this blessed month of Ramadan, I call on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Muslim governments, and leading figures in the Islamic World to stand up for the rights of Uyghur Muslims and become their voice.”

We praise God for allowing us to see another Ramadan, a time for spiritual growth and reconnecting with our faith. We pray for relief for those suffering around the world.

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