Monday, July 13, 2009

Jakarta’s Muslims Stay Silent as China Cracks Down on Uighurs

There were no protests on Jakarta’s streets after Friday prayers, which might strike some as strange, given the ongoing crackdown against Muslim Uighurs in China’s remote western province of Xinjiang.

The mosques in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, were shut on the Muslim day of prayer as police patrolled the streets with high-powered machine guns. “Go home and pray,” the signs at the entrances to the mosques read. But hundreds of Muslim men who had gathered at the White Mosque in Urumqi’s Uighur neighborhood of Er Dao Qiao were allowed in after demanding entrance, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

The Uighurs, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslims, face constant persecution by the Chinese government. Students and government workers are controlled by strict regulations that infringe on two of Islam’s five pillars: During the holy month of Ramadan, students and government workers are forced to eat and their passports are confiscated so they cannot participate in the hajj to Mecca. Imams are forbidden to teach the Koran in private and the Arabic language is only taught in designated government schools.

The Indonesian Chinese Muslim Association (PITI) has criticized China’s brutality against the Uighur Muslim minority, and regretted the silence of Muslim nations regarding the group’s decades of suffering discrimination and persecution.

“The Chinese Muslims are on the periphery [of the Muslim world]. They have long been persecuted, but they are neglected,” PITI spokesman Steven Indra Wijaya said.

“We are calling on all Muslims to cast aside their [ethnic] identities and help the Uighurs.”

Menwhile, the Government of Indonesia repeatedly says that it will never interfere in Xinjian riot. "What happened in Xinjiang is China`s internal affair. We respect China`s sovereignty over the region and will never meddle in the problem," Indonesian Ambassador to China Sudrajat said.

In recent years, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and aligned radical Islamic groups, such as the Islamic Defenders Front and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, have played active roles in staging protests against Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, and US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Organizing a protest costs money and sometimes it can be very expensive,” said Zulkieflimanysah, PKS deputy chairman for political affairs. “We don’t have enough money to participate in China’s affairs right now because we need to focus on what’s happening in our own country.”

Still, it’s unusual…..


As China Cracks Down on Uighurs, Jakarta’s Muslims Stay Unusually Silent – Jakarta Globe

RI will never meddle in Xinjian riot :envoy – Antara

Chinese-Indonesians call on Muslim nations to help Uighur – The Jakarta post

Indonesians pray for Uighurs –

Indonesian Parliament Urges UN To Handle Uprising In China – Bernama

Government Must Lodge Notes Of Protest With China - Bernama