Signs of life in the Muslim world: India, China, East Turkestan - YASIN AKTAY

Signs of life in the Muslim world: India, China, East Turkestan

The lack of sufficient reaction from Muslim states toward the hostile behaviors and attacks in many places around the world against Islam, Muslims, and their sacred values only serves to encourage such assaults. 

Yet, if the states representing Muslims, almost 2 billion of the world population, united, if they prioritized protecting the dignity, values, and beliefs of Muslims, they could put up a serious deterrence against the abasement of Muslim symbols and values, and the violation of the rights of Muslims in the countries where they make up a minority.  

The Muslim world’s most recent reaction against India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma, and New Delhi Media Chair Naveen Kumar Jindal’s offensive comments about Prophet Muhammad and his wife, the mother of the believers, Aisha, was a typical example of this. 

Qatar, Kuwait, and Iran immediately summoned India’s ambassadors and expressed their indignation toward these Islamophobic discourses. 

Sharma’s and Jindal’s hostile statements also drew the ire of civilians. The initiatives demonstrated by citizens, in many situations where states remain indifferent, are signs of life in the Muslim world. 


What would happen if the Muslim world were to unite as one? 

Unfortunately, the lack of a political mechanism representative of the Muslim world’s sensitivities is the core of the problem.  

Yet, sometimes such hostile events can turn into occasions that lead to good. Hence, the ruling BJP gave an unexpected response to all these reactions, making a statement that the party respects all religions and that they oppose violence against any ideology that insults religion. This statement was followed by the announcement that Sharma’s position as party spokesperson was suspended, while New Delhi social media Chair Jindal was dismissed from his party.  

Even though countries such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain did not condemn these statements early on, they expressed their satisfaction with the dismissals. Thus, the Muslim world presented an exceptional common stance, together with the people and the states – despite all their differences – and made India step back.  

Frankly, this event should constitute an example for the Islamic world to develop a new political atmosphere in approaching numerous other matters. Currently, Muslim blood is the “cheapest” and easiest to spill worldwide. The rights violated most easily are Muslims’ human rights. However, those who shed Muslim blood, who violate Muslim rights more than any other country are Muslim countries themselves. Muslim blood is being shed in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq—not by other countries’ rulers, but because of the disputes among Muslim countries themselves. 

Muslim countries feel no responsibility regarding any human rights principle toward their own people. Hundreds of thousands are being held captive arbitrarily in the dungeons of Muslim countries, with their honor and dignity being tread upon, where the law has no place. Essentially, while Islamic countries treat their own Muslim people in this manner, of course, they do not dare or have no concern about protecting the Muslims living as minority in other countries. However, building a new world is possible, and beyond anything, this world must start with Muslim countries’ observing human dignity, human rights, and justice in their behavior toward their own people. 


East Turkestan symposium In Istanbul  

The World Muslim Scholars Union held a three-day East Turkestan Symposium on June 10-12 in Istanbul where they discussed all aspects of China’s intense human rights violations of Muslims in East Turkestan. However, the most important aspect was Muslim countries’ indifference to this matter.  

Muslim countries are potentially very strong. China needs these countries more than they need China. But either they are not aware of this, or they are unable to present a strong joint stance. The Gulf countries, the Muslim countries in North Africa, and Asia are indispensable target allies for China, which is currently seeking the establishment of a new world. 

However, just as these countries do not consider discussing the Uighur matter with China in any of their relations, most of them even unconditionally return to China the Uyghurs seeking shelter in their country. In fact, some of these countries even have special detention centers that are run on behalf of China. 

China has its own theories regarding the Uighur issue, but these theories do not change the fact that there are undeniable systematic human rights violations. If this issue was at least a subject matter in relations, China would consider reviewing its policy in this regard.  

Of course, the Muslim world first needs to develop a common will, sensitivity, and cooperation among itself regarding this matter. The Muslim world may remain in dispute regarding certain matters, but if they unite on some other matters, they would form a sanctioning power that nobody could ignore. If they want to see the possible positive outcomes of this axis, they should lend an ear to the voices raised in the World Muslim Scholars Union’s First International East Turkestan Symposium in Istanbul. 


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