As atrocities against Uigh Muslims continue in China, authorities in the Xinjiang Uygare Autonomous Region (XUAR) have now detained hundreds of Muslim imams or religious leaders, according to the exiled Uigar linguist.
According to the Radio Free Asia report, the detention of imams has created an atmosphere in which the Uïgar people are “afraid of dying” because there will be no one to oversee their funerals.
Norwegian activist associated with the International Network of Refugee Cities (ICORN), Abduveli Ayup, reported that interviews with Uygars in the Xinjiang region showed that at least 613 imams were swept away in a campaign of further legal encroachment since the start of 2017. 1.8 million Uigars and other Muslim minorities were accommodated in a vast network of internment camps.
Ayup said: “We started this research in May around May… and after the interview ended in November (that year), I found the highest target population to be religious people.” The Washington-based Uygar Human Rights Project is called “Where Are the Imams?” Evidence of mass captives of Uyghur religious figures ”.
Ayup, who spent months in detention and tortured during his 2013-2014 imprisonment after fighting for social and cultural rights through the promotion of Uighur language education, said he had interviewed at least 16 former camp detainees, including the arrest of imams would have kept the Uyghur community in the Xinjiang region.
According to Radio Free Asia, one of the former detainees living in the Netherlands told him that in the capital of Xinjiang, Urumqi, “people should register and wait for someone to die”.
Another former detective said: “They are afraid of dying because the mosques are demolished, and the imams are arrested, and there is no possibility of performing the last rites. It’s very sad.”
Meanwhile, Rachel Harris, professor of ethnography at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, noted that the Imam, who is male, is not the only religious figure targeted in society. ouïgar.
He said that female religious leaders are also very important in Uyghur society.
“They don’t lock down mosques… they have a role in the house, but they all play the same important roles as male imams,” she said.
“They (the female religious leaders) work with the women, so they work on the funerals of the women, they teach the children to recite the Quran and all that, and they also have an important role in society – mediation of disputes, Counselor. , drive. “All kinds of rituals,” she says.
Harris has urged Uygre rights groups and others to monitor women religious leaders in the region for inclusion in their investigations into mass detentions and other rights violations.
The classified documents, known as the Chinese cables, viewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists last year, have highlighted how the Chinese government has used technology to control Uygar Muslims around the world. .
However, China routinely denies such misconduct and claims that the camps provide “vocational training”.
People living in the internment camps said they were deprived of political indulgence, torture, food and medicine, in addition to being banned from practicing their religion or speaking their language.