Contributed by Mufliha Chowdhury

One of our society’s most lethal killers is the concept of religious intolerance.

Governments aim to create a political and societal utopia through the genocide and detainment of religious groups that do not fit their image of ideal citizens. The irony of religious genocide is that the killers do not view themselves as terrorists or as violent, but they are killing innocent people for following a religion that they misinterpret to be violent. This is the result of ignorance.

Every human is worth the same, but many people tend to believe that their religion makes them superior or that other people deserve to be degraded for their beliefs. The lack of understanding and exploring other people’s beliefs creates separation and over time evolves into a bigger problem. When people refuse to learn about other religions, it allows for their misconceptions to linger and for their hatred to grow. 

This behavior is commonly observed in regards to Muslims and Islam. Many people view Islam as an oppressive and terrorist religion, when in reality it forbids violence. Despite Islam’s peaceful teachings, China’s government denies and refuses Muslims the right to practice their religion.

There are more than 85 identified concentration camps within Xinjiang province built to force Uighur Muslims to undergo psychological indoctrination. Millions of them are being detained until the denounce their religion and others are being killed, all for the goal of eradicating Islam in China. 

In China, levels of islamophobia have been rapidly growing due to a religious conflict between Muslims and China’s Communist Party. Currently, more than one million Muslims are being held against their will in internment camps. China claims that the purpose of these “re-education” camps is to rid Muslims of extremist views and to turn them into more loyal citizens, but former detainees have disputed those claims. These re-education camps are nothing more than horrific concentration centers. People who are held in these camps are subjected to indoctrination through a forceful erasure of their identity. “According to Your God is Xi Jinping’: Uighurs mocked and tortured in Chinese internment camps for their faith” it states, “In addition to being taught Chinese, prisoners were given learning materials that said Islam was not a religion in China, but rather a poison to the state. During lessons, detainees were handcuffed and had their legs shackled.” 

Chinese officials are trying to brainwash and cleanse Muslims of their ethnic and religious beliefs, in an attempt to reconstitute them into something more loyal to China’s communist party. Religion is supposed to unite people in love, peace and unity, but in China it is not being tolerated to the extent that it should be. Moreover, Muslim detainees are treated like prisoners. These internment camps are a form of human rights abuse. Women were tortured while naked, kids were taken from their parents, and other inmates were killed. China is persecuting and targeting a whole religion to eradicate Islamic extremism, but this is just the case of mass genocide. Not everyone involved in a religious group is an extremist, the idea that they are is what causes religious conflicts. The Uighurs were normal citizens of China and showed no motivation towards terrorism, but are still being incarcerated in “education camps” for practicing Islam. 

Many countries have chosen a policy of silence. No country and no form of government has issued a credible solution to tackling this genocide. Part of the issue is that many people are refusing to declare the situation in China a genocide and are justifying the repression of Muslims. Chinese officials state that these camps are merely attempts to prevent Islamic terrorism and are teaching the Uighur ethnic group job skills.

However, this justification does not explain the surpassed one million deaths of Uighur Muslims in China and it also implies the assumption that all Muslims are terrorists in progress. China’s treatment of Muslims is blatant discrimination and Islamophobia. According to BBC News, several former detainees have experienced or observed a system of mass rape, sexual abuse, torture and forced sterilization. Chinese officials dismiss these allegations of abuse and continue to defend their claims of “re-education centers”, “training centers”, and “vocational school”.

They have created multiple inconsistent narratives. These detainees were selected for “vocational school” because they were Muslims that showed devotion towards Islam. None of their claims explain or rationalize why Muslims are objected to being physically abused, mentally brainwashed, and denied the rights to religious liberty. They are fighting religious extremism by killing, torturing, and detaining innocent Muslims who have shown no motivation towards terrorism because they do not understand Islam and since it does not fit their standards of an ideal citizen.

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