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Malaysia Must Appoint Special Envoy On Islamophobia To Fight Discrimination And Racism, Says Political Analyst

Malaysia Must Appoint Special Envoy On Islamophobia To Fight Discrimination And Racism, Says Political Analyst

Umno can use its close relationship with the Chinese government to speak up for Uyghur Muslims in a constructive manner, said Dr Abdul Razak.

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A political security analyst, Dr. Abdul Razak Ahmad, said the government should seriously consider appointing a special envoy to combat Islamophobia.

He said the move is imperative as discrimination and racism continue to take an unacceptable toll on Muslim communities worldwide.

Islamophobia is a pattern that is repeating in nearly every part of the world. As a model Islamic country, Malaysia must do its part in upholding religious freedom and human rights at the international level.

Dr Abdul Razak to TRP on the need to appoint a special envoy on Islamophobia

He pointed out that even Western countries, such as Canada, France and Germany have been working on various measures to combat Islamophobia, hate crimes and all forms of racism.

Citing an example, he said Islamphonia had been used to justify a large-scale, invasive violation of human rights over the Uyghur people in China.

The troubling violations include mass incarceration, surveillance and cultural erasure.

China has been accused by the world of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Muslim minority group.

Dr. Abdul Razak to TRP on Uyghurs being victims of Islamophobia

Dr. Abdul Razak was speaking at a conference on Global Muslim Response To The Uyghur Crisis in Istanbul recently.

Hosted by Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) with support from the Turkish government, the event was attended by NGOs from countries all over the world including Malaysia.

Malaysian NGOs that participated included the International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education (WAFIQ), Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organization (Mapim), Malaysia4Uyghur (M4U), Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs (ACCIN) and Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim).

Dr. Abdul Razak (in white) addressing delegates at the conference. (Credit: M4U)

Backdoor Diplomacy

Dr. Abdul Razak, who is the founder of Nahel Endownment for Peace, added that Umno enjoys a constructive friendship with the China government.

He said their relationship is very strong and UMNO had been invited to various Communist Party of China’s related programmes.

Conversely, CCP officials are also invited to Umno’s annual general assembly.

As such, Umno can use the party to party channel to address sensitive and delicate issues, said Abdul Razak, who had accompanied party officials on private meetings with high-level CCP officials.

Pragmatism is crucial in such pursuit and the ‘Asian ways’ must be embraced. Using the language of genocide may not be suitable if Malaysia wants to be effective in delivering an outcome.

Dr Abdul Razak to TRP on how Umno can reach out to the Chinese government
Former Malaysian prime minister and Umno president Najib Razak was invited to addresses the World Chinese Economic Forum recently in Petaling Jaya. (Credit: Bloomberg)

He also said that since Malaysia is now a member of the UN Human Rights Council for 2022 to 2024, it is important for Malaysia to deliver a stronger position on issues of human rights affecting Muslim minorities globally.

From Empathy To Action

Malaysia4Uyghur (M4U), a coalition of multifaith & multiracial NGOs advocating for Uyghur dignity, said Malaysians have been supportive to the Uyghurs in many ways.

READ MORE: Have You Ever Seen Uyghur Bazaar Naan? It’s So Fluffy And Delicious

Its president Zuhri Yuhyi said the ongoing support is important to prevent the treatment of the Uyghurs from worsening.

M4U president Zuhri Yuhyi. (Credit: M4U)

He noted that the true scope of the oppression and related figures will never be known due to a lack of independent oversight, and limited access to foreign journalists.

Even though it is happening far away from Malaysia, the oppression is evident on the ground in Xinjiang. We appreciate and salute all Malaysians who have been spending their time to tweet and post all sorts of information on what’s really happening in Xinjiang.

Malaysia4Uyghur president Zuhri Yuhyi to TRP on Malaysian public opinion. 

READ MORE: Made-In-China War Movie Angers Chinese Across The South China Sea

He said the outpouring of support help boost the morale of the Uyghur diaspora, some of whom are in Malaysia.

Engaging China On Islamophobia

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organization (Mapim) said the Uyghurs should not be left fighting a lone battle.

Rather, Mapim president Azmi Abdul Hamid said it should be supported by many more Malaysians in championing the fate of the Palestinians. 

Personally, I am saddened to see how the Uyghurs have been left alone in their fate, in which, unfortunately, many Islamic countries have remained silent.

Mapim president Azmi Abdul Hamid to TRP on the calling for Malaysians to show solidarity with the Uyghurs

Elaborating on bilateral relations, Azmi pointed out that Malaysia had always been grateful to the government and people of China for its wholehearted support in terms of economy.

Mapim president Azmi Abdul Hamid. (Credit: Mapim)

However, he also highlighted the importance of speaking the truth as one of the important pillars of the bilateral ties.

We are not anti-China. No doubt about that. But oppression driven by Islamophobia is not the answer. A proper strategy is needed to bring justice to the Uyghurs.

Mapim president Azmi Abdul Hamid to TRP on the calling for Malaysians to show solidarity with the Uyghurs

Who Are The Uyghurs

The Uyghurs, who are Turkic-speaking people, live in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, also known as East Turkestan.

As they are mostly Muslim, Islam had been blamed as the root cause of violence in Xinjiang, notably a series of violent riots over several days that broke out in July 2009.

A view of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. (Credit: CGTN)

These events in China, and in other parts of the world involving Muslims from other ethnics, had added a new dimension of urgency to the existing confrontation between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Dr Abdul Razak to TRP on the need to appoint a special envoy on Islamophobia

Uyghurs have a distinct culture and history. About 12 million Uyghurs currently live in Xinjiang.

Human rights organizations, UN officials, and many foreign governments have called for international response to decades-long crackdown on Uyghurs by Chinese authorities.

The suggestions include a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which Malaysia is also participating.

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