Statement from the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom to End the Cultural Genocide of Uyghur and Turkic Muslim Populations by the Chinese Government
The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is an international organization comprised of over 170 grassroots chapters of Muslim and Jewish women who are committed to ending acts of anti- Jewish and anti-Muslim sentiment. As such, we condemn the systematic persecution and mass detention of the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim populations by the Chinese government.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has declared that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Chinese government is responsible for crimes against humanity. 1
The Chinese government has and continues to perpetrate the following crimes against humanity targeting the Uyghur Muslim people:
- Internment of between 800,000 and more than 2,000,000 Uyghurs and Turkic Muslim minorities in camps indefinitely and without judicial process; 2 the largest mass detention of an ethnic group since the Holocaust; 3
- Uyghurs are interned based on their ethnicity and religion under the false pretext of countering religious extremism. The Chinese Government says that party officials are “washing brains” and “cleansing hearts.”4
- Forced labor within the camps and mass transfer of individuals throughout China to factories that are integral to the supply chain of multinational corporations;5,6
- Forced marriage of Uyghur Muslim women to Han Chinese men; Attacks on the family unit through government programs including “Homestay” and “Becoming Family” which embed Han Chinese in Uyghur Muslim homes to monitor religious practices and daily life;7,8
- Separation of nearly half a million children from their families. These children have been relocated to state-run boarding schools for assimilation and political indoctrination to the Chinese Communist Party;9
- Forbidding religious practice among Uyghur Muslims including exchanging greetings, wearing headscarves, having a Quran, and praying;10
- Bulldozing and demolishing of mosques, shrines, and cemeteries; 11
- Mass surveillance (24/7) including frequent police stops and mandatory collection of biometric data.12
The Sisterhood knows the cost of silence all too well. We call upon on all elected officials, business leaders, and people of good conscience to act now to end these crimes against humanity. Left unchecked, the Chinese government will continue their state-sanctioned cultural genocide and dehumanization against our Uyghur and Turkic Muslim sisters and brothers. According to Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Chinese government has already taken actions that meet the definition of genocide. Moreover, failure to speak out is implicit acceptance of this genocide and creates space for other governments to act similarly.
Furthermore, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 passed Congress nearly unanimously in May 2020 and was signed into law on June 17, 2020. The law condemns “gross human rights violations of ethnic Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang” and calls for “an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China.”13 Among other actions, this new law calls upon the authorities to “close the internment camps and lift all restrictions on, and ensure respect for, human rights.”
We want to live in a world where all people are free to practice their religion, honor their ancestry and cultural heritage, and are afforded the dignity of universal human rights.The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom stands with the Uyghur and Turkic Muslim community in China and all over the world.
Never again means never again for all people
- “Simon-Skjodt Center Director Delivers Remarks on China’s Systematic Persecution of Uyghurs,” Naomi Kikoler, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, last modified March 6, 2020, accessed April 18, 2020, https://www.ushmm.org/genocide- prevention/blog/simon-skjodt-center-director-delivers-remarks-on-chinas-systematic- persecut.
- “Testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy,” last modified December 4, 2018, accessed April 18, 2020, https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/120418_Busby_Testimony.pdf.
- “China Undercover,” PBS Frontline, last modified April 7, 2020, accessed April 18, 2020, last modified, July 24, 2019, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/china-undercover/.
- “Despite China’s denials, its treatment of the Uyghurs should be called what it is: cultural genocide,” The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/despite-chinas-denials-its- treatment-of-the-uyghurs-should-be-called-what-it-is-cultural-genocide-120654.
- Congressional-Executive Commission on China, “Global Supply Chains, Forced Labor, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” (staff research report), March 2020, https://www.cecc.gov/sites/chinacommission.house.gov/files/documents/CECC%20Staff% 20Report%20March%202020%20-%20Global%20Supply%20Chains%2C%20Forced%20Labor%2C%20and%20the%20Xinj iang%20Uyghur%20Autonomous%20Region.pdf.
- “Uyghurs for Sale,” Xu, Vicky Xiuzhong, Danielle Cave, James Leibold, Kelsey Munro, Nathan Ruser, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, last modified March 1, 2020, accessed on April 18, 2020, https://www.aspi.org.au/report/uyghurs-sale.
- “Muslim wives in China ‘are forced to sleep in the same bed as male officials while their husbands are being indoctrinated in re-education camps,” DailyMail.com, last updated November 4, 2019, accessed April 18 2020.
- “China’s Nightmare Homestay,” Byler, Darren, Foreign Policy, last modified October 26, 2018, accessed April 18, 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/10/26/china-nightmare- homestay-xinjiang-uighur-monitor/.
- “In China’s Crackdown on Muslims, Children Have Not Been Spared,” Amy Qin, New York Times, last modified February 17, 2020, accessed April 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/28/world/asia/china-xinjiang-children-boarding- schools.html.
- “China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: ‘Transformation,’ Chris Buckley, New York Times, last modified September 8, 2018, accessed April 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/world/asia/china-uighur-muslim-detention- camp.html.
- Hiatt, Fred. “In China, every day is Kristallnacht,” The Washington Post, November 3, 2019, accessed on May 3, 2020 https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/11/03/china-every-day-is- kristallnacht/?arc404=true.
- “Eradicating Ideological Viruses: China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims,” Human Rights Watch, last modified September 9, 2018, accessed on April 18, 2020, https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/09/09/eradicating-ideological-viruses/chinas- campaign-repression-against-xinjiangs#_ftn34.
- Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, Congressional Record—House, H2293-2300 accessed June 20, 2020, https://www.congress.gov/116/crec/2020/05/27/CREC-2020-05- 27-pt1-PgH2293.pdf.