WASHINGTON DC: The US envoy on religious liberty has said he is “disappointed” at the response of governments in the Islamic world to China’s mass incarceration of Uighur Muslims, suggesting they had been threatened by Beijing.
Sam Brownback, ambassador at large for international religious freedom, said some majority-Muslim states did not want to draw attention to their own human rights record. He was hopeful that the more Muslim populations around the world heard about the imprisonment of an estimated more than 1 million Uighurs, the more they will put pressure on their governments to speak out.
Meanwhile, Washington’s closest allies in the Islamic world – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – have been silent in the face of the mass incarceration of Muslims in Xinjiang.
At the beginning of March, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation passed a resolution which praised China for “providing care to its Muslim citizens”.
The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has also defended China’s “right to carry out anti-terrorism and counter extremism work for its national security”.
In an interview with the Guardian, Brownback said that the US has been “in discussion” with Riyadh about its response to China, but did not single out the Saudis for criticism, arguing it was an issue for the whole Islamic world.