Uyghur Muslims: Another rabbit hole we should cease burrowing into

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite.” - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

COMMENT | The last time Rais Hussin mentioned the Uyghur Muslims (as I remember it) was in the context of Zakir Naik. Free Malaysia Today reported him as saying, “Rais said he personally could see no wrong in Naik’s activities and speeches. Deporting him would be akin to deporting Uighur (Uyghur) Muslims to China, he said, referring to a request by China for the extradition of 11 Uighur men who entered Malaysia illegally last year from Thailand.”

Seriously? It’s one thing for Muslims to champion the cause of persecuted Muslims in other countries, but comparing the realities of the Uyghurs to an alleged money launderer and religious provocateur?

Ever since I started writing for Malaysiakini, I have made it a point to refrain from writing about international issues. I do this because I am a firm believer in taking care of the business in our backyard, instead of pontificating about the alleged transgressions of others. However, I sometimes have to step into the fray.

And really, equating the alleged systemic discrimination of the Uyghurs to the Shoah? Remember when Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar was jailed for six months for making the same kind of claim with regard to the disenfranchised Indian community? Here is what DPP Noorin Badaruddin said: “The words used by Uthayakumar such as ‘mini genocide’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ at an international level gives the impression that grave crimes and racial oppression were committed.” This should tell us something about what is acceptable and what isn't when it comes to making careless statements.

Opposition supporters, now Establishment supporters, have been writing to me, decrying this op-ed piece by Rais Husin. How can he say such things when, in our own country, the non-Malays are oppressed, they ask? People have stopped using the term “apartheid” when they talk to me about the institutionalised discrimination because they understand that I go a bit bonkers. The last person who used it got testimonials from a South African friend of mine, which he submitted in one of the truth and reconciliation committees. But I digress...

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