Posted by: mel | July 12, 2009

Indonesians pray for Uighurs

Straits Times | Jakarta | 12 July 2009

ABOUT a hundred Indonesian Muslims held a mass prayer session in the capital Jakarta on Sunday to protest over unrest between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese which left more than 180 people dead.

‘We Muslims in Indonesia feel the pain and struggle of our Muslim brothers and sisters and pray for their well-being. We urge the Indonesian government to tell the Chinese government to stop this brutality,’ a Muslim coordinator Jamal Aldin told AFP.

Islamic groups in the world’s most populous Muslim country slammed what they called ‘repressive’ Chinese rule and called for freedom and rights for Muslim Uighurs.

‘All Muslims must show solidarity to the Muslim Uighurs and pray for their safety,’ the head of hardline Muslims’ Forum (Forum Umat Islam), Mr Muhammad Al Khaththath, said in a statement.

Xinjiang’s eight million Uighurs have long complained about repressive Chinese rule, grievances the government says are baseless.

Uighurs reportedly attacked Han Chinese during the July 5 unrest and destroyed their shops but exiled Uighur leaders said the protests were peaceful until security forces over-reacted with deadly force.

Further deaths have occurred across all across Xinjiang since then.

Han Chinese took to the streets of Urumqi early in the week wielding machetes, poles, chains and other makeshift weapons vowing vengeance against the Uighurs.

The Asia head of the World Islamic People’s Leadership, Mr Din Syamsuddin, described the attacks on the Uighurs as ‘a crime towards humanity’ and a ‘human rights violation’. ‘It can be considered a genocide and ethnic and religious cleansing,’ he added.

‘We urge the Chinese government to stop the abuses and give freedom to Muslim Uighurs to practise their religion,’ said Mr Syamsuddin, who also heads one of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisations, Muhammadiyah. — AFP

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