The Muslim world's rage is missing over Uighurs' plight

News article, posted 03.24.2010, from China
The Philadelphia Inquirer

China's discrimination against Muslim Uighurs has gone largely unnoticed in the Muslim world. Whereas Danish cartoons of Muhammad sparked a swift and furious reaction, China's systematic policies that discriminate against Uighurs have been met with a Muslim world that seems to be mute, deaf, and blind.

The recent violence in the capital of Xinjiang has drawn international media attention to Chinese treatment of the Uighurs. Ethnic clashes have left 184 dead, about a thousand injured, and thousands more detained, according to official figures though the Uighurs claim the real numbers are much larger. This violence comes after nearly two decades of continued repression of Uighur Muslims in China. Their language is forbidden in schools; government employees cannot have long beards or head scarves and are not allowed to pray or fast during working hours. Uighurs also face strong discriminatory practices in education, health care, housing, and employment. Young Uighurs are often forced to work in faraway provinces, while Han Chinese - who are about 90 percent of China's population - are encouraged to move to Xinjiang, the autonomous region where Uighurs are the largest ethnic group. More than two million have settled there.

In contrast to the extreme anger exhibited in the case of the Danish cartoons, Mullahs, imams and clerics of any kind have remained remarkably quiet in response to Chinese discrimination. The Arab League and Muslim governments, as well, have either been mute or their reaction has been too little, too late.