China Continues to Label Islam a Mental Illness

Editor’s note: Months after scant reporting broke the news that millions of Chinese Muslims were being herded into concentration camps to strip them of their autonomy and Islamic identities through starvation and torture, the world remains predominantly mum on the issue. That doesn’t stand with Muslim Girl; we will continue to report on the issue until justice is delivered for our brothers and sisters. Loudly, and unapologetically.  

After 9/11, the lives of Muslims around the world would never be the same again. It started with, “if you see something, say something”. People called the police whenever they saw someone who even appeared to be Muslim. Muslims became prime targets for hate crimes. The sad part is that it hasn’t stopped; the focus has only shifted.

Muslims are suffering on a global scale. Endless drone bombings, terrorist attacks, non-stop wars, and forced migration weren’t enough apparently. Through scant reporting, we have learned that China has deemed Islam a mental health issue. They have imprisoned a million Uighurs in internment camps, or as the Chinese government likes to refer to them, “re-education camps”, or “vocational camps for criminals”.

Their very identity is being eradicated.

Xinjiang, China, is home to more than 11 million Uyghurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority. For a while now, the Chinese government has been targeting its Muslim population, starting with the banning of the name Mohammed, the Quran, long dresses, and much more. Chinese government workers would visit the homes of Muslims, and did this for weeks or months at a time. This was done to spy on Muslim families. This practice was disguised as a project meant to better relationships between Chinese Muslims and Chinese officials. They went as far as taking propaganda pictures, ensuring the subjects were smiling, so no one would suspect any wrong-doing or coercion. This was all done in the name of “national security”.  It started as a program to assimilate, or re-educate Muslims. The reasoning used was “extremism”.  The Chinese government believed that the entire Muslim population was a threat and if anyone at the moment in China is even suspected of being Muslim, they are immediately jailed.

Relatives abroad can’t reach their family members and fear returning to China may be life threatening. Tahir Imin, a U.S. based Uighur academic from Xinjiang said, “If they have any ‘illness,’ it is being Uyghur”. He believes part of the Chinese government’s attempt to eradicate Muslim ethnic minorities is to force the Uyghur population to assimilate into the Han majority.


Camps of Horror

To make matters worse, the treatment in these camps is despicable and inhumane. The detainees are being forced to eat pork, drink alcohol, and there are even reports of torture, and death.

There have also been stories of Uyghur women being forced to marry non-Muslim Chinese men in order to eradicate the population. Children are separated from parents and taken to another location. They are also being forced to give up their beliefs and taught to speak Chinese, and sing nationalist songs. Their very identity is being eradicated. Does this sound familiar?

The Native Americans suffered this type of treatment at the hands of the U.S. They were categorized as “savages”; they were forced to give up their beliefs and were sent to “re-education camps”. Native Americans were not allowed to speak their native tongue. They continue to suffer the after effects of this ethnic cleansing to this day.


Why Aren’t Muslim Leaders Speaking Out?

Muslim countries in the Middle East have been complicit for too long.  Money has always played a role in their decisions, and it needs to stop! Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Palestine. All these countries are suffering at the hands of governments. And yet, powerful Muslim nations remain silent, refusing to use their economic prowess to deliver justice. Why is no one fighting to stop this holocaust against Muslims?

People always say what happened to the Japanese and the Jewish would never happen again. Well, think again. China has been trying to keep this quiet. Where’s the outcry from the world for these events? Maybe they are where they were when the Myanmar army decided to murder and rape the Rohingyas of Burma, or when the Saudis continually murder civilians in Yemen. Where is the moral outrage during the conflicts in Palestine? Where are the world leaders who are supposed to protect the vulnerable, the innocent, the women and children, the elderly? I will tell you: they are enjoying their lives in peace, and turn a blind eye to the horrors that are happening around the world in order to preserve their seats of power.

The religion that the Chinese government thinks is a mental illness, taught me to never forget my humanity, and to always stand against evil, where ever it may be, and whoever it may be against.

To the people who believe in God, where are you? Does your religion not speak ill of the injustice against your fellow humans? Does it not teach you to protect the hungry, the vulnerable, the innocent? Oh wait, Muslims have been depicted as mentally ill. “Infected with an ideology called Islam”. Others are actually trying to pass this off as an actual fact. Sad thing is, the tempered reaction to this heinous crime makes me think everyone has started to believe it.

Ignorance is bliss. The religion that the Chinese government thinks is a mental illness, taught me to never forget my humanity, and to always stand against evil, where ever it may be, and whoever it may be against. Islam teaches tolerance, respect, compassion, and the importance of the presence of God in everything we do. God is watching all the injustice around the world. The day will come when God will hold everyone accountable for their actions. You might be above the law, but not above the Creator. I pray for my brothers and sisters in humanity around the globe, no matter what race, religion, or ethnicity, who are suffering from any injustice. May God send his love, mercy, and protection your way. Ameen.

To my brothers and sisters in humanity, who are from all religions and walks of life: thank you for trying to take a stand, even though I know your voices are overshadowed by the voices of corruption and greed. Your efforts will not be forgotten.

To the leaders of the world; religious, and government, I want to remind you we are all human, and to lose your humanity is one of the worst things that could happen. It brings you closer and closer to Satan, and pushes you further away from the God you pretend to believe in. Do the right thing. Stand up for those who are suffering. Or be prepared to answer for your crimes against humanity.