A packed audience in a House of Commons Committee Room listened to a representative of the persecuted Uyghur Muslims of China make an impassioned plea for her people at an event organised by the Board of Deputies.
Rahima Mahmut, from the World Uyghur Congress gave her views as part of a panel discussion entitled A Warning for Humanity: How Can Communities Unite to Protect the Uyghurs? The event featured Imam Qari Asim, the Government Adviser on Islamophobia, SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron and Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism.
Rahima said: “No oppressor should be able to hide from the public glare’.
She then quoted a Chinese official, who had said : “We cannot violate the human rights of the Uyghur, because the Uyghur have no human rights at all’.
Senior Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner thanked the Board of Deputies and the World Uyghur Congress for bringing the issue into the public glare. She said: “There are reports of cemeteries flattened, and the systematic and deliberate demonisation of an entire people”
Rabbi Janner-Klausner added: “To all those politicians who have stood on platforms this past week and delivered that so often repeated line ‘never again’ – we ask you ‘to what lengths are you prepared to go to make that statement reality?’.”
Qari Asim said: “We said Never Again” but it did happen again in Bosnia. How can we now protect another minority? We must stand up for justice – God is with those who do good, even in the face of adversity, says the Qur’an.”
Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker, who introduced the discussion, said: “Let us remember: what hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander. And it’s our silence that I find inexplicable. In this week when we commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, we also devote ourselves to coming to the aid of those who are facing oppression and persecution like the Uighurs. We stand with them in their struggle for human rights and we will do whatever we can to help.”
The event was chaired by Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron.
The Board of Deputies will be calling on the UK Government to support us in condemning human rights violations against the Uyghurs and pressing for an urgent change of course by the Chinese authorities, alongside the Jewish Human rights organisation Rene Cassin and the European Union of Jewish students.
Photo: left to right: Edwin Shuker, Rahima Mahmut, Gillian Merron, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Qari Asim