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Muslim countries have abandoned the Uighurs

A Uighur protest against China in Turkey last year. Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty

The Muslim world has abandoned the Uighurs, says Yasmeen Serhan in The Atlantic. The Chinese government has forced at least a million Uighur Muslims into “concentration camps” in Xinjiang province. Yet not a single major Muslim-majority country has joined the US and Britain in a diplomatic boycott of Beijing’s Winter Olympics. While Turkey and Malaysia have offered “tepid criticism”, the likes of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates “have gone out of their way to endorse China’s policies in Xinjiang”. It’s not their usual approach – Islamic countries have come together to “speak out” on many Muslim-related issues, including Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in Europe.

Why the change? Money, of course. China is “the primary buyer of Middle Eastern oil”, and through its Belt and Road Initiative has invested billions of dollars into infrastructure projects in Muslim countries. As a result, those countries have detained hundreds of Uighurs, with many later deported to China. Even Turkey, which once accused China of “genocide”, is considering an extradition treaty that could put its 50,000 Uighurs at risk of repatriation. Shame on these Muslim leaders for giving their “tacit blessing for China to continue its mass atrocities”.

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