(Photo: courtesy of socialnewsdaily.com)
Eid Mubarak to you all. As we celebrate Eid and thank God for the immense bounties during the month of Ramadan, there are millions of people around the world who are not as fortunate, or free to enjoy this occasion. Let’s keep them in our prayers and help raise awareness about the difficult situations they face day in and day out.
Let’s not forget the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang region of China. China has sent about three million Uyghurs to its concentration camps. (According to the US state dept., these numbers are from 800,000 to 2 million). 500,000 children have been taken by force to orphanages. The Chinese government has admitted that it has placed one million Communists in Uighur homes. The Chinese government says it is all part of ensuring the ethnic Uyghurs are ‘integrated’ into the Chinese culture, or has maintained that these are counterterrorism measures-against 3 million people that includes women and children! Many people have simply “disappeared” when taken to these camps- of course involuntarily.
We can say Salam – they cannot.
We can say, “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Eid Mubarak”- they cannot
We can fast – they cannot
We can name our babies “Muhammad” – they cannot.
We are free. They are not.
Recently, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned China of the human right abuses in the Xinjiang region. According to a CNN report, In March, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet presented a report on human rights around the world to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, and raised the issue of “enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions” in Xinjiang.
Many have drawn parallel to these camps to the concentration camps during the holocaust.
A colleague of mine on Patheos Muslim channel (NBAMuslim) had the whole post dedicated to the plight of the Uyghurs.
The genocide is ongoing. It has caught the attention of the US congress. Senate Resolution S. 1186 is the “Bill to Promote Democracy and Human Rights in Burma.” We need to generate support for this bill, as it will allow the U.S. government to levy economic sanctions on Burma’s military officials who are complicit in the atrocities against the Rohingya.
Please call your Senator’s office, asking them to sponsor and support if they have not done so. You can find your Senators’ information at www.senate.gov.
You can look at the full text of the bill at:
I had published a post on the Rohingya situation last year, titled “Rohingya Muslims Genocide-What Happened to Never Again?”
- The UN in 2013 described them as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
- Human Rights Watch and the British Prime minister have termed it ‘ethnic cleansing’.
- Yale Law school study called this a genocide.
- Nicholas Kristof of NY Times termed their plight as “an appalling apartheid” in 2014. (The situation has only worsened since.)
- Archbishop Desmond Titu calls it the “slow genocide against Rohingya”.
Kashmir has been a source of conflict between India and Pakistan since the partition in 1947. There have been news of widespread human rights violation and abuse. A U.N. report last year called for an international investigation on the torture and killings of innocent citizens by the Indian forces. According to the UN office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, the main focus of the report is the human rights situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 – when large and unprecedented demonstrations erupted after Indian security forces killed the leader of an armed group – to April 2018. They also reported that they were denied unconditional access to either side of the line of control despite multiple requests.
I am not going into the political background here, but the Yemen situation has been called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.
Yemen, the region’s poorest nation even before the war, faces catastrophic famine. The United Nations has warned that half of the Yemeni people may soon rely entirely on humanitarian aid to survive.
According to the UN OCHA, in 2017 everyday 150 children under the age of 5 died in Yemen due to lack of access to food and medicine. That’s nearly 50,000 dead children in under 12 months. In 2019, the projected numbers are even worse. There have been hundreds of airstrikes on homes, schools, mosques and marketplaces.
According to the Human Rights Watch:
- 14 million Yemenis are at risk for starvation and death.
- 3 million women and girls are at risk for violence against them.
The armed conflict in Yemen has killed and injured thousands of Yemeni civilians since it began. As of November 2018, 6,872 civilians had been killed and 10,768 wounded, the majority by Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The actual civilian casualties are likely much higher. Thousands more have been displaced by the fighting and millions suffer from shortages of food and medical care.
You can help them by raising awareness, support the US legislation to stop the incessant airstrikes against the civilians. There are many agencies that are helping them, such as:
This NY Times article also has some good sources:
Then there are the other, “usual” human right abuses- starting from Palestine. In Fremont, California and around many cities in the USA, the last Friday of Ramadan on the “Quds day”, rallies were held to show support for the cause of the Palestinians. The world has been sort of desensitized to the plight of the Palestinians and one has almost come to expect this as “normal”. Yet the Palestinians live in a constant state of occupation with widespread abuses and human right violations from the Israeli security forces. Many have termed the situation in Gaza and other parts of Palestine as a “massive human jail”.
The Syrian crises seem to be easing a bit but that’s all relative. Millions remain displaced in refugee camps around the world. Syria remains a human rights nightmare. Millions are without food and water and other basic necessities and spend days in intense heat with very little if any, access to basic health care.
The list is long and includes abuses and ongoing human casualties in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
And of course there are Non Muslim, especially Christians and Yazidis, who are persecuted in many parts of the Middle East and other parts of the world. We must also remember them in our thoughts and prayers as we celebrate Eid. But we need to do more than keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.
Injustice against anyone is injustice against everyone. Remaining silent in the face of injustice is supporting injustice. The least we can do is to raise awareness, contact our representatives to take meaningful actions, such as support resolutions or bills in the congress, and to help the victims through many agencies listed above.