By Ahmad Farouk Musa
July 9, 2018
One thing which is indisputable is the odious history of this country in treating asylum seekers and refugees.
The way the Malaysian government bludgeoned and deported three Turkish nationals who were not even asylum seekers last year raised concerns not only among human rights defenders but also the United Nations.
One of them was Turgay Karaman – a school principal and a personal friend of mine – who was accused of being part of the so-called terrorist group Feto, or what has been called the “Gulenist Terror Organization”.
The same modus operandi is being used by the communist regime in China. It was this so-called war on terrorism that became the excuse for the persecution of the Muslim Uighurs.
They were accused of being part of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) or the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP).
But independent observers were sceptical about the existence of these two groups. There was even a suggestion that TIP was created by the Communist Party itself to justify its actions and to demonise the Uighurs’ peaceful struggle against Chinese repression.
The fact is, for years now the Muslim Uighurs have been victims of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) authoritarian rule. They were subjected to special campaigns to dilute their identity.
In the short term, the CCP utilised detention, torture and execution to silence Uighur dissent. But more alarming is its long-term method of economic, social and cultural human rights abuse. The Uighur are not permitted to perform the haj, and there was a conscious effort in the “sinification” of the Uighurs, whereby their language, practice of Islam, and culture were banned and outlawed.
To ensure that the CCP achieved its aim, there was a mass migration of Han Chinese settlers into their land and the transfer of young Uighur women to east China.
The point to be made is, these asylum seekers were mainly victims of persecution. They must first be proven to be involved in terrorism, and they are entitled to a fair hearing before the Malaysian government entertains any deportation request.
Why should Malaysia bow to pressure from the Chinese when these Uighurs would definitely face imprisonment, torture or even death?
To me, it is not only about human rights where Malaysia has always been trying to portray itself as a champion. This is also a religious obligation. The Quran clearly says that “Indeed, the believers are but brothers” (49:10).
How is it possible for us and the government who always wanted to be seen at the forefront, championing the rights of the Palestinians and other persecuted Muslims, not to feel anguish and pain for the Uighurs and their present state of affairs, their trials, tribulations and torture?
If these Uighurs were simply escaping the political persecution of the CCP, they should be protected at any cost, even if it upsets the Chinese to whom the previous government was indebted due to the hundreds of billions in loans. But this is a new dawn for a new Malaysia!