Many people have complained in the past that one thing that is conspicuously missing from this blog is any discussion of the Uyghur people in China. Uyghur are predominantly Muslims and make up about half of all the Muslims in China. Some people have even left rather negative comments about this blog that the blog paints a rather rosy picture of Islam in China. Now that Muslim blogsphere is abuzz on this topic I thought it was high time to address this issue.
One of the main problem with media depictions of the conflict in the West is that the main narrative of the conflict puts Muslims vs. the Chinese as if these are two non-overlapping groups. As I have mentioned before this is not to say that there are some restrictions on the practice of Islam in Xinjiang but this is not the case in rest of China. Thus the reason that I avoided this topic is because unless we can develop a narrative that acknowledges ethno-cultural nature of the conflict while at the same time avoid generalizing to all of Chinese Muslims, a discussion would be counter productive. A case in point is the fact that I have come across some Arab and Desi Muslims who talk about the oppression of Muslims in all of China as if this is the case everywhere in China and as if Muslims in China are a non-differentiated mass. I do not want to downplay the suffering of the Uyghur people but at the same time I do not want to say that this is a conflict between Muslims and Chinese but it is not. One thing can however be said for sure that the demographics of Xinjiang have changed dramatically in the last 50 years and will continue to do so unless something changes. For now lets hope and pray that the Uyghur culture survives and thrives. Perhaps things would have been different if there were more Muslims in China or in positions of influence.