Excerpts from original article published by Religion News Service
Uighur rights groups in the U.S. told Religion News Service that the plight of their community — an ethnically Turkic and largely Muslim population in western China and parts of Central Asia — is not about Islam.
Instead, the Washington-based group East Turkistan Government-in-Exile called China’s repression of Uighurs “an issue about colonialism in the 21st century.” The group claims the conflict between China and Uighurs dates back to China’s 1949 invasion, occupation and renaming of the region Uighurs call East Turkistan.
“China has been colonizing East Turkistan since 1949,” said Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement.
Hudayar said the government is targeting all religious faiths, not just Islam.
“It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or practitioner of other faith, in East Turkistan believing in any higher being other than the Chinese Communist Party is a reason for one to get sent to a ‘reeducation’ concentration camp,” Hudayar said.